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Edition 287 – Grasp The Opportunity

As I write this, more than 16 million Australians are in some form of lockdown due to COVID 19. The early days of 2021 where it appeared that we were ahead of the curve in terms of the management of, and economic recovery from, this pandemic are now but a distant memory. In Greater Sydney and surrounds, my guess is that this situation won’t change until after the school holidays in early October. Should that hold true, that’s 15 weeks of lockdown.

Right now, plenty of businesses are standing down their staff, many of whom are now resorting to applying for the Commonwealth Government’s COVID 19 disaster payment. Most of those people will never have previously made a claim of any sort from the Government. It’s financially challenging for them at the least. The mental and emotional challenges are another factor that aren’t measured.

For a lot of businesses, their revenue is not lost, it is merely deferred. Whether it is a business that is an electrical contractor, the dry cleaner or even a shoe store, most people aren’t spending now, but will do so once we’re out of this period of hibernation. The challenge is to manage the cashflow in this intervening period so that you’re ready to hit the ground running when restrictions are lifted.

Compare that to the hospitality or travel industries. Most people won’t be out buying two coffees tomorrow to make up for the fact they missed one today. The holiday you had booked last year, that you’ve already deferred to this year, may eventuate next year. However, that’s still only one holiday in a three year period. These industries and others like them are at the coalface of doing it tough right now.

What the current situation does provide each and every business is the opportunity to look in the mirror for a moment and assess the current state of play. Rather than a full stand down of staff, should you bring a number of them (or all of them) back to:

  1. Train them up just like you’d always wanted to have them trained, but have been too busy to do so.
  2. Review your internal systems to determine whether there is a better way of doing what you do.
  3. Look at your cashflow management and tighten up how you’re going to chase your debtors moving forward.
  4. Assess your current and future equipment and vehicle needs, tidy up what is already inside your business and make sure it’s all set to go when the roller door goes back up.
  5. Talk with each and every staff member about what their future career plans are and help them to map that out.
  6. Put a virtual arm around their shoulders and check in with them. Many of them went through disruption during COVID Mark 1 in 2020. However, this year, it may be different – or they may be less resilient.
  7. Analyse your pricing models, your current clients and your range of services. The numbers may be great from a revenue perspective. Do they stack up, however, in terms of profit?
  8. Reconsider your business strategy. Is doing what you’re doing in your family business everyday actually achieving the personal, financial, professional and lifestyle goals that you’ve set for yourself?

We’re not going to get another opportunity like this, to down tools and pontificate about our businesses. When time is often so precious for many family businesses to consider any of this and it’s usually accelerator flat to the floor, why not grasp the opportunity to get your house in order, clear the in-tray of all those things that have been hanging around forever, and create a new direction for tomorrow?