You are not alone.
There is no book on leading a company through a global pandemic and the associated economic freefall that we are all experiencing. There is no map – but there are patterns, and pattern recognition is a critical planning tool. We have been in non-stop crisis SWAT meetings with businesses, Federal, State, and City leaders – helping to define strategic, financial, HR, and revenue-generating plans.
Here is what we are seeing on the frontlines:
- The average small business (approx. 5 – 200 employees) has about one-month of a financial runway in the bank.
- Payroll is the biggest cost, and everyone is trying to best manage this with the knowledge that our businesses are our people.
- Leaders want clarification on the impact of laying off vs. furlough and are looking at reducing hours, length of the workweek, etc.
- Any business that is leasing space is exploring payment deferrals.
- Most businesses have debt (loan, lines of credit) – and while many are increasing lines of credit, adding more debt to weather this crisis will make it harder to manage cash flow when the lights come back on.
- Decisions that felt heroic and agonizing yesterday (closing locations, sending staff home) feel like old news today – replaced with the next heroic decision to be made.
- Absolutely every CEO is concerned about what this is going to look like a week from now, a month from now, a year from now…
We are working with Federal, State, and City resources – here is what we are hearing:
- Government assistance is on its way, and it will come in waves. SBA loans and the process of obtaining them are taking shape. The SBA has never dealt with all 50 states in disaster status at once. The process has some glitches, but applications are now getting through.
- The resources available this week will look very different next week. The second wave of resources (FEMA, State, City) will arrive in the coming weeks and include more grant options (as opposed to loans).
- Balancing the urgent need for economic stimulus with access fairness will play a huge role in the development and delivery of grant programs.
- This is very fluid.
3 things Resilient Leaders are focusing on now:
- Having candid and compassionate conversations with their leadership teams and employees. No one has all the answers, and none of us is as smart as all of us. Affirm that things are difficult and uncertain but remain steadfast in the belief that the team will prevail. Show the team how to rise to the occasion and focus on the future.
- Talking with customers in real life or on the phone. Continue to build strong relationships. Remember that almost 40% of communication is tone, and right now, you need to hear what your customers are thinking and feeling. Are they experiencing challenges that you can help with? Focusing on relationships will build trust in the long run.
- Being purposeful as opposed to reactive. Be calm in the face of the chaos. Instead of 50 frantic reactions, make 3 – 5 strong, purposeful moves.
We have a complete list of resources for business on our website http://mettise.com/covid-19-resources/ and will continue to update it as we learn of new resources.
We will continue to post daily blogs with new information.
Contact us if you have any questions.