Top tips for managing your business during uncertainty

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At a time like this, it’s natural to feel that you don’t have the answers to deal with the unprecedented challenges that are impacting your business in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With no end in sight, business owners have been faced with balancing the dilemma of how to protect the health and well-being of their staff and customers, versus the financial impact this will have on their business.

Uncertainty and anxiety can understandably drive business owners to become very self-focused. However, given that your team are having to process the same fears as everyone else, now more than ever they need good leadership where they feel included and valued. The following tips outline how to lead through uncertainty to help maintain the trust and well-being of your staff, even when future plans are up in the air.

Plan for the long and short term

Given that the business landscape is changing almost daily due to Covid-19, turning any thoughts to long-term planning may seem meaningless. Yet strong leadership calls for devoting appropriate resources to addressing the immediate needs of the business while maintaining a focus on your strategic goals. The world may not seem quite the same when we eventually come out of the other side. So maybe now is the time to take stock and consider how you can take practical steps to ride the current storm so that you are ready to move forward once the difficulties pass.

Encourage others to step forward

In times of rapid and unpredictable change you will develop a culture of other leaders within your current team, who are willing to embrace new ways of working rather than you having to take on this responsibility on your own.

Protect your working capital

JP Morgan has revealed that the average SME’s cash buffer is just 27 days, so the impact of a prolonged lockdown makes the protection of working capital paramount. In order to effectively protect your working capital, ensure you are realistic about the circumstances and consider the worst-case scenarios.

Balance optimism with reality

As a leader it’s vital to accept the gravity of the present situation but also maintain a positive vision of the future. But don’t attempt to sugar coat things or appear ambiguous about the challenges that lie ahead. Regardless of what it means for them individually, staff will value the truth and respect your integrity as a leader if you are honest and direct.

Seek the right support

With 5.9 million SMEs in the UK employing around 60% of the private sector workforce, the government is taking action to help them through the crisis by launching several schemes. You may have already taken advantage of the government schemes available such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, business rate relief, VAT deferral and HMRC Time to Pay.

Whilst these can help ease immediate worries, you still need to be mindful out of the standing commitments, such as loan and asset finance payments.

Article provided by Wesleyan Bank.

For more information visit: wesleyan.co.uk/news-and-insight/guiding-your-business-through-unprecedented-times or get in touch at bankcommercialsales@wesleyan.co.uk.

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