The Corona pandemic has made a firm grip on our lives. The number of infected and sick people continues to rise, even if there are first indications that the comprehensive federal measures are affecting. Public life has largely come to a standstill and a lot has changed for each of us in the past few days and weeks.
Of course, small and medium-sized companies are also particularly affected during these times. Every sixth entrepreneur in this segment currently believes that his company will not survive the crisis. With this article, we address the possible strategies and tips to help you get through the corona crisis.
- DON’T PANIC
Each of us is currently in fear and worry. You as an entrepreneur are affected twice. As a private individual, you are concerned about the health of your family and friends. And as an entrepreneur, you are simultaneously asking yourself how your company will survive the corona crisis. We receive new reports, information, and statistics every day. And for a long time now, the majority of public reporting has been about the corona.
In addition to the many people who behave sensibly and deal appropriately with the crisis, we experience two extremes in behaviour. One group is simply trying to ignore the dangers associated with the Coronavirus. You stick your head in the sand, refuse to take part in sensible measures, or put absurd conspiracy theories into the world. Another group panics headless, tends to react incorrectly, and behaves increasingly irrationally.
As an entrepreneur, you should avoid falling into one of these extremes. It is particularly important now that you keep a cool head and view the corona situation for what it is: on the one hand, a crisis of considerable magnitude in terms of private life and the economy. It changes much of what we know and demands restrictions and special behaviours from each of us. On the other hand, we are also dealing with a situation that we will deal with. There are excellent ways to protect yourself and others from infection. And as an entrepreneur, you now have options that actively support you in leading your company through this difficult time and not failing.
Now, more than ever, it takes your alert mind, your appropriate behaviour, and your sensible decisions. It depends on how you come through the corona crisis personally and on business. One thing should be clear to all of us: Of course, there will be a time after the crisis and it depends on you in what condition you achieve this goal.
Your usual everyday life as an entrepreneur is mainly about how you win new customers, how you increase your turnover, and how you optimize your profit. In the coming weeks and months, these topics will no longer be in the foreground. Instead, you need to focus on keeping your family, employees, and yourself healthy, and that your company will survive the crisis economically.
- ACT RESPONSIBLY
As an entrepreneur, you play an exceptional role in the current situation. You are not only responsible for yourself and your family, but also your company. There you act as a role model for employees and business partners. You are more at the center of society than other people and it is important that you accept the responsibility and actively shape it. The concept of responsibility is often used in an inflationary way. It is now all the more important that we fill it with clear content and define exactly what corporate responsibility means in the crisis.
Four different pillars can be identified, which are particularly important in the current time:
- The health of your employees
- Your company’s ability to work
- The short- and medium-term liquidity
- Planning the time after the crisis
- THE HOME OFFICE AS AN OPTION
Before the Corona crisis, it was common in some industries for employees to work from their home office. Overall, however, there was a great deal of caution, especially on the part of the entrepreneurs. Nowadays, the home office is increasingly becoming a normal alternative to working in a shared office. We can already be certain that acceptance of this form of work will continue even after the crisis.
Ultimately, of course, it is up to you to decide whether you want to allow your employees to work from home. But keep in mind that this way you can offer your workforce a much safer job and at the same time create good conditions for those who, for example, now have to look after their children in addition to their jobs. For you to be able to use the home office successfully, you should consider a few rules and recommendations.
First of all, it must be ensured that secure data access from the home offices to the IT in your company is available. So-called VPN connections are mostly used for this, which enables secure and encrypted communication.
The next step is to make sure that the employees for whom the home office is available to have the necessary equipment. Of course, this includes above all a suitable computer with the appropriate accessories. But you should also give your employees a hand when it comes to office supplies and office equipment. It is often possible that technical equipment and smaller office items are simply taken home for the time of the crisis.
Now it is still a matter of creating a suitable communication structure. It is about being able to communicate with the various employees in the home office and also holding meetings with several people. The most common messenger services for offices are used for this in most cases. Examples include Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom. Further information on the properties, functions, and conditions of the various programs can be found on the Internet.
One aspect that some entrepreneurs are now ignoring is that working in the home office requires special coordination with their own rules. We recommend the following guidelines:
- MAKE CLEAR AGREEMENTS
If your employees work outside the company, it is particularly important to make very clear and unambiguous agreements about what you expect from each other. To do this, specify exactly which working hours and break regulations apply and which work expenses should be paid. In turn, give the employees clarity about which services you will provide as an employer and how you specifically support the employees in the home office with materials or technology.
- RECORD EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE
Create the prerequisites so that you can measure as precisely as possible the performance of your employees in the home office. Depending on the work area, various measures may be necessary. It is advisable to rely on proven methods of time recording. This not only ensures that you know exactly what your employees have done. Your people can also be sure that their performance is seen and perceived, even if there is less direct feedback in this situation.
- STRENGTHEN THE FEELING OF COMMUNITY
Every successful company lives among other things, from the fact that the employees are connected by a social network. If a certain number of employees now switch to their home office, this sense of community can be disturbed. For this reason, it is essential to promote contact between employees, even when it is not about an important work topic. In this way, you create the prerequisite for ensuring that social life in the company does not come to a standstill, even if it is largely limited to digital communication.
- MOTIVATE EMPLOYEES IN A TARGETED MANNER
The motivation that they get from their work plays an important role for every employee. In the home office, dealing with each other is much more distant. Also, there are no personal encounters in which you have been able to provide motivation, often without realizing it. Motivation arises when your work is valued when you feel part of something bigger and when you experience the importance of your work and person up close. It is part of your job to find ways to express your appreciation for the individual and to ensure the highest possible level of motivation.
- PLAN THE CASH FLOW
In the next few days, the cash flow may not be as expected. Look for alternatives to ensure you have funds in the box today, if you do not have cash reserves previously saved, seek to increase your lines of credit as much as you can, for emergency use, for this call your credit card company and ask them for an increasing line of credit. It is also a good time to increase your liquid reserves, by extracting part of the sales revenue and leaving them as a provisional reserve “in case of emergency”, this would be the first reserve to be used and thus postpone the use of the credit line.
- THE TIME AFTER THE CORONA CRISIS
The mood in the population is not too good and the economy is also largely not exactly positive about the future. The corona crisis plays an important role in everyone’s life and the constant concern with the epidemic not infrequently blocks the view of the time after the crisis. This time will certainly come. Entrepreneurs should therefore now strive for a little foresight and, with all understanding of the current worries and needs, should not overlook the future.
At the moment, the main thing for you, of course, is to survive the crisis in business despite all the restrictions and to stay personally healthy. However, even if it is still unclear when this will be, the time will come when you have to get your company out of the situation-related break and put it back into normal operation. Please make it very clear that there is not only the danger of the crisis itself for companies but also the risk that the restart after Corona will fail.
If you do not feel busy at the moment, then take the opportunity to design your business plan for the near future now. Subject your business model to an in-depth and critical review. Ask yourself what is primarily needed after the crisis and develop concepts right now to meet these needs.
The better you are in position at the time of the restart of the economy, the higher the likelihood that you and your company will master the economic consequences of the crisis and will survive this difficult time unscathed.CONCLUSION
In this article, we have presented various strategies that should make it easier for you and your company to master the optimal way through the crisis. It is important for each of us that we take action ourselves and make the right decisions. Personal initiative is now more in demand than in the years and decades before.
Stay healthy and get through the crisis well!