The continuation of the necessary lockdown is sure to be accompanied by challenges that countless companies, and their employees, have never faced. There’s no doubt that managing your business through the next 90 days is going to be tough, but with a plan in place you can weather the storm and set yourself up to prosper in the aftermath.
Nutbourne is a leading IT solutions company and Managing Director, Marcus Evans, has offered his professional expertise with the aim of helping businesses to emerge from this dark time with a plan for growth set in place, and a full understanding of what must be done in order to succeed. Marcus suggests the following four steps:
Cash flow management
Without cash, things can take a downward turn very quickly. The lockdown has made this struggle real for many businesses, but there are things you can do to mitigate the risk, or deal with the problem of struggling for cash.
“The first step is to be honest with your suppliers,” Marcus advises. “If you’re going to be late with a payment, just let them know in advance. Most companies are honest and adaptable and will try to help as and where they can. In this current scenario, where a lot of companies are going through the wringer payment plans will become more common. We’ve offered them to some of our customers.”
Marcus also suggests that, if you are owed money, you should keep an eye on the companies that have gone quiet. These are the ones that will need to be managed and who may need help paying back what they owe. To avoid them becoming a long-term problem, keep your eye on them.
“Finally, know the difference between cash flow and profitability,” says Marcus. “If you are losing money each month, then there is a very serious question over whether the business is viable, regardless of the situation we are in. If you are profitable but debtors haven’t yet paid you, then that’s much more manageable.”
Prepare for some clients to go bust…and be ready to help
It’s virtually impossible for anyone to confidently state what the next three months will look like. With all social gathering and sporting events either banned, closed or cancelled, it seems that a return to normal life is still quite far in the distance.
“It’s undeniable that some businesses will be forced to close,” says Marcus, “but in the meantime, we need to be as supportive as we can. Here at our IT solutions company, for example, we’ve frozen contracts with some clients that are currently unable to trade because of the restrictions. This means they won’t pay us for 90 days until their contract starts again, and they won’t have incurred any fees. We want to be on good terms with our clients and when this phase passes and we return to working life we will have maintained a good relationship with them.”
Adjust your service…
Regardless of whether you’re operational during this crisis, a diminishing scope for your service may indicate that you need to look into adjusting what you offer the market for your company to remain viable.
“We’ve introduced an infrastructure baseline, with a report service where we look at the state of an organisation’s IT setup,” says Marcus. “For the first 4 weeks we get them up to speed, make sure all their workers are on board and that their systems can cope. We then review their systems, their processes, the efficiencies they have and ask whether it’s secure. Cybersecurity solutions are essential at a time like this.”
…and pivot where possible
Tough times often present timely opportunities, perhaps the opportunity to pivot your business towards several key strengths. Whilst a particular service may not have been a priority when lockdown began, it’s likely to become apparent that helping clients in different ways will become a more essential focus for your business.
“The key thing for us – and for our clients,” Marcus explains, “is to be adaptable and flexible. That plays into our two core strengths which are being helpful and solving problems. With more people working from home, there has been an increase in targeted phishing and ransomware attacks. So, how can we resolve that? How can we make life easier for people? That’s how we’ve looked at it. We’ve always been a consultancy with our IT solutions; we’re just being clearer on what that looks like.”
All in all, it seems essential that businesses make the effort to adapt and work to their strengths whilst lockdown continues. In doing this, you can keep your clients and customers happy, and will come out of lockdown with a variety of prosperous relationships.