Here are some key steps that you can follow to develop your own business continuity plan
Not every step will be relevant to you, but it’s important you spend the time to think it all through.
This isn’t a definitive list – it’s a starting point to focus your energy on on some key areas. And this isn’t a black and white exercise as there are so many variables you need to consider. Collating this information now will make conversations with your financial advisor, bank manager and business advisor easier if or when the time comes!
If you want to meet with an EGLT business advisor as you work through the steps, email us to make an appointment
The Heart of Resilient Leadership
The rapid global spared of COVID-19 has quickly eclipsed other recent epidemics in both size and scope. In addition to the deadly human toll and the disruption to millions of people’s lives, the economic damage is already significant and far-reaching. We recognise that companies are in different phases of dealing with the outbreak, and therefore impacts vary by geography and sector. But regardless of the extent of the virus’s impact on an organisation, we believe there are five fundamental qualities of resilient leadership that distinguish successful CEOs as they guide their enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis:
Design from the heart – and the head. In crisis, the hardest things can be the softest things. Resilient leaders are genuinely, sincerely empathetic, walking compassionately in the shoes of employees, customers and their broader eco systems. Yet resilient leaders must simultaneously take a hard, rational line to protect financial performance from the invariable softness that accompanies such disruptions.
Put the mission first. Resilient leaders are skilled at triage, able to stablise their organisations to meet the crisis at hand while finding opportunities amid difficult constraints.
Aim for speed over elegance. Resilient leaders take decisive action – with courage – based on imperfect information knowing that expediency is essential.
Own the narrative. Resilient leaders seize the narrative at the outset, being transparent about current realities – including what they don’t know – while also painting a compelling picture of the future that inspires others to persevere.
Embrace the long view. Resilient leaders stay focused on the horizon, anticipating the new business models that are likely to emerge and sparking the innovations that define tomorrow.
A typical crisis plays out in three timeframes:
Respond – in which in which a company deals with the present situation and manages continuity
Recover – during which a company learns and emerges stronger
Thrive – where the company prepares for and shapes the ‘next normal’
CEO’s have the substantial and added responsibility to nimbly consider all three timeframes concurrently. In addition, they need to prioritise where business decisions need to be considered and made. In times of crisis, the 6 following functional areas are where leadership attention should be drawn to; Command Centre, Talent (people), Business Continuity & Finance, Customers, Supply Chain and Digital. Within the framework of these broad imperatives, resilient leaders can take specific tactical steps to elevate these qualities during the current crisis, blunting it’s impact and helping their organisations emerge stronger. With the right approach, this crisis can become an opportunity to move forward and create even more value and positive societal impact, rather than just bounce back to the status quo. See below chart. Making decisions that tie back to the organisations purpose is particularly important during a crisis, when companies are under increased pressure and stakeholders are paying close attention to every move. We know from researching purpose-driven organisations that they tend to thrive during challenging environments:
Purpose cultivates engaged employees
Purpose attracts loyal customers who will stick with you in a downturn
Purpose helps companies transform in the right way
Use this link to read more on this topic and access an action guide to help you put the mission first.
Doug Wilson Partner - Deloitte Private Waikato and Central North Island
Communicating effectively during challenging times
General Manager, Enterprise Great Lake Taupo
As we near the end of second week in lockdown, it’s timely to check in with your internal and external communications and ensure that you’re sharing the right messages, the right way, to the right audience.
It’s a complex and quickly changing world… and therefore our business communications and engagement plans need to be agile to accommodate emergent actions and messages; and your lead communicator (whether your business owner, CEO, Chairman or you!) needs to be comfortable and confident in speaking on behalf of your organisation.
Below are some tips to help you frame up your communications activity to ensure you’re on the right track.
Plan. This is not an exact science, and the environment in which we’re working is far from exact for most of us. However, some structure around who is saying what, when and why will help to frame up your activity. You might be talking internally to your staff or business owners, externally to your customers or suppliers, or broader to the public at large… and in many cases, a combination of all three. A simple framework will help. It might be as simple as one newsletter a week, two social media posts a week, two key phone calls a day, etc. Or an incredibly complex matrix with 100 moving parts if you’re a large entity. Having a framework or guide will help keep things on track.
