Fight or flight – deciding on the next steps for your business

Saleem Sonday  - 26 June 2020

In the first of 10 webinars in the Survive and thrive series, brought to you by the Allan Gray Umbrella Retirement Fund, you discover what steps to consider taking to help your business prosper in a post COVID-19 world. Watch the Fight or flight webinar recording below.

Key takeouts

Sun International Group chief executive officer Anthony Leeming, and leading strategist and author Tony Manning, shared nuggets of advice for business owners who face the difficult decision of whether to fight, pivot or restructure. Here is a summary of the key take-outs.

Clearly define your value proposition

Surviving the threat that COVID-19 poses to all businesses requires a fundamental shift in the way you are currently conducting business. In other words, it is time to go back to basics.

Leeming says focusing on excelling in the basic services and functions your business provides will ultimately improve customer experience, which enables you to distinguish your value proposition relative to competitors.

“By not attending to the fundamentals and not thinking about what I as a customer expect from them, by not doing that, businesses are allowing growth and opportunities to fall straight through the cracks,” Manning advises.

Surround yourself with a strong team

As a business leader, you need to surround yourself with a strong team of people who you trust. Leeming advises keeping your inner circle smaller and tighter than usual for quicker decision making and execution.

On making decisions during a crisis, Leeming highlights the importance of having the flexibility to change course and backtrack on decisions made before, as new challenges arise.

“You’ve got to understand that sometimes you’re going to get it wrong and that decisions are going to have to be changed,” advises Leeming.

Communicate regularly and transparently

While uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic and its impact abounds, it is important for businesses to keep the lines of communication open with clients and suppliers, and to be open with employees around any operational challenges affecting the business that could ultimately impact them too.

“Recognise that all strategy in business is about conversation and the question is what is the nature of the conversations you’re having with the people around you? These conversations can be very powerful, it can make an enormous difference in the fortunes of a company,” Manning says.

During a crisis, liquidity is key

With most businesses likely to struggle with short-term liquidity challenges in a post COVID-19 business world, Leeming highlights the need to better nurture relationships with creditors, to give yourself the best chance of securing working capital.

“It’s important to remain close to your creditors or suppliers to ensure [that] they do extend credit. If you can’t pay, make sure they are clear on what the situation is and they can get it because if you start trying to lie to them or manipulate them, you won’t get that working capital, that ability to get credit from them,” Leeming advises.

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