27 Apr Keeping business moving forward.
Last week we published an article titled ‘What’s it costing you NOT to pivot?’. We discussed Australian businesses who chose not to lie down and give up in the face of COVID-19, but to stand, fight and pivot their business to meet a market need, find a new way of delivering their existing service, or find a way to leverage their existing technology, supplies and equipment to create a product that supports our healthcare providers at this time.
This week we want to talk about the how of making that happen.
Here’s a few thoughts.
Be realistic. Be bold. Be decisive.
Now is not a ‘wait for the perfect opportunity’ type of time. Now is a ‘get in and get it done’ type of time.
Do whatever you need to do to still be in business in a post-Corona world.
If that means asking your staff to reduce their hours in order for the company to continue and for there to be a job available for them, do it.
If it means negotiating with your landlord for a few months of rent reduction, do it.
If you have to ask your clients for patience while you work to extended timelines, do it.
The worst anyone can say is “no”. Not asking removes an opportunity for you to progress.
Banks have pulled back their funding for property development with no thoughts on when they will be lending again. So where does this leave you and your business? What is the cost to you for not starting your build? Or would hibernating your development for 6 – 12 months be the right thing for your business? And if yes, how do you fund that?
Don’t make it difficult for yourself. Work out what the costs are for all the options. And then work out what it will cost you NOT to take action. Do you need the sales from one development to fund the next? What is the cost to delay? Would it be smarter to pay a slightly higher rate in exchange for keeping your team employed and your development progressing?
You may find that it is in your interests to take out alternative finance to start or complete your development, or to park your development for a period to see what the market is doing. Either way, we can help. Give us a tingle to find out how.
Next be realistic about what you are asking of yourself and others. Don’t ask someone to do what you aren’t prepared to do yourself. Don’t ask people to make unrealistic changes to their own operating rhythm in order to fit with what you now require. Don’t ask people to reduce their prices if you aren’t prepared to offer something tangible and helpful in return.
Your team and clients are very aware of what’s going on in the world. Don’t take them for fools. Be humble, be open and honest, don’t be the smartest guy in the room.
Your clients and team have likely been with you for a long time, supporting you, referring your business to others. Take them with you through this phase. Communicate often and openly. Tell them what you are doing. Ask how you can help and be of service to them during this time. Be open to letting them guide you for a little while. You might just find a new ‘something’ that your business does while nurturing your relationships at the same time.
Ask for help.
Put it out there. Ask for help from your team, customers, suppliers, service providers, friends, family, whoever. If you don’t ask, they can’t possibly know you need help.
There is no shame in not having all the answers or not knowing how to proceed.
There will be people in your immediate network with skills you didn’t know you needed, or contacts you didn’t know they had. Accept help when it is offered and offer help where you can.
Explore your options.
Talk to your team, ask them what they think the options are to re-purpose technology, equipment and skills. These people are the front line of your business. They talk to your customers, manufacture your products, and understand your supply chain. Your team are your greatest resource.
Talk to your financier about how they can support your business through this time. We’ve all seen the offerings from the banks – payments waived, hardship measures enacted, etc. what about your merchant fees? What about your credit card payments? Can they support you to hibernate your property development (we can help with that in need)? Can they provide you with a working capital facility while people aren’t spending?
LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Snapchat, Email. These are all free platforms available to you so you can keep in touch with your customers. Yes, absolutely, your message may have changed, but remaining front of mind is key. Regular interaction reminds your clients that you are still operating, still supporting your customers, still finding a way to make it all work.
If you have the budget to apply a small amount of advertising through social media, do so. It doesn’t have to be all salesy, it can be as simple as a small brand awareness campaign at a minimal cost that keeps you relevant.
Look for complementary businesses you can work with so you both succeed. This doesn’t have to be about product, it could be sharing space, sharing technology or resources, sharing advertising/marketing resources or sharing staff in order to keep people employed and both businesses moving forward.
Look who’s in your local area, ask people you know, check out google and see what’s about and what people need.
Don’t assume people know what you want from them at this time. With so much uncertainty, misinformation and the current isolation situation many aren’t sure what they want or need as their priorities, needs and wants are fluctuating rapidly.
Be open, ask questions, check in.
Scott has been making time each day to call people in both his personal and professional networks, just to check-in. The interesting thing he’s found with most of his calls is how surprised people are that you’ve called just to say “hi” and see how they and their loved ones are.
Set aside a few moments each day just to make a care call.
Call us. 1300 668 551
We’ve been supporting Australian Businesses with the finance needs for more than 16 years, including navigating the GFC. We know how to get you the best bang for your buck and the right type of funding to support your business through this time.
If you’d like to know more about us, visit our website or check us out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’d like to get started on funding for your business, click here or call us on 1300 668 551.