Don’t Panic – Plan!

The stock markets are falling, oil prices are plummeting, people are getting quarantined… Unless you are selling toilet paper or hand sanitizer, your business will need to make some changes, and make them now if you want to survive! But, this blog isn’t just about the survival of your business (although it could be). It’s about being ready for the economic shift that’s started and could become massive.

Now is not the time to panic, which will only get in the way of what you need to be doing. While it’s completely understandable to be worried, your best bet is to channel that anxious energy and get prepared NOW.

It is important during these early stages of the pandemic to be prepared, not panicked. Turn panic into a plan! The steps below are provided by ActionCOACH’s founder, Brad Sugars. To learn more, tune into his webinar linked here.

11 Steps Your Business Needs to Prepare for the Coronavirus Economic Panic:

Step 1: Communicate

  • Worry leads to negativity. Good, bad or ugly, you need to communicate with your team daily to update them on what is going on and the changes you are making.

  • Communicate your precautions with your current and potential customers – and do so immediately. E-newsletters, social media and press releases are great tools to get this message out. Keeping the conversation going within your network controls the narrative and fosters key relationships between your customers and your brand.

Step 2: Be Positive

  • In every massive change, there is opportunity. Instead of feeling paralyzed in panic and worry, look for small wins and ways to take advantage of the situation at hand so you will see better results in these trying times. Imagine being in the toilet paper industry right now!

  • Sometimes it’s important to turn off the news, and focus on your wins, your successes, and how you can better lead your people through this economic impact. Continually ask yourself, “what can be done?” and you will come out ahead of competitors who are sitting back and accepting defeat.

Step 3: Know the Cycles

  • The economy moves in a cycle, which stays consistent within a 7 to 10-year span. The U.S. has had a strong economic boom (the summer season) that has gotten us past the 10-year mark from the market crash of ‘08. However, at the end of every summer comes the fall.

  • Will this fall/winter last long? It depends on the virus. We can expect for the “winter” season of low economic growth to be shorter than in 2008, as our economy should spring back quickly once the virus has peaked and the spread begins to decrease. Keep an eye on China over the next week – we are already seeing a decrease in new COVID-19 cases there each day.

Step 4: Change

  • Don’t wait to implement change in your business until it is impacting you. Now is the time to get ahead of the potential crisis to minimize the damage to your business. What changes do you need to make in your products, services, prices, delivery and staffing?

  • Consider the formula for change: (D x V) + F > R. If you wait to make a change until your dissatisfaction is high, you’re too late. If you are waiting for it to all blow over, why not implement changes now? The worst that could happen is that you’ll have a leaner, faster, better business sooner if you start today.

Step 5: Cut Back

  • If the crisis is as big as we predict it will be economically, it is advised to stop spending on unnecessary items. That does not mean to stop spending on marketing, sales, and expenses that will help your business grow. Hold off on making upgrades that you can live without in the next 30-90 days, and reevaluate at that time.

  • Cash is king! Find where you can re-negotiate fees and slow spending to save up a little. Consider minimizing or postponing extra spending if your business is slowing down, or finding ways to increase your cash flow to meet the demands of production if your business is speeding up.

  • Consider the top 10 industries that are booming right now because of the virus. How can your business assist the Costcos and the Amazons of the world? Turn your focus to these industries. Keep marketing and keep selling.

Step 6: Extend Credit

  • Banks are still lending right now, so extend your credit lines and open more credit cards while you still can. GO GET IT AS FAST AS YOU CAN! You’ll want to have that extra credit so you’ll have the ability to spend more during the recession.

  • Consider refinancing if you have to. Renegotiating your rates to get the lowest rate as possible can help minimize your expenses.

Step 7: Staffing Cuts/Changes

  • Layoffs may need to happen in order for your business to survive. Before making staffing cuts, consider encouraging your staff take their vacations and accrued paid time off now during the downtime. Can cutting back on hours for your staff keep them employed? Pay cuts are also an option. Suspend your bonus programs to tighten your belt through this phase.

  • If you do need to make layoffs, we recommend doing it all at one time or by. Do not wait – if you know you need to make layoffs, do it today.

Step 8: Plan to Work from Home

  • Will your technology needs be met? How will you communicate with your team and your customers when you are out of the office or not available in person? Make a plan for how to conduct meetings and how to share reporting for less disruption on day-to-day tasks.

  • If you are going to go virtual, what is it going to look like? Create remote procedures for customer service, banking and mailing to help your business continue to function as normal outside of the physical office. It could be just for a week or two… or it could last for months!

Step 9: Online Deliveries

  • How can you deliver your product or service virtually or through a delivery service? As your customers are encouraged to stay home and distance themselves socially, you still need to be able to serve them, but through a different platform. Do you have online technology to make this possible? If people aren’t coming to you, how can you reach them?

  • How do you need to change your staff’s roles to accommodate for delivery platforms? Do you need to reconsider how you package and brand your items? Stay proactive by thinking these issues through and make a plan!

Step 10: Marketing and Sell

  • In times of economic crisis, marketing is the last cost you should cut. However, your marketing is going to have to change. Your customers are panicked, worried, and thinking about consumer products and services in different ways. How can you best meet their current needs? Can you create special rates or offers to motivate customers to keep spending money with you considering the current market?

  • Measure your “Five Ways to Massive Profit”. In times of crisis knowing your numbers is important. How many leads do you have? What is your conversion rate?

Step 11: Repeat Business

  • Keeping your existing customer base is the most vital thing you can do right now. Be in communication with them, offering them special deals to get them back “in the door.” Make sure they feel like they are important and valued.

  • Offer ways for your customers to “buy in bulk” saving them more while giving you more cash upfront.

BONUS Step 12: Common Sense and Compassion

  • Overdeliver on customer service right now. While you can’t control the economy, you can go over and above to make sure it is easy for your customers to do business with you. Showing common sense and compassion is very important right now.

  • Put the safety of people first – customers and employees alike. Maximize your cleaning efforts at your office and storefront. Provide hand sanitizer and implement the “elbow bump” in lieu of a handshake.

  • Stop buying too much toilet paper!

We will continue to share helpful advice, information to offer support throughout this crisis. If you are unsure of what to do next or are looking for help to implement these changes in your business, contact us today!

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