Business triage involves allocating limited resources to achieving realistic outcomes

cash flow crisis planning sme Jul 07, 2020

Business triage refers to the process of prioritising work in a crisis when there is more work to do than resources available to do it. The aim of triage is to maximise the outcome and minimise the damage by being realistic about what can be achieved with limited resources.

It is more commonly understood in the medical context, usually in response to prioritising treatment of casualties following disasters or other emergencies.

According to Investopedia, in a business context, “Triage helps companies by enabling them to attend to emergencies quickly, but it also poses risks, as it tends to involve the elimination of certain time-consuming steps that are normally part of the workflow”.

While business triage is normally associated with decision-making and action a crisis, its principles can also be applied to all forms of transformational change.

In my last blog I advised directors that now is a good time to conduct a strategic review of businesses in order to prepare for...

Continue Reading...

As businesses resume operations it’s a good time to take stock with a strategic review

planning strategy Jul 02, 2020

I would normally be recommending a strategic review of your business at this time of year, when activity slows down for the holiday season.

This year, of course, things are very different because of the pandemic lockdown but as you resume business activity my advice remains the same because a strategic review will help you to identify the resources, costs, opportunities and capabilities that will help your business move forward.

It may be that carrying out a review will help you identify new products or directions in which you can take your business as in a changed economic landscape innovation is likely to be a key to future success.

A business needs to be sustainable and profitable so firstly you need to identify the resources that are already available to you and these can be divided into physical resources, human resources, intellectual resources and financial resources.

To use the example of a manufacturing business, physical resources would include equipment and inventory and...

Continue Reading...

A complex jigsaw puzzle for directors in planning a post-coronavirus retail strategy

As more restrictions are relaxed, allowing increasing numbers of retailers to re-open, directors have many issues to consider when planning their retail strategy for recovery.

Given that High Street retail was already in serious trouble, directors need to address a number of complex questions to assess their chances of survival and develop their retail strategy for reopening, short-term survival and growth.

This will include understanding and meeting the interests of many stakeholders including customers, staff, suppliers, landlords, investors and regulators.

Reducing overheads is likely to be key, given the need to include social distancing measures that will inevitably limit numbers in-store at any one time, thus reducing the number of transactions that can be achieved in any working day. This raises the question of whether or not the business is viable as it needs sufficient revenue to cover the cost of staffing, utilities, rent and related premises expenses while also generating...

Continue Reading...

If remote working becomes the new normal businesses must pay attention to GDPR

Remote working has enabled some businesses to carry on throughout the coronavirus lockdown but have they paid enough attention to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)?

As more businesses open up with the easing of restrictions a combination of more stringent safety measures in workplaces and a realisation that they can carry on successfully with remote working may lead many to adopt remote working as part of their normal business practice.

GDPR was brought in in May 2018 in the UK to strengthen data protection for individuals. It imposed significant financial penalties, as much as 4% of a company’s annual turnover, for breaches and failures.

However, research by the IT support company ILUX, among 2000 remote workers during lockdown revealed that one in ten believed that their expected working practices were not GDPR compliant.

A combination of these workers using their own IT equipment and inadequate IT support from their employers at a time of crisis was partly to blame...

Continue Reading...

Are you prepared for the next crisis?

planning strategy May 28, 2020

Finance may be a primary consideration but it is not the only cost to a business in preparation for a crisis.

Being ill-prepared can damage the relationship with customers and employees, and ultimately, if the crisis is badly handled, it can damage the business’ reputation.

Complex, fast-moving threats to organizations can happen at any time, so being prepared for a crisis is about having the right people having been trained with communication tools and strategy in place ahead of an inevitable yet unforeseen event.

Business management consultants Mossadams produced a useful cost management guide to dealing with a crisis in April 2020, which sets out six elements to pay attention to. These are strategy (covering a customer analysis, product mix, recovery plan and financial forecast), assessing operating models, the trade-off between risks and opportunities, a situation analysis and a financial analysis.

According to the Harvard Business Review ...

Continue Reading...

