Covid 19 - Your Exit Strategy

Covid 19 - Your Exit Strategy

Undoubtedly insolvency practitioners are set to be amongst the few grim beneficiaries of the Corona Virus epidemic. If you don’t want your company or business to add to their good fortune you need to plan strategically and work hard to ensure your survival. You’ll need to –

Government Help Make sure you take advantage of all the Government help schemes including, rate relief, VAT and PAYE deferment, the staff furlough scheme and a Covid bank loan and other finance facilities available. If you have not already, it’s worth putting together a quick cash flow budget to work out your break even point and estimate your funding shortfall. If after all the above there is still a shortfall, contact your suppliers to negotiate a repayment schedule. Better now than on the court steps!

Marketing activities – The best time for marketing is when you’re mad busy and struggling to cope with demand. That is when your customers are at their most receptive. If despite the pressures you can set aside time for marketing activities the rewards and responses will give amazing ROI (return on investment).

The least effective time to market your services is when you’re quiet. You will be fighting an uphill battle, trying to sell to the uninterested which can be quite disheartening. An even worse time to market your services is during a pandemic.

That is not to say there is no need to bother. There is nothing wrong with making a few calls a day to customers to see how they are coping, a chat and a wish you well. That way you will be at the front of their minds in better times. A better idea is plan a market campaign ready to launch immediately business starts to pick up – and it will.

Marketing is about broadcasting your message to as many relevant people as you possibly can. The message should highlight –

  • Your strengths and unique selling points (USPs)
  • Expertise with tips, hints and what to look for and avoid. Look like a consultant and invite problems to solve
  • Recommends and endorsements
  • A guarantee, what you do for customers who are not delighted.

Two effective ways to broadcast are email and social media. Adverts are too expensive when cash is scarce. An excellent free email broadcaster is mailchimp Using their platform you can send either pictorial or text emails. Putting together a template is a bit daunting for the total novice but easy enough to pick up with help from YouTube webinars. Once you have a template, you’ll need to put together a database of customers and potential customers. Go through your email inbox and copy and paste email addresses, first names, full names and companies into Excel. Then go hunting for more addresses from company websites (note: generic addresses like sales@ enquiries@ etc are not permitted on mailchimp.) Your LinkedIn contacts is another good source. Save the spreadsheet as a .CSV file and you’re ready to launch.

Keep your emails interesting and informative to your audience, avoid blatant sales and don’t bombard, mailchimp has an unsubscribe facility. Be aware of GDPR regulations which prevents you from contacting Joe Public or sole traders without first obtaining their permission but generally to speak limited companies are outside of the regulations.

Back to YouTube, there’s a plethora of webinars on marketing through social media platforms and again, building an audience. Time well spent.

Structure

Now would be a good time to review your all your procedures including quotations and estimates, order confirmations, stage payment valuations, extras, sign offs and satisfaction sheets. Think back to all the problems you can remember where customers have ‘gotten away’ without paying by exploiting loopholes in your systems and paperwork. Now is the time for a re-design.

Planning a re-Start

For the jobs that are on hold and need completing you’ll need guys on site ready to start. Sadly, some of your competitors may not make it through this crisis so expect and prepare for increased numbers of urgent tenders.

During the next few weeks you will need to recruit and have in place guys and gangs that are ready to start. It is likely to be akin to the selection process of the school football team where two captains pick the best players and work their way down. Time spent recruiting, checking out references, past performances and other key indicators. If you want the cream of the crop now is the best time to begin a recruitment drive. One good place start is our Facebook group FlooringjobsUK. There’s 3,150 floorers looking for flooring contractors and flooring contractors looking for subbies. If you haven’t already join in by clicking on the Contracts & Jobs tab. You’ll need to answer questions to gain entry.

Finally

Make sure you have the floor preparation equipment you need ordered in good time. We have a huge depth and range of floor grinders, concrete polishers and scabblers, push along, self-propelled and ride on floor scrapers, screed and concrete sanders, screed mixers, breakers and hand tools as well as flooring contractors’ consumables and accessories at below distributors’ prices. However, it is not limitless, so please plan carefully and book as far ahead as you feasibly can.

With luck we’ll get through this. Like the saying goes though, ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get.’ Bless you, and please remember if we can help, we will.