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Personal Finance

Ensuring business keeps running in a period of crisis

A business lady
A business lady. The coronavirus situation has slowed down the economy by untold proportions. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The coronavirus situation has slowed down the economy by untold proportions. When all this first unfolded, there was defiance and hope that the situation would quickly resolve. However, what the disease has shown is that it hates overconfidence as much as it hates unpreparedness. Basically, those who have fared better, are those who took early precautions.

The uncertainty that comes with the passing of days, which have slowly turned to weeks and threatening to run into months, has led to the slow realisation that something needs to be done to ensure that businesses and indeed life, must go on.

First , it is important to note that for any business or project to recover from a disaster, organisations need to take what I document as a four stage process namely;

RELIEF

This is normally the first stage of response. It is when an emergency has occurred and caused disruption that doesn't give a company or organisation time to put in proper response measures that allow for its positive adaptation to the situation. The organisation is at this point forced to take drastic measures such as asking employees to work from home, before resorting to pay cuts and in some occasions, layoffs. On the other hand, companies and non-profits seek relief of financial obligations from banks and donors respectively, hoping to stay off the emergency situation.

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STABILISATION

It is time to move on. We have stayed safe long enough. We must now move towards social recovery. This phase usually occurs within four to six weeks of a disaster where people feel that lessons have been learnt on how to take care of themselves either through hand washing and social distancing. However, the biggest concern for businesses and projects is how to initiate broken linkages with clients and beneficiaries. If these entities fail to act at this time, they tread a dangerous path of collapse. Remember, most businesses and organisations rarely have the capital and funds that can sustain them for more than a couple of months.

Organisations require to rescue and stabilise their businesses' fortune. They need workable plan that will help them reconnect with their clients and map ways of rebuilding relationships and developing products that are friendly to the current situation. It is important to note that only entities that add value, survive tough times, because they climb up their client's priority ranks. These entities must resist all temptations to follow the crowds. There is an old adage; “there is no wisdom in crowds”.

DEVELOPMENT

This phase is unavoidable, once an organisation manages to re-establish itself among its clients. This is marked by an organisation's ability to consistently reach out and supply to the needs of its clients to an extent that old and new networks are fully established and even flourishing. The organisation needs to keep doing things the right way .

RESILIENCE

Doing things, the same way while expecting different results is the way of failures. There is no disputing the fact that Covid-19 is not the last pandemic to occur in our lifetime, and if it were, other emergencies will be lurking somewhere in the unknown future. The best gift that organisations can give themselves, is better disaster preparedness. There are many ways to building an organisation's resilience to disasters and emergencies. The first line of response in this area is usually a food insurance policy. However, I urge development and refining of emergency and disaster management strategic plans that encompass a solid a business continuity plan and a resilience contingency fund among other measures.

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