Business continuity beyond crisis

Tuesday October 27 2020
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Closed shops downtown in Kampala during the lockdown. The Covid-19 crisis has had a tremendous impact on large, medium, and small businesses across the globe. PHOTO/rachel mabala

If there is anything Covid-19 has taught many a business, it is the necessity of a business survival strategy. Many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) do not have a survival strategy, and this has constantly made it difficult for them to tackle a crisis of any nature when it arises. These crises range from workplace accidents, a workforce strike, a pandemic, loss of capital or revenue, theft, closure by authorities, failure to pay employees or rent, death of the proprietor among others.

While a crisis is impossible to predict it can be avoided and where it may not, it can be planned for and overcome. Take for example the global Covid-19 outbreak – many business owners did not foresee this, and it has had and continues to have a tremendous impact on large, medium, and small businesses across the globe, even though SMEs have been hit the hardest.

A crisis will reveal the weakest and strongest links in your business as well as how your customers or clients perceive your business. Many businesses have been severely affected and others have closed because of failure to have a survival business strategy.

The first step to solving a crisis is by admitting that your business has been hit by one then you can have a way forward. Here are some considerations:

Have communication plan

A communication plan should be in place to ensure staff are fully aware of what is going on. It helps to assign responsibilities and empower decision-makers to act. But their safety is always considered first.

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Communicate transparently with your stakeholders as this provides you with an opportunity to set expectations and find a solution for everyone.

Increase your focus on customers and strengthen the rapport even when you’re not providing any services or goods. This helps identify opportunities in a crisis.

Adopt new practices

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown businesses the need to embrace online solutions, digital technologies, and strengthen online presence. This helps with communication with your stakeholders and marketing and driving a top of mind recall.

Plan for reinvention

The Covid-19 pandemic has allowed some business owners to shift their businesses online and introduce online payment options as well as grow their products and services portfolio. Agility prior to the crisis make its easier to execute during a crisis.

Strategic partnerships

Explore strategic partnerships to align supply chains for the better. If you’re a producer whose trucks might not be functional anymore, have a logistics firm you can rely on to ensure that your products get to their destination without any issues.

A crisis can quickly turn out to be a catastrophe if a business does not have the required leadership in management and a cohesive team to manage the situation to guarantee survival and future growth. Having a strategy in place helps you see your business beyond the crisis, before the crisis hits.   

The author is the manager communications & events at dfcu Bank.

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