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Nine tips to help businesses survive the next 90 days

Written by Ian Christelow on Monday, 06 April 2020. Posted in Analysis

Co-founder of ActionCOACH UK, Ian Christelow, offers nine tips to help businesses survive the next 90 days.

Nine tips to help businesses survive the next 90 days

Co-founder of ActionCOACH UK, Ian Christelow, offers nine tips to help businesses survive the next 90 days.

Like many owners right now, your stomach is probably churning at the prospect of the turmoil happening to your company, and that of many other UK businesses, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As part of ActionCOACH's commitment to supporting the business community, we’re running a free online webinar to help you create a proactive plan of action for the next critical 90 days. The webinar will teach you how to survive and thrive in moments of severe crisis. 

1: ‘Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring’

These were the ‘comforting’ words of advice ushered by Lance Corporal Jones in many an episode of the BBC’s flagship comedy programme of the 1970’s Dad’s Army, when the platoon’s leader Captain Mainwaring was faced with a difficult, often treacherous, situation. 

And while I’m certainly not treating lightly the terrible position many company owners will find themselves in at the present time, it’s important to stress there is nothing to be gained by ‘freaking out’ or ‘throwing in the towel’ or ‘losing it completely’, to use just a handful of expressions.

At times such as these, and we all know how difficult it is likely to be over the coming weeks and months, it is vital to try and remain calm in circumstances never experienced before.

Keep calm and collect your thoughts. Do not ‘over think’, but do compile a checklist before deciding on your plan of action. Well thought-out actions are key to prevent a tough situation becoming panic stations.  

Sometimes not easy to achieve but it’s vital you have a clear head before taking that important first step in your brave new world.

2: Don’t argue with the facts

News of a pandemic is fact, not fiction. It’s here right now, and we have to deal with it. Politicians and leaders, both local and global, will take decisions that won’t make much logical sense. 

Yet they will still take these decisions which could make matters worse, not better. Rules will change, so make a point about learning what these new rules are. And then re-organise your business based on these new rules. Keep up to date and follow the news once a day; more than that is counter-productive and will bring you down, so turn your electronic notifications off and stick to a set time which won’t interfere with your working day and won’t impact on your sleep, say 6pm. 

3: Put your personal care first

Be sure you are healthy, physically and mentally, as well as financially. This is critical as you are the driver of your bus. You won’t be able to help others if you feel challenged and under pressure.

This is a massive point to make. It’s impossible to underplay the importance of being in good personal shape, before starting work on your business commitments. 

4: Understand your supply chain

Consider this: Take a look at your supply chain, from acquisition to distribution. Let’s start with distribution. Does your distribution model need to be changed? Because of this pandemic, or other supply chain issues, you might need to change the way you distribute? Do you need to deliver this product or service in a different model? Will your customers buy the product the same way? Don’t wait for the customers’ responses to find alternative sources. 

5: Sourcing your products and stock

You may discover that your primary source for a product or stock item no longer exists. Or, less drastic than this, your source may not be able to deliver the goods either as quickly or in the same quantity as before. View this as an opportunity to make a change that was probably needed anyway. 

6: Beware and be aware of the weakest link

When you take an overall view of your entire operation, try to locate the weakest part of the chain. For some this will be marketing/sales, for others it is production/delivery, while for others it is getting the team to do the work.

Can technology, or another solution, eliminate or minimise this threat, which could eventually result in the collapse of your business. Sounds pretty dreadful, but it’s vital to locate this potential point of disaster and take preventative action. 

7: Finance – Turn a negative into a positive 

In some cases, you may have the ability to leverage debt at a lower cost. This means, in the long run, the pandemic could be beneficial to your business. Re-financing debt at a lower cost is an opportunity that could turn defeat into victory, or bankruptcy into survival.

A decrease in cash flow, which comes with the likelihood of slow payments, might mean a greater use of borrowed capital. In the current emergency which exists worldwide, national governments frequently free-up large amounts of cash to keep economies stable. Whether it is a hurricane, floods, fires, banking collapse, or pandemic, you may find a solution or opportunity among the changing financial rules which emerge in moments of global crisis. 

8: Your team’s morale is crucial

It is critical to tell your team what is happening in the business world, especially during times of crisis.

Without good communication the result will be FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). This often means panic, which can easily escalate among groups of people. Team leaders need to update their staff on a regular basis, even if it means informing them there is nothing new to report. 

9: Seek a silver lining through sales and marketing

Don’t stop selling, and never cease to publicise your business. People will still buy products and services. There will be taxes due, restaurants to open, and travel will start again.

Those who market and sell more efficiently than their competitors will emerge victorious in the long term. And right now, you can negotiate incredible deals with media companies because your competitors stopped investing. This is the perfect opportunity to take customers from your rivals.

You’ll probably need to change your marketing message, in order to help customers continue doing business with you. You might want to help your customers understand this dire situation is offering them a greater opportunity than normal to do business with you.

Do you have a clear plan on how your business can survive the next quarter?

No one can predict exactly how the pandemic is going to affect businesses, but what you can do is make all necessary preparations, while retaining the best mind set for the journey ahead and ultimate survival of your business.

And, who knows, you may even find a way to thrive during the current crisis.  One thing’s for sure, when you get this right, you will come out of this stronger.

If you’re interested in ActionCOACH’s free webinar, or would like more information on how to boost your business during these difficult weeks and months, visit:

About the Author

Ian Christelow

Ian Christelow

Ian Christelow has a deep-rooted passion for helping companies succeed. Having watched his father’s business fail as a child, Ian understands the devastating consequences of business failure. When he came across the ActionCOACH brand in 2001, no one really knew what a business coach was, but Ian could see it was the cure for the blight which kills 9 out of 10 UK businesses inside their first decade of trading.

He and his partner, Julie Wagstaff, have spent the last 18 years growing the franchise in the UK to over 200 franchise owners, becoming the most successful out of over 70 ActionCOACH countries. This is a result of the support structure of over 60 UK-based team members put in place for the franchise network; investing £250,000 in an exclusive lead and client generation centre and developing strategic alliances with many other companies to introduce thousands of business owners to the solution.

His ultimate goal is for ActionCOACH to become a household brand and the go-to place to grow your business successfully.

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