Businesses focus on first days out of lockdown
22 Apr 2020
Moving out of COVID-19 Alert Level 4 will mean key changes for many businesses, according to leading local technology company MYOB.
As the country moves into COVID-19 Alert Level 3, many businesses will be faced with changing the way they work, updating systems and planning to ensure the safety of their customers and staff.
MYOB NZ country manager, Ingrid Cronin-Knight says local businesses will be prioritising key activities as they focus on meeting the restrictions put in place in Level 3.
“With Level 3, the emphasis is on what businesses can do to operate safely,” says Ms Cronin-Knight.
“We are predicting a very busy few days ahead as local businesses get to grips with everything Level 3 means for them. They will also have to focus on making sure both their customers and staff understand the safety measures they’ve put in place, as everyone will be keen to understand how they can work safely within their workplaces and reduce any anxiety they may have.”
First days out of lockdown
Ms Cronin-Knight says businesses can put some structure in place to help them cope with the significant changes to the way they work under Level 3.
“Creating a list of priorities will help make what could be a very daunting process more manageable,” says Ms Cronin-Knight.
Ms Cronin-Knight says on Day 1 of Level 3 business owners should focus on what they need to get up and going, with an emphasis on safety requirements, any training required on new procedures and ensuring the business can manage contactless customer interactions.
“This process will be a new way of operating for everyone, so it will be a good idea to have a review at the end of the day on what’s working and what could be improved, especially around your health and safety plan.”
For Day 2, Ms Cronin-Knight says re-engaging with key contacts – both customers and suppliers – should be the priority, to provide updates on how the business will be working during Level 3.
“Good communication is key at the moment. Getting in touch with customers directly to take them through how you plan to operate safely will provide a great deal of reassurance, while letting your suppliers know about any new procedures will help ensure your processes can run smoothly.”
Managing in a post-lockdown world
Ms Cronin-Knight says as businesses adapt to Level 3 – and hopefully Level 2 a couple of weeks later – they will need to prepare for a ‘new normal’ of changing social and economic conditions, fluctuating consumer confidence and a slowdown in international trade.
“Local businesses are likely to face months of instability, so being prepared to be flexible will be vital,” says Ms Cronin-Knight.
“Those organisations that have done best throughout the early period of this crisis have been able to cope with rapid change – in many cases with the support of an established continuity plan. They’ve adapted quickly, listened to customer demand and been ready to pivot where they’ve identified a new opportunity.”
MYOB’s top five post-lockdown lessons
- Focus on cash flow – how can you free up more cash? Consider changing terms of trade to get paid weekly, providing incentives for early payments, and sales and specials to move stock;
- Building a cash reserve – to provide a buffer against future disruption, find ways to set aside cash so you can avoid living from invoice to invoice;
- Lines of credit – banks are being supported by the Government to provide more business loans – a credit facility may help you smooth over any cashflow bumps and avoid costly sources of finance (like credit card payments);
- Business re-gearing – talk to your accountant or financial advisor about how best to structure your business to respond to the new market. Can you do things more efficiently, streamline operations, temporarily mothball parts of your business, close non-performing sites etc?
- Continuity planning – when you have the opportunity, evaluate your response to the lockdown. What worked, what didn’t, and what could be better? Use the experience of the lockdown to help prepare a plan for disruptions your business may face in the future – including changing Alert Levels.
For more assistance to local businesses, MYOB has recently launched a series of Business Preparedness Guides. The first two editions are available now for download at the MYOB COVID-19 Resource Centre.
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MYOB is a leading provider of cloud-based business management solutions. With an offering of over 50 solutions, MYOB makes life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand. The MYOB software spans the full lifecycle of a business from sole traders to larger enterprises with over 1,000 employees. MYOB also provides ongoing support to a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. They are committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through the Connected Practice Strategy and through development of the MYOB Platform. For more information visit myob.com or follow @MYOB on Twitter.