With social distancing restrictions slowly lifting and businesses beginning to reopen, is your business ready?
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce hosted Malcolm Rogers MBA, PMP, President of NBDG Consultants to discuss seven key principles for business owners to follow in order to be best prepared as possible to reopen safely and successfully.
1. Pivot your business
Rogers recommends business owners strive to keep their core values in place, to be consistent, and to remember their mission and vision. He also recommends putting an Agile Contingency Plan in place in order to understand what decisions and changes that business owners must make based on the current economy and customer feedback. Additionally, establish smart goals. What were the year’s initial goals, and are they still attainable? If not, business owners should make realistic adjustments. Lastly, identify key resources: what do businesses need to utilize and what do they need to get rid of?
2. Adjust your marketing strategy
The business you ran two months ago is not dealing with the same economy, and many customers currently have less disposable income. Additionally, businesses should maximize their CRM systems and eliminate low performing leads and marketing channels.
Additionally, Rogers recommends engaging former and potential customers: they helped to build your business. Let them understand what has been put in place to ensure their safety.
Be more active in your community to establish relationships, and remember that everyone is going through the same situation.
Lastly, diversify your marketing: Reach out to different marketing sources and see what they can do help your business.
3. Adjust your finances
Cash is KING: It’s an owner’s job to protect as much cash as possible. Rogers recommends a good, healthy financial reserve before opening your doors. Finally, business owners should consider renegotiating supplier contracts and payment terms, and to be proactive, negotiate, and relay the current financial situation. Rogers adds that most suppliers would rather negotiate than completely lose a company’s business.
4. Identify and track KPIs
Businesses should develop KPIs (key performance indicators) and benchmarks to watch, and harvest data in order to make better and more timely decisions, as well as to better understand their financial health.
Additionally, business owners should communicate new expectations to staff, including new goals to shoot for and transparency regarding data.
5. Making timely business decisions
In order to make timely business decisions, Rogers recommends developing a workforce analysis, a decision tree, and a cashflow projection. A workforce analysis maximizes day-to-day capacity, while a decision tree puts a dollar amount to every decision. Additionally, a cashflow projection can identify each decisions’ financial outcomes.
6. Communicate with staff and customers
Rogers highlights the importance of transparency with both staff and customers, specifically regarding communication about safety. Businesses should reestablish what makes their companies unique and valuable in order to reconnect with former customers and reengage their staff.
In order for business leaders to be effective during this time, Rogers says that they must let staff know what the company’s trajectory looks like. Additionally, they should encourage their staff: employees need to know that their leaders are there for them, and their leaders need to promote a positive environment with clear communication.
Business leaders should show empathy to their staff, as well as their customers, and answer questions about how they will keep them safe.
“You are their leader,” says Rogers. “You are the owner. You put yourself in this position to make those decisions, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and answer the tough questions, so that you can open successfully.”
Lastly, he encourages business owners to be visible; as a leader, you want to be on the frontline with your people when it’s time to reopen to the public.
Leaders Online, an alternative to in-person programming, was created to assist Fort Worth Chamber members with obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders Online features industry experts via virtual livestreams to answer questions and guide local employers in situations they’re likely not familiar with, associated with COVID-19. For a complete list of upcoming virtual events, click here.