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  • Writer's picturePeter Wesley

COVID Bun Fight - Where do I start?

The quick and dirty for the busy business operator I finished my last article with this quote “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face” Mike Tyson

We all just got hit in the face. The only certainty at the moment is uncertainty. Everything is changing quickly and will continue to do so.

Most businesses have started to implement plans to address the health and safety risks in their business and our government is off to a shaky start, starting to get serious about managing the movement of people and assisting with financial help.

Let’s not forget the reality of what we’re dealing with. We will lose lives to this virus, we are all in it together and we will get through it together. Thank you to the Health Workers, Teachers, Carers, Public Servants, Defence Force, Police, Firefighters and Volunteers who are all in harm's way, being exposed to the virus - Heros!

So now it’s all getting a bit real, I can’t help but revert to some basic training Army style. Before every exercise or operation, a soldier will brief his or her team before anything starts. Sometimes there’s not much time to plan so the Army came up with a simple framework to brief a team on a mission. It’s called SMEAC.

SITUATION - What are dealing with? MISSION - What are we trying to achieve? EXECUTION - How are we going to achieve our goal? ADMIN - What supplies, tools, etc do we need COMMAND AND CONTROL - Who is in charge? How do we communicate?

We’re in a bit of a hurry here for a lot of businesses. Some businesses have had their income completely turned off or their workforce completely disrupted so we can do with any short cuts we can get. Here’s my SMEAC brief that I hope can help a few people who may still be thinking WTF? Where do I start? Use this framework and do your own, engage your team, I would have missed loads of stuff but it gives you a place to start.

SITUATION

  • Pandemic = crisis

  • Income - could be gone completely today or potential disruption 

  • Cash will be tight - everywhere

  • Workforce - expect disruptions

  • Suppliers - disrupted - expect delays and price increases

  • Many businesses may not recover

  • Staff - scared, they will need you to help

  • Family and friends will be nervous

  • You will feel overwhelmed and stressed

MISSION

  • Safety of staff

  • Survival of the business

  • Protection of Assets (Business and Personal)

EXECUTION People

  • Health and Safety - keep everyone safe

  • Restructure if you need and do it fast

  • Support your staff where you can 

Operations

  • Check with your suppliers 

  • Review current work pipeline and commitments

  • Review all contracts that will be affected

Customer

  • Is there any other product or service I can offer

  • What else does our customer need now

  • Inform them about what you are offering and what you are doing and let them know you’re still in business.

Financial

  • Cash Cash Cash - check your cash flow forecast

  • If you have a home loan - consider fixing your rate with the current low rates

  • Chase your debtors - squeaky wheel gets oiled (or paid) 

  • Stop all unnecessary spending - review everything

  • Banks - if you have debt talk to the lender - if you need funding, talk to your business banker

  • Creditors/Payables - me smart here, slow your payments where you can

  • Are you holding deposits? Consider these liabilities

  • Landlord - talk to them now and get a rent break - they are better off having around in 6 months time

  • Government Assistance - find out what you are entitled to - it’s changing daily - https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

  • Change to Monthly BAS if you are on Quarterly 

  • Tax - apply for a 6-month deferral of your next tax payable - BUT make sure you lodge and you pay the employee super.

Asset Protection

  • You - protect yourself - be kind to yourself and look after your body, you are going to need it. Stress management does not come in a 6 pack :)

  • Your wealth - think before you act, get advice before you do anything 

  • Avoid Liquidation - it’s all over after that

  • Directors liabilities and insolvency rules have changed for 6 months

ADMIN Legal

  • Letters to creditors and debtors

  • Negotiating leases and contracts

Accounting

  • Cash Management

  • Corporate Structure

  • Insolvency advice

Document everything 

  • Meeting minutes 

  • Cash flow models 

  • Agreements with anyone about payment due dates

COMMAND AND CONTROL COVID-19 Team

  • Internal and external - who’s on your team - Accountant? Advisor? 

  • Meet or talk to them regularly

  • Build a Task List - assign actions

Communications

  • Keep an ear out for updates from the government and industry bodies

  • Inform your staff what is happening 

  • Talk to your customers




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