Potential Coronavirus pandemic business winners and losers

Given the slight easing of Coronavirus-related restrictions a week ago, some businesses are in the very early stages of preparing to return to “normal” but which businesses are likely to emerge as the winners and losers in the future?

The Insolvency Service is now publishing its figures monthly and the April figures were released last week. They reported that “numbers of companies and individuals entering insolvency in April 2020 broadly returned to pre-lockdown March levels for most insolvency types” and their figures showed that total company insolvencies in April 2020 had decreased by 17% when compared to April 2019, with a total of 1,196 company insolvencies of which the majority were CVLs (Company Voluntary Liquidations). These numbers suggest no influence in insolvency from Coronavirus yet.

The figures come with a warning, however, that the operation of courts and tribunals had been much reduced, HMRC had reduced enforcement activity and there were...

Continue Reading...

It is likely that there will be a permanent change in people’s behaviour post lockdown?

How people’s behaviour might change post lockdown is something that may be crucial for SMEs in planning ahead.

While it may be a long time yet before the Covid-19 lockdown is removed completely, following the Prime Minister’s briefing at the weekend, the process of relaxing the lockdown restrictions is now underway.

Despite the financial support that has been provided to businesses and workers it is becoming clear that we shall not return swiftly to a pre coronavirus level of business for some time and before we do many businesses will not survive, especially if the recovery takes a long time and the post lockdown landscape is substantially different.

Much depends on businesses’ ability to recover, on how long it will take them to recover and on how much people will change their behaviour as a result of the crisis.

A key to business survival is communication by leaders to deliver the information and direction everyone needs when a large scale crisis hits....

Continue Reading...

Is it time to introduce more resilient business systems for post-lockdown?

Just in time (JIT) business systems of supply for everything from supermarket stocks to manufacturing components and raw materials have been the dominant model for some years.

While it offers huge benefits, including less storage space needed and less capital tied up in stocks, the disruption caused by measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic has revealed some major flaws in the model.

When such an integrated global supply chain breaks down as has happened recently the impact on business is considerable where shortages of stock have arisen due to road, sea and air freight grinding to a near-halt.

Indeed, JIT relies on many different components arriving on time often from myriad sources such that any one item can bring all production to a halt. The current situation has magnified the vulnerability since all the different supply chains will need to be fixed before production can resume..

Systems resilience describes a system’s ability to operate during a major disruption or...

Continue Reading...

Has the Coronavirus lockdown exposed the weaknesses of many business models?

Robust business models should be based on a clear proposition with a plan for profitable activity.

Each model is essentially a road map of how money will flow from activity.

Business models are a financial expression of the company’s business plan in a way that summarises the strategy, funding, organisation and processes used to achieve objectives.

Given that unforeseen roadblocks and successes will occur, business models should be reviewed regularly and adapted depending on new circumstances and new information.

Tools for refining the model are also useful, such as a SWOT analysis to identify Strengths, and Opportunities to be exploited and Threats and Weaknesses to be avoided.

While arguably, few businesses and especially SMEs, will have had plans to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, it has affected most businesses in ways that were not foreseen. The lockdown has also exposed how little resilience they may have built into their business models to protect from such a...

Continue Reading...

Nurture your key relationships if you want to have a future after current crisis

It may seem premature to talk about what happens when the Coronavirus pandemic is over but SMEs need to think ahead and nurture those key relationships needed to ensure their business has a future.

Many of you have had to temporarily close your business and furlough staff due to Government restrictions introduced to try to slow the spread of the virus and many or you have seen your income plummet or cease altogether, with a devastating impact on your cash flow.

According to behavioural scientists it is natural to behave cautiously, even timidly, in the face of a threat, in direct proportion to its magnitude and to what is known about it. But amid the daily deluge of media updates, it is important to remember that we will tend to exaggerate the risk so the threat looms large in our minds.

So, it is perhaps natural to invoke a so-called “bunker” mentality in which self-protection overrides all else.

But as a business owner, no matter how dire the current situation, it is...

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.