I never would have thought that my first year as a partner would have involved a pandemic. Not only do I empathize with my clients and other business owners that are having similar (sometimes way more) challenging discussions, I am thankful to be able to be at the table with my other partners discussing these important decisions. It seems the top questions coming up right now (internally and externally) are:
- When do we come back to “normal” work? Some companies have a lot more options than others- especially considering the functionality of remote work. Obviously, this is partially government led but there are a lot of decisions to be made by the company. Even if remote work has been working effectively, what about the office rent you are paying and the team feeling of being in the office? If you do go back, what about the chance of employees getting sick or not feeling safe? Plus, the varying considerations of public transportation before even getting to the office, use of common areas at the office, requiring everyone to wear masks, and childcare considerations for those who have no other options and are productive with their little ones at home. I have no advice for anyone other than Be Safe (any advice is welcomed)!
What decisions should we make regarding cost cutting? Some companies have seen significantly more decline in revenue than others which effects more the need to cost cut. But even if things seem normal there is the uncertainty of the what is to come. This is a good time to look at personnel and various other cuts that you have been debating. Do a detailed dive into your nonpayroll costs and make sure the company is seeing the value. Some line items such as travel and entertainment will naturally decrease. If there are recurring expenses that you aren’t utilizing during this time, make sure those get cancelled.
- What does our business need to invest in? If your company is feeling confident about weathering the downturn, you may be able to get some pretty good deals to set you up for the future. A lot of companies are providing deals and discounts abound, so this may be an opportunistic time to invest in capital expenditures. Also, valuable employees may have to be let go from competitors or forced to take pay cuts which could be opportunity for your business to get some really great people.
- How do we stay connected? Microsoft TEAMS, Zoom, and other virtual platforms have gone from rarely, or never, used to invaluable tools, necessary to run a business. For staff that have been enabling companies to survive remotely, we as leaders must make sure to show our appreciation and keep company culture alive. For our clients and other business connections that we are used to seeing regularly, we must try to add value to them in any way we can, while continuing to find ways to connect. If possible to safely do so, to actually get together - golf courses are now open…
It will be interesting to see how this pandemic will finally come to an end. I hope that everyone I know – personally and professionally - is able to weather this and come out stronger!