Business leader, philanthropist and best-selling author Aaron Sansoni shares a six-step recovery plan that aims to help struggling Australian businesses bounce back from the negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses big and small have been pushed to their limits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In an attempt to keep businesses and the economy alive, the government issued stimulus packages, tax relief, increased JobSeeker payments, enabled early access to superannuation and created JobKeeper.
Needless to say, there has never been a more important time to take control of your business. While you can’t control the chaos, you can find stability within it. Six simple steps can lead towards a road of not only keeping the doors open, but building an empire for the future.
STAGE ONE: RESPOND
Businesses should have already switched from defence to offence. Now is the time to protect your business, yourself and employees. Review above and below the line costs. Negotiate, delay, cut back and remove every possible line. Access stimulus and grants from federal, state and local government. Apply for JobKeeper and if required, a government-backed loan. Create a business response plan, then communicate with your customers, team, suppliers, creditors and landlord. Finally, implement a routine that will not only serve your needs but lead you and your team through the crisis. Leading with resilience and optimism is equally as important as a strong strategic plan. Run before the race starts, respond now before everyone else follows.
STAGE TWO: SURVIVE
Do whatever it takes to keep your business alive; investigate expanding your income and look for the small wins. Innovate, pivot and go online. Tweak your current offering, create another business and repurpose your staff or create a similar or brand- new product.
Many retail brands reacted to the sudden shutdown of their physical stores by offering immediate free delivery with no minimum purchase across Australia. While this innovation won’t completely transform these businesses, it will make up for in-store losses.
Pivoting will allow you to transform your product or service. Several small distilleries switched from making alcohol to hand sanitiser by utilising existing products and infrastructure. With most of Australia indoors and at home, taking your business online is a sensible strategy. The health and fitness industry who weren’t already online quickly adapted with many enjoying a new customer base. Try, test, measure, then adopt what works for your business.
STAGE THREE: STABILISE
In essence, now is the time to balance and steady the ship. By now you should be aware of what you are entitled to in terms of government, state and municipal support. Assess your income and work out basic projections. Reflect on stage two and how you can pivot your business for new income. In short, stagnant in your business. Create a clear strategy, find your new break-even, create monthly goals for the next 6-12 months, then go back to your business response plan and adjust accordingly.
Use the money you do have for marketing, branding and growing. Be resourceful and leverage off the people around you who can help. If you don’t think your business can pivot to fit a different niche, partner with someone who can.
STAGE FOUR: RECOVER
There are three stages of reopening as Australia comes out of economic hibernation. Your business should plan accordingly for each and strive for the ‘bank’ zone. Identify what your customers want, where your competition does not excel and where your business does. The ‘bank’ zone is what should spearhead your marketing, branding and sales efforts, and is the point where you are cash positive within the business.
While you are recovering, you need to think about taking action to futureproof your business so you’re ahead of the game if and when something like this happens again. The issue that we faced when the pandemic hit is that businesses were too rigid in their game plan, which meant they weren’t able to pivot and transform fast enough. Don’t get caught in the crossfire and become stagnant in your business. Create a clear strategy road map for the next 30 days and review this every month. Don’t just recover; grow.
STAGE FIVE: GROWTH
Reflect on how far you have come and identify what is working right now. Confidence comes from results and success, and once you have pinpointed where this is, double down on it.
Look to self; exercise, eat clean, meditate and create the kind of energy that will accelerate you ahead even better than before.
Leverage off your bank zone and use this income to put into your ‘war chest’, before investing this back into what I call the ‘war zone’ – a place in your industry that you are good at, your competitors are good at, and your customers want. Invest into the war zone to take more market share from your competitors.
If you are wanting to grow bigger and more robust than you were pre-COVID, leverage off the advice of a coach, mentor or adviser. The businesses that are surviving are the ones who are constantly learning and have used this valuable time to gain knowledge from a mentor or adviser, and used their learnings to implement their new short-term and long-term strategies. You don’t have to do this alone. If you are struggling to find your turning point to grow out of this pandemic, invest in the business experts around you.
In the words of Warren Buffett, “Invest when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.”
STAGE SIX: EMPIRE
Now is the time to not only survive, but thrive. The most successful businesses have multiple streams of income and multiple businesses. In short, they have built an empire. Every business has the ability to create several streams of income, which diversifies the impact of challenges such as coronavirus or a recession. By creating an empire you are futureproofing your business against another crisis.
One of the most important priorities for successful people is understanding the principle of leverage. Technological advances and globalisation have Technological advances and globalisation have impacted how business is conducted. Kayla Itsines and Toby Pearce were early adopters and have built a fortune amassing over $696 million. They have built an empire in the health and fitness industry with the added bonus of working from home. Kayla is a social media influencer, the duo created the running app Sweat and an online workout program.
Putting this into perspective, Fitness First Australia is worth an estimated $800 million and are currently unable to operate at full capacity. There has never been a better time to create an empire. While some businesses are closing their doors, others are looking to futureproof with multiple income streams. If you already have your own existing business, creating more businesses and income streams is actually a somewhat simple and profitable strategy. With competitors dropping like flies, now is the time to take the plunge and ascend to your empire.