Through the end of January I was seeing the early stages of Coronavirus impacting my clients and contacts businesses. Concerns about Chinese supply chains were the focus at that time. On February 10th I finished writing and published an article with a catchy title;

Why Coronavirus could be 1 of the top 10 threats to your business, if it isn’t already.” Read the rest of this article first. but then click on the picture opposite for the full article.

My publishing date was February 10th. That seems like an eternity ago! That weekend I’d been cycling, shopping with my wife and attended a friends 50th birthday. The conversation that weekend was all about Philip Schofield coming out, (remember that)?! We were socialising, and without distance as you can see! We were also in the final stages of planning a trip to Utrecht in Holland to attend an music festival. It seems a different time, yet it was only 7 weeks ago. And at that time my business brain was thinking through Coronavirus and its potential impact to UK business, and my network specifically

I was warning my network of the possible impact. At networking events or with business friends and clients I was making sure CV-19 was on their agenda, how were they planning for it? Was the supply chain likely be affected? Could their business survive a ‘hiccup’ in product supply or could they put non-FE alternatives in place? How were they protecting their colleagues, clients and all they come into contact with?

Boy was I right, (except it should be been No.1 not “1 of the top 10”) but that’s semantics surely? I will however readily admit I didn’t foresee the extent of the impact. To business, to the country or to the population. In my defence I was at that stage keenly reading articles from some big players including Forbes, Tech, the BBC and more and all were framing CV-19 as a threat to our countries supply chains, so it looks like they all got it wrong as well. At least I’m in good company!

On March 11th I went so far as to publish on my website a CV19 statement outlining the precautions my family and I were taking to reduce the chances of causing cross contamination, known now as being a ‘spreader’ or ‘super-spreader.’ This was in my mind the right thing to do, but I got the distinct impression from some that it was almost funny. There was one exception in Rob Perks of Inspire. He spotted it, and I think like me some sub-conscious alarm bell was ringing that this could get serious. 3 weeks ago, doesn’t sound like very long but it has felt like forever.

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.21.01So what’s next? Let’s start by looking at the advice I’m giving businesses today. Well actually started giving on March 18th when I published another article with a catchy title as you can see. I clearly have knack for rubbish titles…….Again the picture is a link. This was published 2 weeks ago, pre Social distancing / self isolation so it may be some of this isn’t as simple now as it was then. It does include links to handy Government websites. These are especially useful as the advice is changing and updating so fast you cannot keep up with the detail purely on the television or radio. And, as it the case so often the devil is in the detail.

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 12.26.26This is no more the case in my view than with the CBILS (catchier then Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme)? Here’s article from the Daily Mail from yesterday which although you may not agree with where the ‘finger of blame’ is pointing it does make the point CBILS is not performing as it was potentially advertised.

 

 

And of course more of this to come? Certainly. The 5pm (ish) Downing Street briefing is the new guilty pleasure of the UK population. It’s the new Love Island, and I

am certainly planning on tuning in as often as possible. Messrs. Johnson and Sunak have made a name for themselves. And I for one am tipping my cap to them. They’ve shown great leadership, good communication skills and made tough decisions. They are backing the countries people, business and healthcare system as best they can and although I am still waiting for support for the SME directors that earn through dividends (hurry up Rishi, please)! I am broadly in support of their efforts so far. My only concern is of course we are going to have to pay it all back. At least we already have a name for that. Unfortunately it’s called austerity…..cue groans. Cue Labour whinging….. Also on the political front I am delighted that calls for a Scottish referendum on independence will surely die down. Even Nicola Sturgeon surely can see that we are ‘better off together’ or will she have an independence ‘filter’ to add to her slanted hindsight later?

Now to post CV-19. This is the key. There will be a POST CORONA world. As with the Mexican lager there will likely be hangovers a plenty but PCV (I should trademark that) there will be opportunities for businesses to thrive. Those that plan for that time, shape their value propositions, plan their marketing and re-shape their resources will capitalise on the new world. I am launching a service “Come back stronger Post-CV” and I am looking for businesses that want to work with me on helping them succeed in the new world. This will be a multi-stage process and will look like:

  • Your businesses survival through CV. Have you done all you can to survive through CV? Is your business scaled to the size of the current opportunity. Can you do anything now to come out in better shape? This time will also be used to make sure your business is working for your personal goals and timescales. revising your needs when you will need them.
  • Sales and Marketing. A complete review. Who are your clients, what do they value from your business? What could you do better? What are your competitors doing through CV? If they’re stationary what opportunities can your business gain by being active? What is the size of the opportunity and what do you need to maximise it? A revised sales and marketing strategy, or at least some tweaks. We’ll be communicating extensively with any of your team available so we’re all on the same page when we’re back and they will both have input, and be ready to go.
  • Bringing your business back to full operations. It is highly likely the P-CV World will not arrive with a bang, more likely a number of fizzles as social distancing and isolation is phased out and non-critical services are gradually released from restrictions. We will anticipate that and plan return to work systems for you and your teams. We’ll assess learnings from for example working from home and introduce new efficiencies as we can.
  • Benchmarking and reviews. Along the process we’ll be building in benchmarks and stage goals. What we can expect to see if we’re on track. We’ll be reviewing and tweaking on the return from CV making hopefully small changes to keep your business on the optimal path. Delivering you growth in a PCV world to achieve your goals.

This is an extensive plan. It will be mostly conducted in the early stage via video calls lasting in some cases a number of hours Make no mistake about it if you sign up for this you will be woking hard. I’ll be using partners and associates to deliver some detailed analysis and support. Cost? Yes it will. This will vary from client to client but the shortest time commitment from me is likely 20 hours. I would suggest if you may be interested lets talk for ten minutes. That will cost you nothing, and it may be the best conversation you have about your businesses future.

To close ask yourself this, when have you had a better time to take a proper look under the hood of your business? When was the last time your competitors were mostly dormant? When will you next see an opportunity like this when you actually HAVE TIME? Get in touch. It’s good to talk. After all, we have time! Contact details below.

Ashley Hutchinson MD, A&S Business Consultants.

E: mail@asbusinessconsultants.uk T: 07511 001157