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...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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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...

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