A resource from The Great Game of Business Coach, Doug Diamond.
“Every company, in some way, is going to be impacted by this crisis (COVID-19). And, you are either going to emerge stronger or you are going to emerge weaker. You have to make decisions now that allow you to build new strengths and capabilities that you’ll continue using forever. It’s going to be challenging to shift and morph quickly in this fast-changing environment that we’re in. But, I believe every company has the opportunity to emerge stronger and that’s what we have to focus our energy and attention on.”
Key Areas of Focus for the Next 90 Days—Survive, Stay Alive, and then Thrive...
Establish a COVID-19 Task force:
- Monitor changes that are happening quickly: Gov't (local, state, federal), Client, Industry/Market, Employee, Key Suppliers/Partners, Economy.
- Monitor feedback coming from your staff - make sure they are communicating what they are seeing and hearing from the front lines.
- Make good quick decisions.
- Communicate with your team daily and more often as needed.
Make sure your people are safe:
- Establish communication lines / talk to each one regularly.
- You are nothing without your team.
- Policies on safe operating procedures – educate people – communicate and make sure we are following these. Employee rules / subcontractor rules - be clear.
- Keeping same teams together on the same shift to reduce the chance of team members spreading the virus to your whole team.
- Make sure you know and follow your client’s policies as well.
- If your facilities are still open, maintain new levels of cleaning /distancing.
Get in touch with clients - find out how they are doing / assess the COVID-19 impact on them:
- Establish a risk assessment for each client and policy on terms/collections.
- Know what terms, discounts, revenue deferrals you are willing to extend to each customer/customer group.
- Actively manage receivables - get clear promises from clients as you can.
- Look for new opportunities to serve your clients differently - listen for their pain points and adjust.
Get really good at doing business virtually/remotely if you are able:
- Make sure people have what they need to do their jobs remotely.
- Establish how phones, mail, deliveries will work remotely.
- Review critical job functions/systems and how they will work remotely (business continuity).
- Get good at remote meetings fast.
- Virtual situation room / virtual dashboards - visibility - make the numbers visible to your now remote workforce.
- Use technology as much as you can to stay connected and as efficient as possible.
- Use brainstorming techniques to find solutions to new problems fast - engage your people and let them help you find solutions quickly.
Establish your virtual communication rhythms:
- Communicate relentlessly.
- Daily all-hands meeting / company gathering.
- Daily huddles – cascading information up the organization to share what's going on. (PRO TIP: Leave 15 minutes free after meetings for pop-up meeting’s including one or two people from the huddle.)
- Adjust your weekly meetings as needed to manage the new remote needs of the company.
- 1-on-1 coaching - get time with the people that report to you.
Cut out unnecessary expenses/projects to conserve cash if you see challenges coming in 2020:
- Play defense first.
- Identify discretionary expenses and make decisions (PRO TIP: marketing is not a discretionary expense, nor is IT Support).
- Remove C players (bad culture fits, bad performers) from your team as soon as practical. Consider how to approach further staff cost reductions if needed.
- Put capital projects/ improvements on hold if possible.
Contact holders of your liabilities / key suppliers - negotiate payment terms:
- Boldly confront the debt situations that scare you and contact your creditors. Ask for help as needed. Banks and credit card companies know what’s going on - talk to them.
- See if key suppliers are able to give you more flexible terms/discounts/revenue deferrals.
- Ask for what you need - don't ask for more than you need. Be a good citizen.
Rolling 90 day plan - key metrics and priorities - keep the team focused:
- Forecast P&L and Cash flow - use a 3 scenario approach - best, worst, likely.
- If cash gets tight, do cash flow forecasting weekly or even daily if needed.
- Leading indicators - identify the metrics that will give you insights on where you are going.
- Make sure your team knows the new targets and is working with you to achieve them.
- Supply chain – will we have availability of materials / products?
- Get clear on your 90 day priorities for the company and by department. Stay focused.
Apply for government assistance wherever you can if needed - federal, state, local:
- Try to keep up with federal and state programs being put in place rapidly to help businesses and employees who are struggling.
- Determine what your situation makes you eligible for and apply quickly for the help you need. Governments move more slowly than we need so get in line early.
“We are going to be defining who we are as people during this crazy time that we’re living in and people are watching very carefully—so we all need to be good citizens.”
Scenario planning for 2020 - revenue, expenses. cash flow:
- Start doing revised 2020 thinking in a few weeks when we know more.
- 3 different scenarios - optimistic, pessimistic, realistic (super green, red, green).
- State and note your assumptions clearly for each scenario:
- How long will we be sheltering in place? What impact will this have? Watch what is going on in other countries that are ahead of us in this crisis.
- How much revenue impact will we experience?
- If you are able, look for opportunities - new revenue, acquisitions, finding good people will be possible.