How Are CEOs Responding To The Coronavirus Impact?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, CEO’s are quickly coming to grips with the fact that business will be anything but normal for the next few quarters.

According to a global survey released on Tuesday from the Young President’s Organization (YPO) 82% of business leaders expect declines in revenue over the next six months. Note that the survey was done March 10-13, 2020 – just ahead of increased restrictions and closures.

Although no one can fully predict the extent of this disruption, there is high likelihood of substantial revenue decline for many businesses. While everyone is at risk, smaller businesses with tighter cash flow are likely to be hit much harder.

As a CEO or business owner, it’s critical to be out in front of this with an aggressive plan of possible actions based on how different scenarios might unfold. Waiting and watching is the absolute worst thing you can do.

Here is a snapshot of what some CEO’s are implementing.

Taking Bold Action – Now Rather Than Later

One of the first steps we recommend is to appoint a senior team that is focused on all aspects of the crisis. This requires daily meetings and an agile approach to making both short- and long-term decisions, as new information arrives daily.

Clearly the #1 priority for everyone is the health and safety of employees and clients, which will include your remote working strategy.

But it’s equally important to sit down and take a look at the possible impact to your business. A plan should be drawn up for stabilizing operations, defending against revenue declines, and in general building contingency plans for all aspects of the business.

It’s far better to prepare for the worst and be thankful it doesn’t happen, vs. a “wait and see” approach.

Communication is Key

Frequent and transparent communication both internally and externally is crucial. It’s up to leadership to be the model of calm for employees and customers, and far better to over-communicate with full transparency than to remain quiet.

We are currently using video collaboration tools (Microsoft Teams and Zoom) for our mandatory daily team huddles, which not only includes senior management meetings but also all of our downstream teams.

As CEO, I provide a daily update to the entire company over email each morning, and we have a small team dedicated to pushing out weekly updates to clients, over both email and social media channels.

Building trust, opening up lines of communication and sharing information with clients is especially crucial during this time, including proactively communicating any potential impacts or delays.

Currently, a good deal of my day is spent speaking directly with clients and employees, as emotions are running extremely high on all sides.

Adjusting to the New Way of Working

One of the major impacts that we are all experiencing is the disruption to the way business is being conducted. The necessity of remote communications was thrust upon many with very short notice, sending businesses scrambling to ensure they had the right technology in place.

As an IT services and consulting company that provides critical technology support to hundreds of businesses, we’ve always had a business continuity plan in place to prepare for this type of scenario. We’ve been fortunate that all has worked as planned, but even we have had to make spur of the moment adjustments to handle the dramatic increase of technology support requests.

Many of the businesses we support felt they were prepared for remote working. However, it turns out having a couple of employees work the odd day from home is vastly different from having the entire office work remotely – with very short notice.

Companies that are 100% cloud-based tend to have fewer issues than those that still need to access on-premises servers, which require VPN or RDS technologies for security reasons.

However, there are still many short-term challenges that our clients are running into, from slow home networks to lack of hardware, not to mention simply learning a new way of working and communicating.

Please give ACCi a call if you have questions regarding working remotely:  205-987-8711