Given the severity of problems the Coronavirus has created for modern day businesses it is only reasonable to state that business leaders are now looking in to the policies of managing such a crisis as an inevitable part their entrepreneurial role. As per the recent PwC’ Global Crisis Survey, its found that seven in 10 leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years while running their companies and its been found that the average number of crises experienced in these firms is greater than three. With the modern day pandemic rooting itself in to the system of the whole business world, managing this crisis will be a very difficult task for modern day entrepreneurs. Experts say that the key to managing any crisis, be it in your professional or personal life, is preparation. That is why we have done you the favour of highlighting seven actions that you as a leader can take to ensure your organization is in the best shape and able to withstand any storm.
- Review work locations and move around
The first priority should be to establish exactly where the staff is and how many workers are currently operating in affected areas. Do they need to be relocated or are they working from home? You will then need to review your travel plans, reschedule or cancel if necessary. New policies should be set in place to address absence due to sickness, SOPs should be put in place for visitors to company sites, new procedures should be established for reporting illness, and travel restrictions and so on. Taxation is another issue that needs addressing, take for example that workers are forced to stay in foreign countries longer than expected and then become subject to taxation, what policies does your business have to address that aspect? Being prepared for all these scenarios is necessary.
- Review your crisis and continuity plans
Every successful business always has a crisis or continuity plan and these plans also take in to account the possibility of a pandemic. However, you can only test these plans when you experience a pandemic like the Corona Virus. An Asia-based organization’s pandemic plan, for example, designated a European city as the evacuation site for employees and their families, however, flights from China to the city were suspended after the pandemic spread like wildfire. Hence, in that case staying at home is the only viable option, but If large numbers of your employees have to work remotely for a time, for example, is there enough technology bandwidth to cope? Will your operations be impacted if outsourced, offshore workforces are unable to come to work? How will you communicate? In any crisis, one of the major worries for entrepreneurs is to gather necessary information accurately and to act on it effectively.
- Evaluate the supply chain.
One important factor for a CEO is to have a clear understanding of his/her supply chain which will help expose any potential issues within the system. This basically means to focus on your most important and top end products, you must then also look beyond first and second-tier suppliers, down to the raw materials, Contingency plans created by your business can get in to deep waters if the virus spreads rapidly, we’ve already seen suppliers in China that turned to South Korea as a contingency plan, only to see that country soon be affected by the pandemic as well.
- Look for any potential points of failure.
You should have a good understanding with the teams and individuals on whom critical processes or services depend, an understanding here is to be up to date with the modern affairs of the company and how this particular team is addressing the issue, whether or not they are coming up with adequate policies to address the issue? Do these workers possess the right skills who could step into critical roles if needed? Keeping up to date with this particular team can really help you succeed in getting out of this situation with your business credentials intact.
- Effective communication
One of the things modern business men do is that they keep there workforce informed and as you know lack of information and confusion cusses a wide array of problems, now more so than ever. Leadership should be seen as means to build trust, in order to reach your as well as the ambitions of your employees together. Consistency and accuracy of messaging is the key, as is reassurance from the top of the organization, your workforce will seek help and support in these hard times from you, the leader to help them get through this phase.
- Use scenario analysis
One of the main issues of the recent pandemic is the sense of uncertainty. Experts have predicted that COVID-19 has the potential to impact each and every part of your business for months and in order to address that issue is through effective, scenario planning which is a very important tool to carry with you to test your preparation and also of your workforce. The best and worst case scenarios should be build to the possible reprocussions in the long term, for example, on working capital or bank covenants, or even rents for shops and restaurants if public places are closed. Major organisations in different sectors could see a significant rise in demand if more of the population is spending more time at home rather than at work but are they prepared for this? Supermarkets are reducing the variety of products, stocking up on staples, and developing contingency plans to address this issue as well.
- Don’t lose sight of other risks
Keeping in mind the severity of the COVID-19, often in such times people lose sight of other threats which may trouble there businesses, often organizations are most vulnerable dealing with a crisis which requires a lot of attending to. Many other risks that your business faces should not be ignored because of one major problem. Cybersecurity is on the rise now more than ever, especially since hackers, like us are staying at home and well they have nothing better to do, than to hack as means to earn money. We are currently not aware what the next few months have in stored for us, whether or not the pandemic will end in 1 or 2 months is the main question on people’s minds. Moreover, if further lockdown are imposed, national restrictions on movement and the gathering of people will result in other issues then just the pandemic.