Uncertainty and how to deal with it is a subject we are discussing with many of our clients at this time.
This is entirely understandable in the current circumstances. If you are feeling similarly, I hope that knowing many, if not all, of the business owners we work with are also dealing with uncertainty provides a modicum of comfort for you.
As a business owner myself, I can relate to how you feel. Like you, I continue to assess both the short term and long term impact of this crisis on my business, so I thought I would share some of my thought processes around this, in case they help you too. It’s important for owners to share ideas on this while the crisis continues to impact our businesses.
Here are the three main areas I am focusing on:
With your mind relentlessly racing from one thing to another it can be easy to lose sight of who you are and what you believe is truly important.
It’s vital to keep in mind that your business has continued to exist because it provides value to your customers. It will continue to do so following this crisis. So make sure you don’t let feelings of uncertainty cloud this fact, dominate your mindset and sabotage your wellbeing.
Invest some time to focus on caring for yourself so you don’t lose sight of the value of your business and your work.
The things that are working for me in this area are:
- Clarity – Spending the time to understand how your business may need to change once we emerge from this challenging situation can help reduce the anxiety and stress you may be feeling right now
- Take control of what you can – When you are in the middle of a challenging situation, look for what you can and can’t control and take action in the areas where you have some control
- Reach out – Look for help and support. Be vulnerable and seek support from wherever and whoever feels appropriate
2. Maintaining financial visibility to retain a sense of control
A key part of our support to clients since the lockdown started has been the production of financial forecasts – both personal and for their business.
There is a reason for this: forecasts provide financial clarity and aid proactive planning, providing you with a sense of control.
Through your personal forecast, you can review your family costs which link to the income you require from your business in the short term.
In terms of your business, your financial forecast is a powerful tool as it helps you understand how your business stands financially. It incorporates your personal financial needs and allows you to continue to review your costs and assess where overheads can be reduced.
It can also be flexed to reflect changing circumstances.
We don’t know how long the country will take to contain the Coronavirus outbreak, but I put it to you that it will be the business owners who maintain financial clarity and manage their contingency plans that will fare the best.
Take heart in the knowledge that your financial forecast will continue to help you weather the Coronavirus storm. This subject is discussed in more detail in Adam’s recent blog. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend you spend 10 minutes doing so.
3. Using the time to work ON the business
What business projects have you been putting off that you can now dedicate some time to?
Often, when you consider such projects, you find they involve working ‘on’ your business and would, if you completed them, enhance the capabilities, efficiency and reputation of your business, thus aiding its recovery when things start to get back to normal.
For some business owners we have been talking to, increased downtime has highlighted an opportunity to create marketing content, sharing valuable key insights and knowledge that their customers need at this time.
What remote support do your customers need from you now and how are you maintaining that connection with them given the restrictions on face to face contact?
If you have a Business to Consumer (B2C) business, this could well have changed.
As humans, our needs have become more short term. During this time, we have parked thoughts of long term goals to focus on more basic short term needs to protect and sustain ourselves, our families and loved ones.
I received a great email from the RAC the other day on how to look after my car during lockdown. The Company has clearly considered how it can contribute to its customers’ short term need to control family expenses and prevent the unnecessary additional stress of dealing with a flat car battery.
There are likely to be equivalent insights that your customers need now, for you to share.
Have a think and make sure you connect with your customers and share this information directly, on your website and via your social media channels. Not only will you be providing your customers with what they need now, you’ll be investing in the longer term reputation and goodwill for your business.
I dearly hope that focusing on these three areas will help keep you well and healthy as we continue to go through the current crisis. Be sure to share what works for you, so we can pass your insights on to others who may need the support.
A couple of extra points to help you before I finish:
- Clear Vision Accountancy is collating our updates on Government support in an online Information Hub, so you can review these for the latest information at any time. We’ve just added further details provided by the Government on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) including the information you need to make a claim now the claim portal is live and a change to the employee furlough eligibility date. Be sure to bookmark the Hub webpage
- Should you be feeling anxious about the long term implications of the current crisis on our economy, allow me to share this article which a friend of our firm forwarded to us (thank you Paul Shrimpling). It tracks how our economy has successfully recovered over time from such serious events in the past and provides historical examples highlighting the ability of the business sector to recover from economic challenges. I hope it will help you to feel less uncertain about the future, as it did for me.
Matthew Rogers FCCA