For any questions or information regarding this seminar please email BSPNZ at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a small or medium sized business owner, what can you do to put
the odds in your favour, so that your business will survive – and thrive –
during and after this emergency? We all hope the effects are short term, but
it is vital that all business owners react now.
Positivity and attitude as a business owner will play a big part. That is
because it is more likely to lead to action. You will quickly do what needs to
be done. In these types of situations too many business owners focus on the
problem rather than the solution. First and foremost, you need to be
solution focused. You need a way to put the odds more in your favour.
There will be some obvious things like trimming costs, perhaps temporarily
delaying certain projects. Keeping in contact with clients, strategic partners
and support people is also important.
There is no single strategy but a combination of strategies that will enable your business to keep safe. Below is a list of strategies and ideas that Business Success Partners has gathered from a number of sources including its own that are worth your consideration.
1. Be a hunter
When times are good, business often just walks through the door – or at least is easier to get. Sales and marketing strategies and systems are often nowhere near as good as they should be. Branding is sometimes non-existent. Many business owners have forgotten how to go out and create new business. Recessions don’t mean that business has stopped, it means that it has slowed down, got smaller temporarily and hopefully not for too long. The longer you wait to act in these circumstances the harder it will be.
You need to develop a sales strategy that will put you in front of more potential clients. You need to use the correct marketing tools and possibly bring in some expertise to help you do this initially if there is a gap in your ability in these areas. Understanding how to market directly “B2B” (business to business), and what strategies and tools are needed to market “B2C” (business to customer), are things that many SME owners haven’t had to do aggressively for a long time.
The key is to understand that business is still there, and you have to be the business owner prepared to go out and find it. The analogy we often use at Business Success Partners is “don’t wait to be fed, like a sea anemone – become a hunter, like a shark!”
2. Examine your supply chains
Attempt to stabilise supply chains by using alternative sources and by working with suppliers to solve bottlenecks. Where rapid solutions are not possible, co-develop plans, put in place interim solutions, and communicate plans to all relevant stakeholders. Your business may have components that are made elsewhere in the world. You may not even know this. If your business relies on a supplier from an affected region, you might need to seek an alternative immediately and urgently. Important to note that export disruptions may change so keeping informed is important to reacting quickly.
3. Develop a contingency plan
You must examine how your whole business is being affected and look at ways to make changes as quickly as possible. Seek assistance to do this if needed.
This may involve changing your marketing strategy to better influence customers’ behaviours, scaling back on certain products, or possibly making more efforts to sell others that are more available.
Temporary diversification for some businesses maybe part of a solution.
For example, if you’re in the tourism and hospitality industry that targets offshore, consider promoting your products and services within New Zealand.
4. Understand cash flow
You need to know in advance what impact a slowdown will have on cash flow.
Understand if your ability to pay debt could be affected and to make adjustments accordingly.
5. Ensure you’re aware of finances at all times
Important to be monitoring all aspects of financial performance, creditors, debtors and stock levels.
Put in place rapid-reporting cycles, so you have the information you need, and can better understand how your business is being affected.
6. Communication with Customers and other stakeholders
Customers need to be informed of any issues with delivery – also communicate with them regarding the contingency plans you are putting in place.
With suppliers you may need to look at renegotiating payment terms – and be prepared for debtors who may ask for the same. Perhaps offer an incentive for early payments?
You may also want to discuss with your bank a temporary reduction in loan payments.
7. Review Business Insurance
Check with your broker or insurance company if you can make a claim on your business policy for any financial losses suffered.
Employees will likely be exposed to conflicting information and feel anxious or confused about the best course of action. Be sure to communicate policies promptly, clearly, and in a balanced manner. Don’t be afraid to discuss clearly with them, your company’s efforts to see its way through this crisis. This will be an opportunity to pull your team together. With travel restrictions, absenteeism may be affected, so staff training/cross-training may be important, to ensure productivity is not affected.
9. Review Costs
Look at all the costs of your business and reduce discretionary and non-essential expenses.
Fixed costs such as wages, rent, utilities, financing costs and tax liabilities are not affected by a decline in sales, so they’ll need to be properly managed.
10. Seek professional advice today
It’s very important for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus, to seek professional advice – don’t sit back and hope this will all go away. If you feel you need help developing a plan for your business, then do this immediately. If you are already working with an advisor, then ensure this becomes a priority of your discussions and planning.
Te Waka Seminar Notes Part 2
If part one was looking at what business can do right now, part two is really focused more on how the business owners can use this time to come out of all this as strong as possible and with a plan that can action. So do that we will provide in this seminar a simple overview on how they can do this.
Do a team SWOT analysis
- What do we want to be “famous” for?
- What skills do we have, what do we do well?
- How do we “take it to the max” (exploit it)?
People - experience, know-how.
Leadership and management.
Philosophy and values.
Internal abilities and capacity.
Information and communication technologies.
Advantages over competitors.
IP, novelty, innovation.
Physical location and area covered.
Pricing strategies, value for money.
Standard of work.
Marketing – point of difference, well-known, widely known, distributor relationships.
Loyalty of customer community.
Capital, future income, plant, materials.
- What do we get customer complaints about?
- How would we rate “communication” in our team?
- What causes the greatest frustrations in the team?
- How will we make sure we had a system to solve these frustrations…
Cash flow difficulties.
Insufficient or weak financial information.
Missing skills and/or systems.
Under or over resourcing.
Poor team or key individual performance.
Key people left or leaving.
Risks, distractions, disruptions.
Lack competitors’ resources.
Poor brand awareness or reputation.
Lack of reliable supply, supply chain.
Lack of focus on core activities.
- What do our competitors do poorly?
- What are the “holes in the market”?
- What market development Opportunities are there?
- What product/service development Opportunities are there?
- If we HAD to “double our business” in the next 2 years how would we do it?
Technology and innovation.
New products, new pricing models.
New point of difference.
Changes in the market.
Trends - customer, industry.
Target market segments.
Competitors’ weak points.
Joint partnerships, licensing, franchising, distribution.
Market shift, e.g., margins.
- What do our competitors do well?
- What are their advantages over what we do?
- What innovations do we know about?
- What market changes will we need to be wary of?
Customer changes e.g.: attitudinal or generational.
Change to supplier base.
Economy – domestic, international.
Seasonal lows or climatic effects.
Funding drying up.
- Who do we make the most Money on?
- Who are the customers we like to deal with?
- Who don’t we like dealing with?
Key Questions: How much is your current database made up of A grade Customers? How do you attract more A grade customers?
Points of Difference:
Key Questions: What are some things that we do better than our competitors? What do they do better than us?
Comments: If you don’t think you have a POD then you need to create one otherwise you will always be competing on price.
Understand the difference between a POD and a market requirement: E.G Good service is not a POD it is a market requirement – a customer experience however is a POD.
Points of Impact
Key Question: In all the areas of contact that you have with your clients what do you do well? Rate yourself out of 5.
- First point of contact
- After sales service
- Debt collection
- Anything else?
So now we have developed a bit of business vision and have recognised those key elements we need to work on so the next step is to start forming a strategy and a methodology to implement that strategy.
- Info from swot – Understand where you can be better and where your opportunities are!
- Better understanding of your target Market – attract more A grade client!
- How do we create a better point of difference!
- How do we improve our current points of impact!
Take all of the information from the learnings above and List down at least five objectives for each category.
To be more dominate in the market and to be a better business all round. What do we need to start doing? What do we need to Stop Doing? In regards to:
- Products and Services
- Sales and Marketing
- People and Productivity
- Systems & Processes
Create your Master Task log
And a reminder that the starting point for all of this is the Business Success Model