From identifying competitive advantages to investing in an internal communication strategy: 10 steps to take after lockdown
- Be sure to have a detailed cashflow forecast and if possible, a joined-up profit and loss and balance sheet (interactive with cashflow); this is often referred to a three-way forecast.
- Be in possession of good management information. This will be crucial to making good, strategic and agile business decisions as well as giving you visibility over liabilities deferred and those new due dates. The data may also highlight any additional funding requirements, whilst allowing you to effectively stress test and fine tune your exit from lockdown strategy.
- Spend time interrogating your pipeline including any transactional work that dropped off at the end of March and other opportunities arising. This will help you to assess the level of activity and the likelihood of these coming on stream. Particularly relevant with conveyancing with the property market coming back on stream, although this may get a boost initially from transactions aborted in late March / early April so don’t assume anywhere near full activity for a few months; you may be ready but the market and economic confidence may not. A sensitivity analysis of the above is also recommended to identify any possible delays in expected upturn.
- Carry out a forensic review of your supply chain e.g. components or staff, linking back to your pipeline and/or order backlog.
- Continue to analyse your staffing levels within your return to work plan being sure to measure both positive and negative capacity issues. For a departmental full service firm, this will involve analysing each team or service line as they will all come back online at different speed. This can be flexed around the now extended furlough scheme.
- Stay close to existing and previous clients. Whether this is done by email, social media or, most effectively by phone/conferencing facilities – your clients will feel valued and looked after which in the long run may help you build your trusted advisor status. Your aim should be to feed the pipeline by re-confirming (or re-engaging entirely) in order to add certainty to a period which could be very difficult to predict. Don’t lose sight of BD activity, virtual drinks may appear weird but keeps you in touch with key referrers.
- Identify any competitive advantages that have come to light in this period. Are there some weaknesses in your direct / indirect competitors or even gaps in the marketplace that can be seized upon?
- Invest in your ongoing internal communication strategy. This will be critical to ensure that everyone within the business knows what is expected and any appropriate parameters to work within. It is key that you consider the return to work guidance that exists, perform your own risk analysis and understand any concerns your teams may have.
- Reiterate to your current pricing model, so that value can be clearly articulated and where possible margins understood and protected. This needs to be reiterated to client facing personnel who may feel in the need to discount and appear to devalue themselves. If pricing models are tweaked, then cash upfront is even more key.
- Review your previous retention model and consider whether instead of extracting all profits you should set a new benchmark so that the business can retain cash and reserves for contingencies.