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Business ‘R’ Rate

Strategies to get your business back on track during uncertain times

Managing the R Rate – Strategies to get your business back on track during uncertain times is a series of insights by Mark Harris from The Business Company aimed at company owner/manager/directors.  The series acknowledges five integrated strategic threads that all organisations are facing, and how they can implement them within their business to accelerate a successful transformation as we move through the next phase of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

2020 – COVID 19 and the year of unprecedented uncertainty – If we are not moving towards a depression, we are undoubtably facing the worst recession that this country has seen in the last 50 years. Organisations of all sizes in all sectors find themselves precariously positioned as the world continues its fight against Covid-19.  Businesses are worried about the economic fallout and the financial impact of months of inactivity, and most are now operating in completely uncharted territory whilst experiencing a new and very real fear factor, for the future of their own businesses and the wider economy.

Large-scale job losses are being announced daily in all sectors of the economy, and Government research has identified that employers do not anticipate nearly 50% of furloughed employees to return to work. If you turn that into hard numbers, that equates to around 3.8 million people. Many business owners are fearing they are going to be sucked into a vacuum. They are going to have to adapt quickly to survive.  Change is already difficult for a lot of organisations, they get into a routine with inherent cultures, systems and processes and having to change, adapt, and develop new working practices is difficult.  When there is a lack of certainty over the economy, this fear of change is amplified.

The BBC has reported that there is a tsunami of debt-laden firms, referred to as “zombie companies” that are functioning day-to-day but don’t have the means to pay off the full debt they owe or access funds to invest and grow. These businesses are on a cliff edge as the support initiatives such as job retention, tax deferrals – the £160bn government business support package – comes to an end. 

There may have been issues within some businesses anyway, so now is the time for business leaders to ask themselves these questions; which way do I turn and what do I do, in my capacity for my business? 

Remember, everyone is worried. Uncertainty is scary, as humans, we want and need security. Entire teams of people will be nervous for their future and the future of the business they work for. This uncertain state can make people depressed and cause anxiety. As businesses start to reopen, that depression and anxiety may be a block to the way back. There’s also likely to be a myriad of complex social problems, borne about out of the pandemic. Employers are having to wrestle with a whole plethora of issues. 

Businesses who were struggling pre-Covid, may be unfortunately postponing the inevitable. My experience (over four recessions), has shown clearly that those business leaders that adopt a pro-active and pragmatic approach to the current challenges, can not only survive, but they can thrive. By conducting a structured business review to include the revised market landscape, customer base, key competitors, impact on the current business and then by developing clear objectives for your business in the short term, leaders can give themselves some building blocks and some structure to alleviate those fears that they may have.

We’ve heard so much about the ‘R Rate’ and supressing the ‘R Rate’ and every business owner/manager/director should be starting to evaluate their own business against what I see as 5 Rs, a series of insights aimed at company owner/manager/directors.  The series acknowledges five integrated strategic threads that all organisations are facing, and how they can be implemented within businesses to accelerate a successful transformation through the next phase of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

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