Face up the crisis and minimize its impact

Sylvie Pokorná
May 6, 2020
How to deal with the crisis, minimize its negative consequences, and become even stronger? This is probably one of the most important questions that most entrepreneurs are asking themselves in the current situation. Is there actually a clear answer to it? Burying one’s head in the sand and hoping for the best probably won't be the best solution right now. In order to confront this crisis and overcome it means being determined and enthusiastic…

The coronavirus pandemic has reached a global scale and both business owners and the public in general have felt its impact on the economy. Prosperity and security have been replaced by uncertainty and decline, and most of the economy sectors are now facing a crisis. A huge drop in orders was felt by both large and small companies. This is the reason why even the companies with stable positions on the market have also found themselves in a financial crisis. The consequence of this is the secondary insolvency.

In addition, closures and strict bans have forced most employers to move their company's management to an online environment, which is likely to cause numerous problems and concerns for the less flexible companies. However, there were also those who were able to react immediately and were able to turn the situation to their advantage.

For example, restaurant owners have found that, while complying with hygiene regulations, business can continue in the form of food delivery services, or by offering a "dispensing point". The employees of administrative positions have moved to the home office and, with the help of online applications, they are able to continue performing their work as usual. However, other service providers, such as hairdressers, are in a really bad situation. They just can't go to the home office and get online. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to wait. Or not?

What strategy to choose?

The most basic and obvious strategy right now would be to wait for the pandemic to resolve itself But is it the right one? With so much uncertainty, these companies don’t know if they’ll be waiting for a week, a month, or more than a year, in which case holding out means having to shut down the business for good.

On the other hand, if we don’t wait and try to make changes now we might be able to devise new ways of doing business. We have already seen with our own eyes that adapting to the situation and finding a certain way out (see the mentioned restaurants) is possible, and can mean the difference between bankruptcy or survival. So then, how can we use this crisis as an opportunity for our own progress?

Let’s consider some important questions to keep in mind when thinking about ways to transform business models to cope with the pandemic:

  • Can we modify the product in any way?
  • Can we improve our services?
  • Can we work online?
  • How can we work more efficiently?
  • Where are our gaps? How can we improve?

A major priority for all businesses is to, of course, ‘stay in business’ - but on a deeper level there are other things to factor in, such as avoiding layoffs of valuable employees or damaging relationships with reliable suppliers.

It may also be wise to consider doing audits, moving more to an online format, or looking for ‘out of the box’ solutions - for many companies this can be an opportunity to revamp their way of doing things. Using technology for the company means energetic, faster operation, and if used properly, it also leads to greater productivity.

Process review and why it is important

Let's also think about the processes our company has (eg. even an ordinary payment of an invoice for services has its own process or a list of steps that must be performed in the right order). The visualization and drawing of process maps is the first step. It not only reveals flaws, but above all it discovers dependencies between work activities. It allows us to see step by step how projects (or contracts) pass through the company and find out which activities make sense and which are unnecessary and therefore can be excluded. What are your employees actually working on and is their work time used to the maximum? Is it easy to find out at all?

Technologies are at such a level that it is possible to find useful tools that can make our work easier. It is probably unnecessary to paint process maps with individual tasks on paper when we can use an online tool that can do this automatically and which then assigns these tasks to the appropriate employees itself. This is how the Project Formation tool in ApuTime can help. The process (activities) management takes place by automatically scheduling individual work schedules that respect priorities (specifically the deadlines of other projects) and are in agreement with each other (for example, if we wait for delivery of invoice documents from a colleague, we will not be able to send an invoice before these documents will be received) and in accordance with other contracts (for example, closing account balances must be completed on a deadline, therefore the activities from this process take precedence over less urgent matters, such as the organization of team building). In the event that there is any change that has an impact on the current plan of activities, the work schedule adapts itself – in other words, it is rescheduled and schedules of everyone affected by the change are updated. 

Another advantage of the application is also timeliness and the ability to report immediately without additional internal communication. The project managers can check on progress and see what is currently being worked on and when the work will be completed (you can find out more at www.aputime.com).

Efforts ultimately "bear fruit"

While we’ve gotten a taste of what life looks like mid-crisis, we’ve also seen how unprepared many companies were to deal with it. By focusing on setting up processes well now, we believe that these same companies will be able to withstand and overcome any future crises that come their way. This will allow entrepreneurs to earn in times of growth and stabilize their position, as well as survive in times of recession. 

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