Your five-phase Coronavirus contingency plan for SMEs

It is important to prepare and think strategically about how your business will navigate through unprecedented times.

Over the past decade, I have encouraged my clients to develop a cohesive plan preparing their businesses for a national or global financial shift.

As the severity of coronavirus evolves, it has never been more vital to think strategically about how your business will navigate this ongoing issue.

Phase One – Go remote

Set your team up for success. Provide accessibility with the appropriate tools in the event that existing systems fail or become obsolete.

Think of elements within your business that you need to survive and thrive in. Can you still serve existing customers and deliver at a high level? If not, strategies need to be implemented.

This is the time to establish or build on your online presence. Great options are tutorials on YouTube, Instagram memes, interesting articles, and blog posts.

Use this opportunity as a growth period. Adapt your business to be accessible through its online presence.

Phase Two – Streamline and pivot

If your existing model no longer works or is viable, you’ll need to streamline and pivot to new structures in order to conserve losses and remain profitable.

Focus on income-generating activities, high-level strategy, and trimming the fat in order to streamline non-essential operations

Then pivot to take your products and services online, or even create new offerings like delivery, webinars, or online courses.

Talent unable to operate remotely will need to be put on leave, with or without pay (it is crucial to seek legal advice to prevent any employment obstacles further down the line). Communicate the circumstances, and prepare to have some tough conversations.

This is the realm of agility and innovation. If your business is impacted and you don’t pivot, you may see consequences.

Phase Three – Survival

What are the minimum operational requirements to keep your business afloat?

You’ll find marketing and sales will take priority, allowing you to attract new leads and close sales to keep your (digital) doors open.

Many businesses will find that in innovating and implementing new strategies, they tap into a new and exciting market, or are able to serve their clients without the overheads associated with a physical storefront.

With a focus on lean, strategic, commercial activities, it’s not uncommon to see a higher ROI than previously thought possible.

Phase Four – Slow down, hibernate, pause or wind up

The ideal scenario is moving into hibernation where you slow the business to remain solvent while the market rebounds.

Think about conserving resources and capital. Look at your tools and make an educated decision.

If that means closing shop and re-entering the market in the future, then that’s what is required.

Phase Five – Bounce back

When the situation resolves, act quickly. Some businesses will return to their previous model with new innovations, digital product offerings, and new digital marketing skills.

Others will choose to operate online because they enjoy the freedom (and lower overheads). And some will reopen after strategically shutting down for a period of time.

The last few weeks have seen a lot of uncertainty for small businesses, as I’m sure the near future will as well. But planning, consciousness, and sturdy leadership will allow you to make the best decisions for your legacy.

Kerwin Rae, Business Mastery International

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