Whenever there’s a crisis, as humans, we tend to lose control just a little bit. But when it comes to business, leaders must work to minimise the disruption and maximise efficiency for the long-term benefit of staff, customers and suppliers.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become clear business owners should have a plan to tackle issues impacting normal daily operations. Whilst a crisis plan is the most favourable option, not everyone will have one in place. That’s when attention falls onto businessowners working within our communities to think about maximising efficiency when faced with staff downtime, working from home or supplier issues. Kevin Riley, a business growth specialist from ActionCOACH Warwick knows all too well the challenges local businesses are facing currently.
“It’s important for businesses to have a contingency plan in place to factor in what happens in a range of crises,” says Kevin. “Whilst it doesn’t contain every specific detail for a ‘worst-case scenario’, it can definitely help put a business owner’s mind at rest. Instead of starting to find solutions from scratch, a crisis plan can help you to move forward from a considered base point to begin dealing with the situation rationally. If you don’t have a plan in place or you’re wondering what processes to put in place to make business feel as normal as possible, I have a few tips.”
Here are Kevin’s top tips for maximising efficiency during periods of crisis:
1. Keeping things going. The most advantageous way of keeping your business going is to consider the implications that the crisis will have. If your staff are having to work from home, what actions must you take to make that happen? Do they have the space and tech to work? Communicate carefully what is expect of them during this time.
2. Put steps in place. If your work is reliant on work facilities, such as those in manufacturing, is it possible to split teams and shifts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep business going?
3. Be proactive. During the downtime, take the opportunity to catch up on any outstanding tasks, plan for the future and tackle your to-do list. Get your team to focus and work on writing systems, processes and marketing plans so that, when the market picks back up again, you are ready to go. You’ll be well ahead of the curve as soon as the market changes.
4. Maintaining your service. If the crisis does cause unnecessary problems for your business, how can you remain one step ahead? In this case, you can reassure customers you’ve got measures in place to avoid spreading the virus. If you do have to work remotely, you can offer video conferencing for your clients to maintain that connection. You can stay in contact, whilst putting the correct procedures in place to keep everyone safe.
5. Don’t stop prospecting. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about visiting new clients face-to-face, don’t forget about your existing clients. You should be reassuring them you’re still there to deliver your best service or product – you’re still the same dependable and trustworthy business you always were.
Kevin adds, “Whilst some businesses are wondering how to survive this latest pending economic crisis due to the virus, you could be missing an opportunity to do so much more. By preparing yourself, as the business leader, and your staff, you have a chance of exiting this crisis stronger than before.”