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
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