Opinion blog

I just heard an economist say we are emerging into a more indebted, less global and more digital world. What does it mean for private and family businesses as we plan for a reopening of the economy?

Many businesses are focused on getting through the next few weeks, looking after staff, protecting cashflow, accessing Government support and counting down the days to when they can reopen their doors.

In this series of blogs I will offer practical tips and steps that the SME business community can take to prepare and manage the transition from ‘Survival to Revival’. I would encourage you to contribute and offer your own ideas so that we can share the journey and different experiences for the wider benefit of the Scottish business community.

So, to get started, here are a few suggestions:

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”

I am still astonished by the number of skilled and experienced business owners that NEVER WRITE IT DOWN! I get that life moves at 100 miles an hour – but for the next few weeks at least everyone has time to reflect on their business model; plan their lockdown exit; write down the actions needed; put in place measures of success; review success; modify plans; and go again. Before you know it more of us might get into the good habit of recording plans and implementing them.

Preserve and build up cash reserves in your business

Government measures thus far have helped business to maintain their staff on payroll (Job Retention Scheme), defer tax bills, access grant funding and loans for smaller businesses and obtain bank funding through the CBILS scheme.  These measures have been welcome, addressing the standstill period and allowing for most businesses to at least exist by the time this phase of lockdown starts to ease. I would recommend all but the most cash rich of businesses to apply for CBILS funding now. Even if you don’t think you need it immediately, you don’t want to be scrabbling for cash if/when you hit a cash crunch. Banks are very busy just now. Don’t be at the back of a long queue in a month’s time.

Do some deep dive reading

World class insight is out there that only needs you to give up your email address for a “free” subscription. McKinsey; Boston Consulting; TED talks; Harvard; I subscribe to 3 or 4 thought leading institutions for free stuff that helps me think. 80% is irrelevant but the other 20% has some real gold in it, which could be useful if applied in relation to your business model or sector.