Post-corona planning

By James Thomas, QFP, Commercial Manager d&t

The world we live in has suddenly changed. The global health crisis has limited normal activities beyond what would have been conceivable just a few weeks ago. For those that run businesses, significant pressures have been put on finances, many have been forced to furlough employees and, in some instances, let them go altogether.

Most business owners are currently in fire-fighting mode. However, this is also the time to plan for life after Corona. Business planning now can help maximise the opportunities that are anticipated in a post-lockdown spending uplift.

Some of this planning needs to cover risk mitigation. There is huge uncertainty so it’s important to have a handle on the numbers. A complete analysis of the figures including capital reserves, overheads (which can be paused/reduced), any major costs plus income means it is possible to calculate how long a business can continue to operate. From this key information, map out what actions need to be taken and when. The analysis can include Government grants, furloughed employees plus any loans needed to keep the business afloat. Thinking longer-term, repayment of any loans would need to be built into the plan. 

Importantly, planning also needs to cover how to cope with the business boom which potentially will occur after lockdown. Many customers will feel the need to celebrate, spending again on social activities, meals out and ‘going down the pub’, getting their hair cut, buying clothes, moving house, going down the gym etc etc.

Start thinking ahead not to waste this opportunity. Do you have the right stock, are your staff in place ready to resume work and service as many clients as possible? Can you create marketing campaigns and materials now, ready to hit the ground running? Is now the time to give your brand a facelift so it’s fresh and offers maximum appeal when customers start to spend once again?

If we don’t work on our businesses now, in a few months’ time we won’t have time. A few other ideas to be getting on with in the downtime include getting your end of year financials over to your accountant, this will free up time when business picks up when your focus needs to be on sales. Can you be training staff (remotely) to be more effective now, so once business is back in full swing staff are ready? Use any downtime to update Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) too. There are many tasks like this that can be completed to ensure your business is in the best shape possible to capitalise on increased trading once the world starts to normalise.

Interestingly, one point about working remotely may mean this will change the shape of business in the future. Now that everyone has had a taste of it, employers now know that staff can still be operational and ‘get work done’ remotely. Many companies may be able to reduce office space and rely more on remote working, potentially only keeping office space for meeting rooms and functions. This will have the effect of significantly reducing costs within the business and allowing more flexible working for employees. This may also offer opportunities to use space previously used for offices and business parks very differently – for housing or leisure for example.

As an accountancy practice, we have already seen some of our clients completely redefine their business models so that they retain their customers. We have Martial Artists, Dance Studios, Solicitors, Distribution and indeed our very own accountancy practice still providing the same service as they did pre-Corona, from front living rooms, kitchens, offices and gardens, all streaming directly into clients’ homes! In some cases, these will offer additional revenue streams once regular trading ensues. 

For those agile enough to recognise and be able to act on the new possibilities presented, there will be additional revenue opportunities.  The redefined landscape may result in new ways of working too. But for now, use your time wisely and think ahead by planning and preparing for life after Corona.

For all things Corona-support related, please visit d&t’s website, which is becoming a hub for up to date plain English information.

Find out more about d&t’s services here. 

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