Kieran Phelan, CEO of Cloud 360 Accounting, in this three-part series explores the past, present and future effect of COVID-19 on businesses. In Part One, “What have we learnt from COVID-19?” Kieran looks back and reflects on the initial impact Coronavirus had on firms and organisations and provides four key lessons to help future proof and inform approach as we move forward.
What Have We Learnt From COVID-19?
Similar to life, the world of business can change in an instant – but no one could have predicted the events from the 23rd March 2020 onwards. Let me take you back to that time. That moment when we were thrown into a situation that no one could have foreseen. The Coronavirus and its implications meant that our business operations were transformed, and we entered into unchartered territory. As business owners, management teams and senior leadership we acted out of need and necessity. The disruption to day to day business was huge, and there was a real sense of overwhelm across the board.
In those first two weeks the fear that existed was palpable and real. I even had my own five-minute meltdown with concerns for my staff, my home life and wondering how we would survive. However, I quickly realised that all of this was totally outside of my control, and therefore I needed to take action and support others to do the same.
At Cloud 360 Accounting we decided to proactively help our customers and clients to understand and make sense of the government’s announcements as and when they happened. Our expertise and skill set in accounting, tax and business growth services coupled with our fantastic team placed us in a strong position to help. Through our Facebook Live sessions, and contact calls we helped organisations decipher the announcements and helped them make the necessary adjustments to prepare for financial support.
Over that period, I learnt a few lessons along the way which I hope you will take benefit from. I’d encourage you all to ask yourselves what have you learnt from your business in the past six months, and how will you use that to impact what you are doing for the next six months?
Four Business Lessons I Learnt from COVID-19
Control the Controllables
Get calm. Those two words will change your mindset. It is only when we are calm that we can get a clearer picture of where we are, and where we want to go. The only thing we can control is our minds and our reactions. Everything else is outside of our control, especially in testing times.
Be Prepared Financially
A lifestyle change for some businesses is necessary. Our recommendation would be to have three months of overheads in your reserve at any given time, including your own salary. If this doesn’t feel possible, explore why this might be the case. At Cloud 360 Accounting we can help with this, we go beyond tax and profit and will do a business MOT to help inform your business strategy. We’ll review your existing revenue streams and consider new channels. The mini-heart attack happened so use the opportunity to change a few lifestyle factors to put yourself in a better position for the future.
Collaborate Don’t Compete
I believe there is real value in shared learnings from businesses in similar industries. The ultimate goal is to help customers and to survive. Connection and shared experience will help us all collectively thrive.
Keep In Touch
This last lesson might seem obvious but keeping in touch with your current client base is essential to building relationships. Within a few days of Lockdown we reached out to every single customer and asked, “How Are You? Whilst it might seem simple, this action was pivotal. It opened up a dialogue between us and our customers to help them plan and manage the situation better. We are all human and in unprecedented, scary times reaching out and feeling an emotional connection is what will lead to results. Stay close to your customer today, and they’ll stay with you for tomorrow and beyond.
Essentially, we were hurled into a circumstance that no one had planned for, those business continuity plans were finally being tested and having to be utilised. Consider, what would you do differently next time? I hope through this blog you’ll take some value and do your own reflection to help you and your business plan for the future. I’d love to hear any lessons that you’ve learnt over the past five months and I look forward to sharing our next blog in the series.
To find out more about our services and to see how we can help your business get in touch today