The pandemic has forced many companies to close or drastically adapt their business models to survive. Here’s how to plan for the future of your business during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Amid a crisis — if it’s a global pandemic like COVID-19 or some other disaster — it can be easy to come up with shortsightedness. Of course, you would like to focus on your company’s immediate survival, and if those are the stakes, it can be hard to plan for a future that won’t exist if you don’t rise to the occasion.
But, recovery planning is equal to portions short-term and long term. To execute a successful recovery plan, you need to think about what items will look like following the emergency abates and prepare to maneuver your company to be well-positioned for success once that time comes.
Still, that is often easier said than done. How can you best Strategy for the future of your business when things are changing daily?
How to stabilize your company in a crisis
The most important thing to do during a crisis is to stabilize your business, at least for the short to midterm. From the current situation, where the book coronavirus continues its global spread and retains businesses shuttered, that means cutting costs and closely controlling cash flow to make certain you have sufficient liquid funds on hand to survive.
For many companies, a pivot toward remote work, deliveries, and e-commerce have maintained surgeries running in a limited way. In those situations, some cash is probably still coming in the front door (figuratively, at least.) Of course, many companies have shut down entirely, which means there isn’t any new revenue coming in.
Money flow is often among the most important indicators of how well a company is positioned to survive a short-term catastrophe. To that end, the U.S. federal government embraced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion stimulation package which provides a multitude of programs to assist small company’s weather the crisis.
“As an entrepreneur for the past 30 years, what I know for sure is that however long or short this year continues, we will come from this,” said John Rotche, creator and CEO of Farnworth. “In actuality, entrepreneurs and tiny businesses are integral to driving retrieval and should leverage the following three opportunities currently available…”
- Easier access to capital: “We are already seeing company loans with lower interest rates being made accessible through SBA Disaster Recovery loans and also the CARES Act,” Rotche said.
- Increased access to real estate: “The leasing market was tight for quite a while, and we expect to see it loosen up considerably,” he said.
- Increased availability to a labor force: “[M]illions of people are expected to file for unemployment and who will be eager to get back to work,” Rotche added.
While times are tough, small businesses that can gradually stabilize in the short-term can transition their thinking following a mid to long-term recovery plan.
What is recovery planning?
Retrieval planning involves looking not only at the current moment and determining how to best navigate an ongoing catastrophe but also looking forward to what the future holds and considering how your company will be best positioned for future achievement. In other words, recovery planning needs to be on how your company can’t just survive but also thrive.
“Recovery preparation is based on the principle that SMBs cannot just think about how to live in the brief term but the way to flourish in the long run,” Lokesh said.
Some queries entrepreneurs can ask themselves to prepare for your long term include the following:
- How customers’ will need a change after COVID-19? Are your customers’ needs likely to change as a result of COVID-19? In that case, what would they inquire about your company that they haven’t in the past?
- Do your products or services relate to all those evolving needs? Consider if your company’s products and services are related to the shifting needs of your customers. If you believe that you are still suited to serve them well, prepare to double-down on your current business model. If you think that your services and products will no longer be suitable, imagine how you need to tweak them.
- What will the competitive landscape look like following COVID-19? Many companies will not survive the economic downturn associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Consider whether your competitors are among them, and what that means for your business as a whole along with your market especially. Will there be opportunities to expand your customer base? Can you potentially acquire a rival company?
Answering these forward-looking questions at a time when no one is precisely certain what the future holds may be challenging. However, considering them now can help you more readily pivot your enterprise to suit the moment. It is not necessarily vital that you anticipate the future with 100 percent accuracy, instead of that you intend to accommodate to the future and consider several distinct scenarios of what that may look like.
“Small companies must stay forward-thinking and Forward-looking amidst any emergency,” said Lil Roberts, founder, and CEO of Xendoo along with a business.com community member. “Implementing a daily planning meeting is critical for key stakeholders to review the new information that is coming out and accommodate.”
“Adaptability is key in a time of catastrophe,” Roberts added. “Consistent transparency and communication with their teams and clients will also help them come through more powerful than they were previously.”
5 steps you can take now to plan for your business’s post-coronavirus future
Wendy O’Donovan Phillips, CEO of Big Buzz Inc., suggested Observing a simple five-step plan to be certain that you are prepared when the coronavirus pandemic eventually recedes:
- Run surveys to collect customer data. To appropriately plan for the future of your enterprise, you have to know what your clients are thinking. Running surveys and focus groups is a fantastic way to hear from your customers firsthand about what’s on their minds. “Avoid making assumptions about their needs and anxiety, and get into the heart of the topic by gathering voice-of-the-customer data,” said Phillips.
- Maintain a service-first mindset. At this moment in time, sales and earnings are significant, but it is more important to be available to serve your clients and community. By maintaining a service-first mindset, you may be prepared to provide what your customers need, rather than relying on your old business model which may no longer be as relevant.
- Take it one conversation at a time. If you are able, focusing on personalized communications with your employees and customers is a highly productive way to reassure them and build a closer relationship during a challenging time.
“Work on down, having salespeople and marketers make one-on-one calls to customers as well. The opening line on those calls is, ‘I needed to check in on you. How do you do at this moment?'”
- Revisit your SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis helps you pay attention to your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your business. Nearly all these items have likely changed because the coronavirus pandemic started, therefore it is beneficial to reevaluate it.
“This strategy, focusing on opportunities, will allow you more readily hit your revenue and profit projections.”
- Refocus your strategic planning model. You ought to have a living, breathing document that could guide your strategy but modifications with the dynamic real-world situation you are facing. Share this document with other members of your organization and meet regularly to talk about how it may want to change.
Available resources to help your business prepare for a long-term recovery
Below are some accessible resources that can help your business suffer the short-term impacts of the coronavirus so that you may better look to the future:
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans: The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million at the circumstance of a skilled emergency. Underneath the CARES Act, the federal government declared a loan advance plan that would immediately deliver around $10,000 in economic aid to small businesses hampered by COVID-19.
- Paycheck Protection Program: The Paycheck Protection Program is a nearly $350 billion program made by the CARES Act which offers low-interest, forgivable SBA loans to authorized borrowers. If small businesses utilize the financing to keep their workforce or rehire their workforce to pre COVID-19 amounts, the loans are possibly forgivable in total.
- Express Bridge Loans: For smaller companies that have a current relationship with the SBA express creditor, the CARES Act created an Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program that enables lenders to deliver around $25,000 to borrowers fast. Such loans are designed to fulfill immediate needs while awaiting EIDL loans.
SBA Debt Relief: At length, the CARES Act also contained debt relief provisions. The SBA would automatically pay the principal, interest, and charges of existing 7(a) loans, 504 Loans, and microloans for six months. Moreover, the SBA would do the same for new loans issued before September 27, 2020. Moreover, the SBA would provide automatic deferments on existing 7(a), 504, and microloans through December 31, 2020.