Written by Bernardo Entschev President AIMS International and the AIMS International Marketing Team

7 May 2020

Leaders from all companies and industries are aware of the huge negative impact that the Coronavirus has caused worldwide. While some businesses are actually doing better because their services or products are used more during the pandemic, most businesses are doing worse. It is a time of uncertainty, instability, and unexpected challenges. AIMS International has been dealing with the crisis efficiently and we have also been exchanging with our clients the best strategies to minimise any possible negative impacts of the pandemic and the best ways to deal with the challenges. After some rounds discussing with several entrepreneurs, CEOs and CFOs, we would like to share the 10 most common steps to deal with this crisis in the best way possible.

1. Communication is vitally  important

Clear and efficient communication with your teams, customers, and partners are essential. In times like this, disclose the steps that the company will take and what will be the necessary changes during this period. Heads up about delays in products or services, open communication about solving supply chain problems together, soliciting more flexibility in the requirements: all these strategies will strengthen the partnership. The important message is: “We are all together in this situation and we will overcome it together” and this needs to be addressed to your internal teams, clients, and partners.

It’s a perfect time to keep in touch and demonstrate your interest in your customers and partners, demonstrating that they can trust your company and that you and your company will always be there when needed.

2. Remote work should be organised, reinforced and formalised

One of the biggest changes in terms of collaboration has been the surge in usage of video conferencing, telcos, and so on. You may not have remote work policies in place. This is the time to formalise the rules and formats. This type of work needs to be well-established as it becomes essential in times of crisis. You need to make sure that the necessary structure is in place, the definition of working hours, and that it is safe to circulate confidential documents.

3. Prepare your IT Structure and support team

Make sure you have the resources to solve technical issues that might occur with your employees, check if they have the necessary equipment at home and if they are functional. The usage will raise a lot, so the internet and systems might overload. You will need an efficient IT team to assist you and put everything in perfect working order and analyse the systems’ ability to handle increased data traffic.

4. Virtual meetings routine

It is important to establish a virtual meeting routine and we suggest that this might be more efficient with shorter meetings but more frequent than usual, sometimes even in the morning and at the end of the day depending on the time zones your business operates in.  Align expectations and operationalise a routine of activities developed remotely with leaders so that they can guide their teams in an assertive and efficient way. Be alert about the feelings and emotions of your employees. Be the example, the leader should stay positive, calm, and supportive.

5. Control your costs & revisit your contracts

Renegotiation is the word of the day. You should contact your suppliers and partners to renegotiate prices and conditions. If this is done in a rational way, it could be beneficial to both parties and also save jobs in your company and theirs.

6. Insurance coverage

Check if your company has insurance that covers this type of incidents. It is frequent that the insurance policies exclude this type of event crisis! Also, check possible refunds in case of a contract.

7. Be prepared for possible loans and financing agreements

This is a worldwide pandemic with major impacts on the economy around the world. It is highly probable that your Government will provide some loans with lower interest rates as well as other types of aid packages. It is important to consider public or private financing options and ensure access to capital.

8. Review your strategic planning

You might need to turn on the “survival mode”. Strict control of the cashflow and rethink scenarios like “how to spend our cash with less economic activity for the next months”. Anticipate possible negative scenarios and exercising what to do might prevent bigger problems over the next quarter.

9. Review all strategies weekly (or even daily!)

In this type of scenario, things change almost every day. So, you need to do a frequent exercise to review goals, strategies, and initiatives to accommodate this hallucinating pace. This will help in these unstable moments and will provide new knowledge to grow again in the future.

10. A perfect opportunity to improve processes and strengthen company culture and DNA

The true leader sees moments of crisis as an opportunity for improvement. Events like this always challenge the whole company and the organisational climate but often offer the opportunity to identify new leaders, new ideas, and new processes. Innovation usually arises in these times. It is also the moment to understand your possible weaknesses and correct them. I am pretty sure that you and your company will emerge much stronger after the pandemic has loosened its grip on us all.

Written by Bernardo Entschev President AIMS International and the AIMS International Marketing Team