Helping your business to navigate uncertain times
Businesses across the world have been impacted by the current situation – print, sign and graphics suppliers among them. The extremity of the situation may have been exacerbated by the suddenness of the introduction of isolation guidelines, giving you little time to prepare. In these uncertain times, we are here and here is some advice to consider.
Prioritise your people
Your number-one priority will be the health of your business's staff and their families – and yours. Your team, your customers and everyone you do business with, will understand and appreciate you not taking risks at this time. It's also essential to keep everyone in your team updated with any changes.
Stay calm and think
It may seem that choices must be made quickly to keep your business afloat, but try to stay calm and think over decisions carefully. Use all the information about your operations before making changes to staff or operations. Many people in our industry will recall the global financial crisis of 2007-2008; what experiences can you take from that? How do you think businesses and brands could have handled things better? How are other people handling this situation now? Spend some time considering the bigger picture.
Know your position
Take some time to gather all the financial information about your business. How much money do you have in the bank? What are your monthly expenses – salaries, overheads, rent? How much are you expecting to come in from completed work, or to go out to suppliers? This total is your working capital; divide the figure by your monthly break-even point to see how many months your business can continue as it is. You may have been saving for a rainy day and think you will be comfortable for several months, or you may feel the number is low. Either way, this knowledge will help you make decisions.
Ask for help
Many governments around the world are providing financial assistance to employers; could you take advantage of this? Could your landlord or mortgage provider agree a payment holiday? Could you reduce your overheads by negotiating with your suppliers? No-one wants to lose business and the government doesn't want to see people out of work. Remember this when considering your financial position. In addition, don't underestimate the importance of advice, from official channels, your suppliers, your industry contemporaries, your friends. There is information available to help.
Talk with your customers and plan for now
Continue to engage with your customers. Don’t stop answering the phone or disappear from social media: your network needs to know you are open for business. Importantly, your customers can tell you what they want, and need, now. Your typical bread-and-butter work may have declined but are there other products and services you could offer? Your printing equipment – and your team – is likely to be flexible enough to cater for new and changing demands. If you can introduce a discount programme or implement a sales strategy to keep sales going, fantastic – but make sure it's offering what your customers need. Talk to us about potential vertical markets and how you could diversify.
Plan for the future
We don't know how long the current situation will last but people are naturally optimistic. We love to look ahead, to make plans for the future. Use this opportunity to sell work for when things return to normal: seasonal promotions, exhibitions, school terms, festivals, sports events. When the situation does improve it may do so suddenly, so be ready. Many businesses may be considering reducing their sales and marketing people, but these will be essential on day one of normality. Spend efficiently in these areas now, but make sure they are primed for when the time comes.
We Are Here
Roland is here to inspire you with webinars, how-tos, FAQs and examples of our favourite applications. And, at the right time, we'll be here to invigorate the industry with exciting new technology and ideas.