As the lockdown restrictions begin to ease and we gradually start to move back to some kind of normality, what preparations can or should you be doing to make sure that your business will survive post lockdown and once all the government support comes to an end?
Businesses in all industries and sectors have been affected in someway by the pandemic, but some more so than others. With many preparing to open their doors to the public again there is a lot of guidance out there about how to do this as safely as possible, but what about making sure you are doing it profitably?
With footfall in towns and cities likely to be down as people are fearful about going out and getting back to normal, how can businesses survive? Set out below are a few key factors to consider when looking at your business and preparing to move forward:
Identify unnecessary costs
Most businesses are operating at their most lean right now and have cut back on everything but the essential costs. With trade restarting, take this opportunity to rebuild the foundations to become stronger in the future by identifying all your costs and questioning their necessity.
One way of doing this is to use projections and budgets. A lot of businesses are encouraged to produce these when raising finance or looking to expand but instead of using them to predict the flow of money over the following months, use the data they contain as a tool to steer and monitor the business.
As trade starts up again, you have an opportunity to set up a simple system to really monitor performance and consider the impact of non-essential expenditure on profitability with a view to only spending on things that pay for themselves and add to the bottom line.
A virtual future?
Different businesses in different industries will have different costs, but there are some common denominators that have been generated by the virus itself.
The obvious one is the use of video conferencing. In the service industry, huge costs can be saved by running virtual meetings. Consider whether this can be applied to your business more, once lockdown ends.
If it can, not only will there be significant savings from a financial perspective, i.e. cutting down on travel costs, but also in time – arguably a more precious commodity in some instances. Not spending time on the road travelling from meeting-to-meeting will mean more time working on the business.
Savings can be made around the issue of staff potential. With businesses taking the opportunity presented by the Government and furloughing staff you may well have found that certain employees remaining in the business have had to take on more responsibility and cover multiple roles.
You will know who has stepped up to the plate which you can use going forward, and will help to develop the employee for the good of the business.
There are also opportunities presented by looking at what a company is actually capable of. It may be more than you thought. There have been many positive news reports about manufacturers who within days of the crisis expanded their operation quickly to produce face masks and ventilators. Many other businesses have also started or expanded delivery services where these weren’t offered before.
Eggs in baskets
If your business came to a grinding halt because of the lockdown, is there anything that you could do differently that would have allowed you to continue to generate an income? For some businesses the answer is no, but for others, creating an online presence or offering a takeaway or delivery service has proved to be a lifeline and will perhaps be something that will continue post lockdown and add a new dimension to an already successful business.
However, when ensuring preparation post lockdown you do need to carefully review costs associated with this new way of operating and make sure it is profitable.
In summary, preparation for business post lock down and analysing data you already have and, companies can take the positives from lockdown and emerge stronger and healthier than before.
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