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COVID-19 Recovery Strategies

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by Mark S. Deion, Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc.

The tragedy of Covid-19 has occurred, shutting down businesses, the economy and most likely forever changing our lives and lifestyles. In the midst of all of this, we have had to figure out how to adjust on a day to day basis, how to comply with health care issues, the loss of jobs, the closure of businesses, etc. Individuals have had to apply for unemployment benefits, businesses have applied for federal or local financial assistance, and we have had to figure out how to do things differently just to survive. Dealing with all of these issues on a daily basis has been a herculean task, but we must also be working on strategies for recovery, what to do when things go back to the “new normal”. We will attempt to outline a few basic issues to be addressed by businesses when developing a recovery plan.

Financial Planning:

If you applied for financial assistance (disaster loans, paycheck protection, loan deferrals, etc.) or, if you have cash reserves, you must develop a budget to space out the use of these funds over time. It might take months for business volume to return, and even then it might take even longer for it to attain pre-crisis levels. Discuss budgets with your key staff members, banks, landlords, vendors and customers. A/P and A/R issues will most likely be the same with your vendors and customers, they are probably experiencing the same hardships as you. So, work with them all on a reasonable basis to schedule out over time the flow of funds which you have available. Depleting all of your working capital before your revenues return to a sustainable level could be devastating. Remember, you need to live through today in order to live tomorrow and the day after that. There should be short range plans and longer range plans to ensure that you come out on the other side of this crisis.

Marketing and Operational Planning:

Some businesses have learned new ways to market to their customer base. Additionally, some businesses have learned/created new products and services to market to their customer base. Brainstorm with key employees and advisors to identify new ways to do what you were doing, or, to identify new products or services that are needed in the market place. Look at what your customers need. Discuss potential opportunities with existing or potentially new vendors. Look at what your competition is doing. The internet allows for many tactics to be engaged ranging from social media postings of your products and services, to web portals where your goods/services can be sold online. Many service related businesses have made great use of online web conferencing and electronic communication. Manufacturers have learned how to re-tool to manufacture products that are now desperately needed. It is not as much a matter of what you once did as much as it is of what you can now do. Marketing has always been a matter of meeting the customer’s needs,...so, identify the current needs and meet them!

The same holds true for operations. What we once did from an operational perspective might not be applicable in this new business world. What can we change? What must we change? All of this taking into account finances and the ability to reduce operational costs, or, increase productivity. Taking steps to economize, shorten the production or sales process, all of these are critical issues to be addressed and incorporated into your recovery plan.

Develop a Recovery Plan:

Using the data you have compiled, put together a basic recovery plan. Create time lines and budgets. Assign tasks to key employees. Set realistic goals and objectives. Review the plan on a daily basis with all of those responsible for implementing it. Make changes to the plan as warranted, some objectives might be delayed whereas others might be accelerated. Be creative, modify, and modify again if needed. Keep looking for new ways to do things differently, more economical processes, new products or services. In some instances a business might find itself doing something totally different than what it was doing pre-crisis. It really doesn’t matter if it works and generates revenues.

Remember, be creative, be very creative! Set time lines, goals and objectives that are realistic and bring the business to sustainability. Create budgets in coordination with the time lines you have established. Maintain constant communication with your key employees and advisors. Modify, modify, modify!! Do not be afraid to modify your plan if it is warranted. The plan is not written in stone, rather, it is a guide designed to get you to a place where you can be viable.

Finally, although these are frightening times, it is OK to be afraid. But, don’t let the fear keep you from performing at your best, being the most creative that you can be, and using every available resource that you can put your hands on. Some things in your plan might not work out as expected. This is not a failure, just something that didn’t work. Failure comes when you stop trying. So, don’t stop trying!!

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Mark S. Deion is the President and owner of Deion Associates & Strategies, Inc., a strategic management consulting firm. He provides advice to a variety of business on a variety of issues and is an expert at dealing with troubled companies. He has assisted numerous RI businesses in the Disaster Loan Application Process as well as assisting them with the development of recovery plans.

For additional information: www.DeionAssociates.com   Email Mark   401-732-0457


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