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COVID-19: How To Steer My Company Through This Time?
- by Liam Stander (Company Partners Co-Founder)

Lighthouse

In uncertain economic times like these, business owners are prone to either be ignorant of the dangers of a crises; or they allow fear to creep into their companies. Both ignorance and fear can destroy the company you have invested blood, sweat and tears into.

As a business owner myself, I understand that it is easy to lean towards ignorance and fear - but these are emotions that we can control and have to control in these times. If you can control them, you can make clear and sound decisions.

I experienced success and failure with these emotions in the past. I encourage you being part of the Company Partners Family to learn from my mistakes and make the right choices in these uncertain times during the COVID-19 outbreak. We're all in this together and this is the time to help one another.

My experience follows:

  • I started my first company in 2008; built it and sold it two years later. This was during the worldwide economic crash of 2008. We navigated through it by keeping level-headed.
  • In 2010 I started my second company which had to be liquidated after a few swifts in the market. I lost contracts and did not manage the loss of business correctly – I wrongly allowed fear and ignorance to creep in and win.
  • In 2013 I co-founded Company Partners which have had stable growth since inception. Now – I am faced with many challenges and hard choices (as you probably are as well) upon the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world.

Here follows my 5 tips on how to 'steer' your company in uncertain times like these.

1. First, Anchor Your Ship.

Like a ship that is heading into an ‘unknown’ storm, it is a smart move to firstly ‘anchor’ your business. That purely means ‘pausing’ new projects which are focused on new ideas which are risky, and trimming expenses not needed over this time. For example, do not hire new people hastily or spend money on advertising mediums you have not tested before. As with a storm, “this season shall pass too” and we need to wait it out.

2. Captain With Transparency.

As a leader of an organisation it is your responsibility to be 100% honest with yourself, your team and all other stakeholders about your current plans for the ‘nearby future’ to lead your company through the storm. It may be tempting to not communicate ‘negative’ information – such as no growth, budget cuts, less bonuses, paused projects, etc. Challenge yourself to be extremely transparent with your team – they will then see that you’re honest and not ‘hiding’ information. They may just surprise you in how they can work together to make the company even better in a time of crises.

3. Do Not Burn The Sails – Keep It Ready.

You may want to stop all your marketing efforts as you see the market dropping. I encourage you to not completely stop your marketing efforts as it may lead to a much longer recovery period once the ‘storm is over’. It could even be detrimental to your business. It is however a smart move to ‘slow down’ your marketing efforts to adapt to the pace of your industry’s temporary decline.

If you want to test new marketing methods – keep it focused on partnerships, content marketing and free social media campaigns. It’s time to hustle, not test risky methods that can harm cashflow.

Instead of being frustrated with marketing and sales being down, use your extra time to equip yourself by (a) researching your industry; (b) taking Business Courses; and (c) get that terrible ‘Box of Admin’ sorted out – such as your backlog of compliance, legal work and accounting. Once you are ready to go big again – you will be geared to do just that, and feel more in control.

4. Watch Your Compass Weekly.

A time of uncertainty means that your company’s current strategies and plans may need to shift. Keep your eyes on the ‘best case’ and ‘worst case’ scenarios for your business’ projected performance over the next 2-6 months; and adjust your planning weekly. Stay up to date with the situation and your industry, follow new developments and look out for possible opportunities and help from others. Then, communicate the shift in plans to everyone it applies to as it happens. This is a tiring & administrative process, but it is essential to ensure everyone’s expectations are managed.

5. Keep Your Eyes on The End-Destination.

The course you take to reach your goals may have to be adjusted, but you can still reach your destination as planned. It may just take longer than expected… During an economic meltdown, a small number of companies (in specific hard hit industries) may have to close down or change their business’ vision completely – but in most industries most companies CAN survive. These companies’ success in weathering the storm often depends on the decisions and planning of the business owner.

When the situation and market turn again, the companies who survived are then ready to ‘pull up their anchor’ and continue where they left off. In many cases they will then have a stronger market share as many of their competitors did not survive the storm.

I encourage you to make the right choices in these uncertain times. We’re all in this together.

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