Messages. Whilst acknowledging that our world is changing quickly, where possible list down some of the key messages you want to get across. These messages might be firm details – ‘we are closed until Lockdown lifts’ – through to soft engagement – we’d love to hear how you’re keeping the kids entertained at home’. Preparing a list of the key messages you want to get across to your key audiences (internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, public) will help ensure you keep on point. A weekly ‘key messages’ chat with your team might work best for your business, or you might like to plan out the next few weeks in advance.
Compassion. Without compromising the need to get your messages across, always strive to show compassion in your external and internal communications. In these trying times, empathy is everything. This isn’t the time to rant nor to rave.
Consistency. Regardless of whether we are in a lockdown or not, consistency is king. Your consistency might be the frequency of the messaging, the person presenting the message, the way in which you present it or the medium you use. Your audience will take comfort in your familiar and reliable presence. [Think the daily media briefing by the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health].
Current. Keep it current and respond quickly. Be sure that whoever is monitoring your social media and website enquiry are constantly checking and replying to messages or comments. Ensure they have the information they need to respond accurately. And if your website was overdue for an overhaul – now is the perfect time to get it up to date!
Engage. Even if you have had to close the physical doors of your business for lockdown, the virtual doors remain open. Keep your business profile active during lockdown so that your customers remember how much they love you! There are plenty of fun and innovative ways you can do this… restaurants or cafés can share ‘secret recipes’ and challenge their customers to recreate the dish at home; online stores can run promotions to secure sales/revenue now and deliver later; you can run webinars or write blogs on your specialty topic and share for free… If you’re struggling for ideas in this space – reach out to your staff or peers and have a good old virtual brainstorming session! Or find some businesses offshore that are in a similar field to yours and see what they’re doing to keep their brand front of mind during Covid-19.
Regardless of your sector or operating environment during lockdown, every business can benefit from having a robust and disciplined approach to communication and engagement.
You need your business to bounce back post lockdown and come back stronger than before. Ensuring that your customers are still loyal to you and your business is an essential step of that recovery process.
If you need some help to frame up your communications and engagement plan, please don’t hesitate to ask us.
Below is an article provided by Riria Te Kanawa from KPMG. It offers simple and effective advice for Business Owners on business continuity. What can you do today?
Being Proactive and Reaching Out
Part I – Responding for Now Two weeks ago, it would have been hard to imagine that Coronavirus or Covid-19 would become part of everyday language. But it’s here in a very big way and for businesses in the Waikato, there is no escaping it as we move to Level 4, our non-essential service businesses will all be either operating from home based offices or closed for business. For business owners vigilance is required and the old age of Cash is King rings very true at this time. So what can we do to respond?
Review your cash forecast for the next 4-5 months, develop best, medium and worst case scenarios. Understand where there are opportunities to improve your cash conversion cycle. These actions may include;
a. Politely collect any funds that are owed to you and where possible consider shortening payment terms. Your customers are likely to also be experiencing impacts on their business which may impact on yours if they aren’t able to pay you
b. Converting inventory/stock to cash through sales promotions
c. Negotiating payment terms with suppliers and cancelling any orders of parts or goods that you don’t believe you can convert to cash quickly
d. Talk with key parties such as your lenders and investors to negotiate access to funding and lending facilities
e. Have early discussions with IRD, landlords and other key parties including critical suppliers to negotiate supply terms, payment plans and payment holidays. To this end, take a look at the business cashflow and tax measures that IRD have established
f. Reduce non-critical spending but be mindful of the impact on reducing staff numbers if those staff are critical to your business post crisis. Consider other measures for critical staff such as reduction in hours, bringing forward annual leave, temporary reduction in remuneration. With a pandemic, think about how you will have coverage during periods of sickness
g. Defer non-critical capital expenditure that can be delayed
h. Continuing to identify the risks in your supply chain including; availability of raw materials, parts and goods; restrictions on transportation of raw materials, parts and goods; financial stability of the supplier (particularly around critical infrastructure such as IT); alternative sources of supply
Stay safe everyone, together we’ll find our way through. Riria Te Kanawa National Māori Sector Lead KPMG in New Zealand