Financial experts were warning as long ago as last November that the global economy was in line for a slowdown. Admittedly, they had no idea how right they were, or why, but the reason we raise this is to point out that there are often indications on how to proceed. Indications which we can use to our advantage, so long as we have kept our ears to the ground. If you were getting ready for a slowdown as long as twelve months ago, then you will have been better-prepared for the shock that has come in 2020.
This may be an extreme example, but it illustrates the point that perpetual readiness is beneficial in business. Readiness isn’t about knowing that a virulent respiratory disease is about to throw the world into chaos. It’s about knowing that circumstances can change in a heartbeat, and having a plan to deal with that. It’s not a case of seeing into the future; it’s about being flexible enough to react to the future when it happens.
The most important investment is in security
A business should make sure that it keeps updating on a regular basis; updating its office systems to avoid the issues of outdated tech; updating its HR policy to take account of changing sensibilities; it’s vital to invest in these things. However, while buying new computers and investing in a legal expert to tighten office policies, it’s also key to ensure you have cash reserves. Sometimes, as a business, you will need to find money in a hurry – to virus-proof your office, for example – and it’s better if you don’t have to borrow it.
Be available, no matter where you are
Whether you’re closing a deal, waiting for instructions from a senior partner, or dealing with an emergency, you can’t afford to be out of communication range in business. The only exceptions are when you’re sleeping and when you’re literally unreachable (because you’re on a plane, perhaps). If you’re en route to a conference or working out of a different office, then a bluetooth speaker with a microphone can allow you to set up a conference call. Knowing where there is a co-working space in any city you visit means you can always be ready to join a Zoom call, even when you’re travelling for business.
Run a stress test in case of the worst
You rarely know exactly how prepared you are for an eventuality, until that eventuality happens. Simply put, a certain amount of readiness involves having faith that your efforts will not be in vain. That being said, you can run a stress test as a computer simulation, showing how your business will be able to absorb a financial crisis. Of course, this is only a guideline – you can’t ever know for sure in advance how deep a crisis will be, nor how prolonged – but a stress test will show you where you most need to make savings and how much you might need to raise to be in a stronger position.
It’s hard to ensure your business will be safe in every eventuality, but making certain common sense preparations ahead of time can certainly help.