As seen on Forbes Business Council
Businesses around the world are struggling to navigate the coronavirus in ways most of us likely could have never imagined. But entrepreneurs are resourceful by nature, and I believe we can find ways to cope and even thrive during difficult times.
As the chief operating officer of a staffing company, I’ve outlined five ways business leaders can consider scaling their companies up and down during a crisis to position it for better days ahead:
1. Manage cash flow.
During a crisis, money is tight as business slows to a stop in many sectors. When facing times of uncertainty, get focused on cash flow, particularly on accounts receivable. If you don’t accept credit cards or automated clearing house (ACH) payments, now is the time to enable that feature for your clients. Creating payment options with PayPal is also easy for businesses on both sides of the equation.
In addition, if you take on new clients during a crisis, such as organizations with whom you have no payment history, inquire if they can make a large deposit upfront, as this can help you protect your cash flow and establish a good working relationship from day one.
In short, look for ways to scale your accounting team.
2. Look for new clients.
A crisis is not a time to take advantage of others. On the contrary, a crisis is a time to be creative and resourceful. In cyclical times, some industries go down, while others might go up. Scale up your business development and relationship building by looking at industries that are growing, and think of ways you can add value.
For example, if grocers, delivery firms, warehouses and distribution centers are struggling with high demand for employees, products and services, think to yourself, “How can I help?” As your organization looks to diversify or serve clients differently, you can bet that your current and former clients are doing the same thing. Stay in touch with them; learn what they’re doing differently and how you can work together.
3. Empower a remote workforce.
In response to the coronavirus, nearly every industry has shifted at least a portion of its workforce to remote or work-from-home setups. Technology makes these shifts possible today. However, it takes effort, investment in hardware and software, and phone connectivity to make the shift.
Equally important, a remote workforce requires leaders to manage their people and resources differently. There are a plethora of online resources for learning how to lead remote teams, manage work-from-home life, and handle competing demands of work, parenting and schooling. Share these resources with your team, and encourage them to use them to ensure you’re scaling your workforce successfully.
4. Shift your spending.
From my perspective, organizations that are tech-driven have an advantage when navigating a crisis. Technology can help companies connect with employees and clients and implement remote work scenarios when necessary. As a result, you might find you can do more with less. For example, you might need less leased or purchased real estate for offices and meeting spaces, and your team can instead work fully remotely or in coworking spaces.
In summary, consider scaling up your technology if it can help you shift your spending in more expensive areas, such as real estate.
5. Stay calm.
It’s inevitable that many companies show a loss as they come out of a crisis. It’s difficult to stay calm when revenue has slowed and good people have been let go or furloughed. Remember to continue executing, support your community and its people, and stay focused on tasks that will help your business now and when the storm subsides.
In summary, when facing times of uncertainty, I believe we all need to adjust to a “new normal.” Don’t sit back and wait. By adjusting to the “new normal” and scaling your business up or down to address the challenges you’re facing, you’ll be a step ahead and ready to accelerate once you’re on the other side of the crisis.