Thomas Cook ceased trading on Monday 23 September 2019. With many experts saying its fate was inevitable, what can be learnt from the demise of Thomas Cook?
As a nation, and a global community, we have been thrust into a world of unknowns. A global crisis has impacted every aspect of our daily lives. And as business owners, especially SMEs, sole traders, single director companies and freelancers, we’ve all been hit by a bleak forecast of our future. With no real timeline of how long the government-mandated social distancing will last, we’re all wondering whether our businesses will make it out the other side. Not to mention whether our businesses will be able to survive, let alone thrive, in a post-Coronavirus crisis world.
Quite a depressing start to this month’s article. However, as a creative thinker and problem solver, I am a firm believer that there is always a solution. No mountain is too big. If you can’t go round, it, over it or under it. Go through it. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to keep going, and how you can prepare for when normal life resumes.
Businesses that can function through the restrictions on social activity need to become rapidly adaptive in how they provide their service. Small, local businesses are adapting how they function and what they offer, to not only help their community, but also keep their livelihood running. Even on a personal level, people are needing to adapt their day-to-day living, becoming creative in their approach to handling supply shortages and limits on purchases. Businesses aware of these restrictions, and having the ability to resolve them, will be beneficial to their community. Social distancing will bring with it a resurgence in community, and support for those around us. Local businesses that can adapt will be an invaluable asset at this time.
For businesses that have no way of adapting what they offer to suit the current landscape, or have seen their future business drop off the side of a cliff. This time will be harder for you. No doubt clients are cancelling contracts and employees are being furloughed. You’re assessing your cash flow, cutting expenditure to its absolute minimum and figuring out how long you can maintain this holding pattern before you have no choice but to close your business.
Whilst you may be struggling to find clients looking to utilise your services, there is plenty to do behind the scenes to make sure when the time arises, you can hit the ground running to give your business the best chance to recover. Take this opportunity to build brand awareness. Get online, do live videos, write and record content for your site, update your site. Share case studies of past projects to showcase your experience and knowledge to future clients. Do all those things you put off week by week because, “client work comes first”. No work means it’s time. No more excuses. Build an arsenal of content to publish now, but also to use going forward too.
Every business should look at how it operates, and what improvements can be made. And most importantly, now that you’ve had a crash course in handling a crisis – it’s time to address what other crises could affect your business? Now’s the time to become crisis prepared. After all, dealing with a global crisis that affects everyone, against a crisis that impacts your business alone, are two very different scenarios.
Whilst we all take each day as it comes, it’s important to remember that the health and well-being of our society far outweighs the threat against our business’s survival. In one way or another, we will navigate this. This global crisis will change the world as we know it, however, it will also open doors and bring new opportunities to those of us that are willing to adapt to the dramatic changes in our society’s landscape. Good luck, and remember: you are not alone.
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