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We are barely halfway through the year and businesses around the country have already faced several crises.  Storms and flooding in the early part of the year followed by the colossal impact of the Coronavirus since March.  Both unforeseen circumstances have been extremely challenging and potentially detrimental for businesses who have been forced to react to situations out of their control. In addition, we remain uncertain of what lies ahead. 

Like many business owners you have probably done what is necessary to survive over the last 3 to 4 months. But it is equally important to look at what you can do to pivot and adapt to the new way of working. Stephen Covey (an American educator) wrote that we must “take control of that which you can control”. For example, preparing a recovery plan for your business, considering different approaches depending on the severity of the crisis, as well as identifying opportunities for change, growth and investment.

So, what factors should we consider?  We can’t expect to know how quickly customer demand will return to 2019 or earlier levels. We do not know how long social distancing will affect the way we make and sell our products or how we deliver a service.

Create more than one recovery strategy

I am a trustee of a museum and we are currently reviewing two strategies based on re-opening in September.  The first with a drop in visitors of 30% and the second with a drop in visitors of 80%. We are also looking at how we control our costs going forwards; carrying out a waste audit and seeing what costs can be reduced.  After all, Toyota in their 7 Wastes strategy said that 30% of an entity’s operating costs were waste so its worthwhile spending time on this.

Having two recovering strategies for your business allows you greater flexibility to react whilst the economy and government policies remain uncertain and changeable.

Use the Product Surround Model

One of my clients, a restaurant owner, is reviewing the business by considering potential problems he will face: customer nervousness, social distancing rules and the need to retain key staff e.g. the chef and manager.

He recognises that 80% of the value of eating in a restaurant is driven by 20% of the cost (the Product Surround Model concept) and is planning his approach around this principle:

  • Product – your service where 80% of the cost is but only 20% of value for the customer. Here you want to think how you can reduce waste and become more efficient.
  • Surround – where 80% of the value is for the customer but only 20% of cost. By enhancing the customer experience and the quality of the product you show them the value of the business.

He is now devising a new menu to suit rapid serving or one-hour sittings, he has engaged with online delivery in the locality and now he is promoting safe distancing measures on his website and is about to start a social media campaign with well-known local businesses.

Be ready to innovate and adapt

In both cases there is a desire to look at new ways of delivering a traditional service to overcome the problems that Coronavirus has caused.   As a Mindshop Expert©, I work with businesses in all sectors to assist them in pivoting so they can adapt to the new way of working. A successful adaption will lead to the business being able to thrive as the business world starts to work once again.

Are you unclear on any COVID-19 related issues that your business is facing? Get in touch and we will be happy to assist you

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About the author

John Painter

John is a partner in the Worcester and Tewkesbury offices having merged his practice (CB, Chartered Accountants) into Haines Watts Worcester on 1 October 2018.

Having been in practice in Worcestershire and North Gloucestershire since 1991, John has built his business on a client centric approach where everything is done with the client’s needs and requirements in mind. One of his favourite sayings is “Begin with the End in Mind” (Stephen Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) as that means the advice given is always relevant to client goals and targets. Since 2005 John has been an Accredited Mindshop Facilitator© which gives him the tools and processes to assist in client growth and profit improvement and is always researching better ways to work with clients and to help them manage their businesses.

Originally a graduate of the University of Sheffield where he studied Economics and Accounting and Financial Management, John qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1981. As well as being a General Practice Partner he is now responsible for the audits (RI) of the practice as well as developing the business strategy and leadership services, which he likens to giving the team the skills to be outstanding business advisers of the future.

John lives in Worcester with his partner, Wendy, and has 2 daughters Jessica and Jade and a growing collection of grandchildren. If not with his family in his spare time John can be found at the Hawthorns watching his beloved West Bromwich Albion or at Evesham Golf Club, although he does treasure his trips to Barmouth in Wales and to the vineyards of France and Germany.

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