It’s still only been a few short weeks since the Nation moved to level 1.  And while in many respects, much of life is returning to some sense of normality, there are lasting effects that will be with us for some time.  Not least of which is an economic hangover that we are so far, feeling relatively mildly.  Another effect might well be a change to how people interact and where they work from – greater uptake in technology and remote working.

The shift to Level 4 came at great speed, which left many businesses scrambling with how to manage.  Before the memories of those first few days and weeks of Lockdown fade, we should take a moment to reflect on the lessons learned.  What worked well?  What didn’t work so well?  What would we do differently if we had to do it over again?  What should we ‘keep’?  I will use us as an example; something that we have long talked about but never had the discipline to implement is online meetings.  During the Lockdown, these became mandatory and by and large, worked well.  While we are returning to having some meetings in person, we plan to continue to have a number of our meetings online going forward.

What processes/changes/technology etc are you going to retain?  Click here to see some thoughts.

What ends up in your back pocket
Business’s fate is very much tied to the economy.  During the Lockdown period, commentators pointed to the dire consequences that would result because of our reliance on tourism or trade with China.  Many have since changed their tune to be a little less gloomy, while there isn’t agreement on exactly how much of a hit we are going to take, there does seem to be consensus that there will be a step backwards.

On the one hand, we want to remain at least a little optimistic, it is sensible to be as prepared as possible.  Here are some things that might help:

  • Have some cash available to cover late payments/slow months (if you’re in business and don’t have cash available, contact us about the IRD Small Business Cashflow Loan)
  • Stay on top of those who owe you money – by all means be compassionate, but don’t allow yourself to be used as a bank
  • Pay close attention to your cashflow (if you’re not sure what you should be looking at, contact us)
  • Review your spending (business and personal), cut out anything that does not bring you value
  • Keep your eyes out for opportunity; probably the greatest transference of wealth will happen as we come out of a downturn to the new normal
  • Be careful of the commitments you make; a hallmark of a downturn is projects getting cancelled at the last minute – before committing to capital expenditure, hiring staff, quitting your job, make sure what you’ve lined up is going to happen

Small businesses are well positioned to make significant changes or jump on big opportunities quickly.  Key to success is recognizing those opportunities and being in a position to take them.

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