The COVID-19 outbreak has posed many challenges for business owners. However, simply responding to this is shortsighted and a long-term management strategy in light of crisis is integral. Besides this outbreak, Australia alone has suffered from severe bushfires and droughts in the past. Therefore, establishing clear and effective crisis management processes and strategies are essential to ensure stability in these trying times.
Strategy and framework to management during times of crisis:
1. Evaluate and focus on your organization. How does the crisis effect your business?
- What risks does the crisis pose to the operation of your business?
- What risks are posed to your employees and customer base during this crisis?
- Outline the essential aspects of your business, including which staff are essential to maintaining effective operation
- How will revenue streams be affected?
- It is important to consider early how your business cash flow is affected by the crisis. This consideration will help you to assess what components of your business may/will have to be altered to adapt to the new situation
- What obligations does the business have?
- These include those to financial institutions such as Banks, and statutory obligations such as Federal Taxes.
2. Formulate a business plan
Once the risks and issues posed to the business are identified, they need to be addressed to mitigate and prevent loss:
- Ensure the work environment is safe
- Maintain supply chains
- Manage expenses
3. Initiate and deploy strategies
Implement the procedures and start rolling out new policy and procedure immediately. It is important to expedite the process to minimise risks posed by a crisis.
- Emphasise productivity, exposure and sales: make an attempt to implement new sales initiatives, to promote new business strategies and to take on new business where possible. New marketing strategies might be necessary to support your new initiatives and expand your reach to customers.
- Adapt new working strategies: staff safety is imperative, establishing alternate ways to conduct work can provide effective short- and long-term changes in productivity. If applicable, allow staff to work from home and adjust software and hardware choices to suit the requirements of your situation.
4. Delegate (and Assess)
Assign responsibilities to leaders to ensure these practices are being followed at every level. It is important in times of difficulty that all employees are involved in this process. By doing this you will ensure that your staff can monitor and assess the plans adapted. Then, if these plans are not giving your business a feasible outcome, you can adjust the strategies to best fit the business’ needs.