Live Long and Prosper.. with Corona!

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Live Long and Prosper.. with Corona!

We certainly live in interesting times and while this crisis will pass, we don’t know when and it’s unlikely we will return to how it was before. So how do we respond to these uncertainties? I am a member of a number of organisations that are very clear on what businesses should be doing in these times. And they all identify three key elements to what we should be doing to survive this crisis and come out the other end. Protect, Plan and Prepare.

 

PROTECT

We’ve got to protect ourselves and our families to ensure that we are in a fit state to do things. not just physically but mentally. We’ve got to focus on being a force for good, for our own sake and for others. Those who act purely with selfish aims and motives will be remembered! We must also protect our staff making sure that they too are fit both physically and mentally to survive and then re-enter the business when this is over.

Then we must protect our business making sure that we take full advantage of all the assistance the government and others are offering. Our businesses must survive. And cash flow is fundamental to this.

And we’ve got to protect our customers. We must communicate what we’re doing, what we’re not doing, and that we are still there to serve them even if it’s not in the same way.

In my case I am sticking by the government guidelines on just having contact with my own household, washing hands and surfaces regularly and avoiding social contact. Obvious things, simple things, but not necessarily easy to do day in day out! We are operating a rota system keeping open normal hours but with a skeleton workforce to handle essential jobs without coming into direct contact with each other and others. This rota is based on 3 week alternating periods for all employees so that we can still claim the 80% Corona Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) wages grant. It also means all employees are being treated equally and are still involved in the business. We have set up a WhatsApp group for all staff to let everyone know what is happening, and set training and learning objectives whilst they are on furlough.  I’m trying to communicate all of this to my customers through social media and direct emails to let them know that we’re open to handle their critical jobs.

 

PLAN

We must plan those for what we do during this situation and what we do when we come out of it. The good news is that most of us actually have more time to do this now. The bad news is that I’m convinced that more businesses than people will die during this period. So what planning? Whatever business we’re in, we need customers and those customers need to know what we’re going to do for them. So we need to plan what we’re going to tell them and how we’re going to tell them. We cannot be invisible to our customers and we’ve got to address their real needs, talk about their worries and concerns, give them useful and interesting information (particularly how it addresses their worries and concerns ), and tell them how we can help them solve their worries and concerns. This is how we add value; this is how we serve them best.

So in my own business we are going through all customer and enquiry lists, making sure they are accurate and complete. We are preparing information explaining what we do to solve their problems, making videos, blogs, podcasts and website posts. We are then posting this out on social media and our website. We’re calling customers to see how they are and if there’s anything we can do to help. Not just work for them, but any problems they’ve got including practical ones like payment terms where we are offering extended credit. We are also studying and developing new skills (zoom, video editing etc..), researching new industries and topics, making contact with new people. I’m finding that a lot of people have more time now to actually discuss problems and opportunities. We may not be able to do much, to physically see and meet them, but we can talk to them, and send information to them, preparing the ground for when this is over and we can hit it running.

Apparently the Chinese word for crisis is a combination of the two words danger and opportunity. And when we come out of this crisis there will be opportunities for those well prepared for them and have planned for them. I’m trying to make sure we are able to take advantage of these opportunities when we emerge from this situation.

 

PREPARE

This crisis will pass. Our Freedom Day will come and when that does happen we can either step back through fear or we can step forward into growth. I don’t believe we will go back to how we were before this, and those that try will suffer.

When it does end, it will end quickly and we must be prepared to act equally quickly. This means being in a position to serve our customers. maybe even in ways that we haven’t served them before. Communicating by video for example, or having new products and services to offer.

One thing we do know is that we will never have another time when we’ve got so much time to do the things we never had time for before! We must use this time properly to set up communications with our customers, get our marketing systems set up and ready to implement and create compelling messages as to how we can help our customers. Together with the capability to actually deliver on our promises then I believe we will not just survive but thrive when this current situation comes to an end.

So in Sonic we’re working to make sure our channels of communication are properly set up, that we have good and relevant messages to send, and that my team have all the tools and are ready to deliver the services and products we will be offering. I’m developing new relationships with both potential suppliers and customers and made sure finances are in place to support the business.

Nothing in life is guaranteed but we are all responsible, individually and collectively, to manage this situation as best we can. Our attitude and actions will determine our outcome.

I hope this was helpful. I’m not pretending I’m getting everything right, or that this is all my own ideas, but the people I have seen following these processes and actions are those that I’m sure will come through best.

Anything I can do to help just ask.

Take care to survive; prepare to thrive.

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