Making It Work! – Managing For Success Through the Coronavirus Pandemic: Defensive vs. Offensive Strategies
Football games are not won with defense alone. It is with a creative mix of a dynamic offense and a stalwart defense that championships are won – so it is with business, especially during these tumultuous times. Fears of the Coronavirus pandemic have forced us to change the way we do business, therefore, we need to focus not only on solid defensive strategies but also on creative offensive ideas and tactics to preserve value and be in a position to bust back in a month or two.
You will need to cut costs where possible and preserve your cash, yet remain viable to bounce back. How is this possible?
First, get with your team or a few advisors and take a hard look at your financial position. Make a list of where you need to spend money to get through this time. Your major creative thought needs to be on those things that will contribute to continued revenue. How can you continue to sell your products and services into this “shut-down?” What can you get to your customers that will keep the cash flowing in? This step is more critical than looking just at cost cutting. You can’t survive without revenue.
Second, make a list of where you can temporarily cut costs. Can you defer some of your payables? Can you negotiate a temporary suspension of rent payments? Remember that many of your suppliers are probably small businesses and you will need them to help you come back strong. Communicate, be creative and figure out ways to help each other.
Here are some defensive ideas that may get your creative side going:
- Work with your state employee development office and look into the new work-share relationships where they will pay part of your wages.
- Work with your suppliers creatively to see if you can trade or share products, people, systems, administrative work load, vehicles, equipment, space and facilities, anything that will preserve cash and the future relationship. The first one to them with a good idea will generate goodwill and value to the relationship – which will come in handy when we get out of this mess.
- Create a safe space for your employees. Create barriers to allow people to continue working, screen everyone that comes in with a temperature “gun,” create hand washing stations, staged hours, etc.
- Negotiate a temporary suspension of payments or payment plans where possible.
Here are some offensive ideas that may keep your revenue flowing:
- Creative delivery of products and services. Consider becoming your own delivery, remote services company?
- Can you offer different products but of good value? For instance, a pest control business doing landscaping, maintenance, or janitorial services?
- Shift your manufacturing efforts to more needed and critical products to support the current crisis or even friendly competitors?
- Share your manufacturing capability with other, less affected businesses. Some will need the extra capability to meet demand or have additional cash to build inventory. A temporary shift could create significant value and cash!
- An interesting take: suddenly in Colorado we have take-out mixed drinks! Never has this happened, but people are getting creative. How is that possible with your products and services? Be creative!
These may be impractical, but they are here to help you think creatively. Brainstorming changes you can make – even crazy ones – can help you survive and thrive. Go at it. Think, communicate with your team, friends, customers, vendors and employees, brainstorm, even pray – whatever it takes instead of giving in to the fear.
Over the next several days Agora will post specific thoughts and ideas to help position your company to weather the storm and recover quickly. Look for these, brainstorm with your team, be creative, have discussions with other business owners – be proactive, not reactive!
Here is a list of the additional thoughts that we’ll publish over next several days:
- Defensive vs. Offensive Strategies
- Protecting Cash Flow
- Protecting Revenue
- Protecting Your Employees
- Offensive Strategies
- Positioning to Ramp Quickly After The Crisis
- Maximizing Your Revenue Growth
How can Agora’s Strategic Advisors help? Give us a call and involve us in the dialogue. We can be a very creative resource. We make this offer to you on a no cost, no obligation basis. We offer you complete freedom to talk with us. We know we can help, and even help you build value. We have been through a few downturns before and provided valuable assistance.
Contact us. It will be a very interesting discussion!
Garry Krum and the Agora Team
Kevin Brownlee, Engineering, Manufacturing, Supply Chain – (406) 600-1937; firstname.lastname@example.org
Garry Krum, Creative Strategist – (970) 227-2885; email@example.com
Kevin Lemasters, Logistics and Workforce Management – (970) 576-9437; firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Schuler, Management and Tactical Strategist – (970) 658-6381; email@example.com
Steve Smith, Financial and Business Development Advisor – (401) 481-6863; firstname.lastname@example.org