In the latest episode of our Business Noodles & Doodles podcast, Mark Greaves talks to Steve Oxford, managing director and fourth-generation baker at Oxford’s Bakery, an…
It is likely that every business is now feeling in a state of flux – whether you are struggling to keep the business going and to re-invent yourselves, or you have a company that is booming but you’re trying to keep up with demand.
What can be certain is that 99% of businesses are having to rewrite their business plans as the world has totally changed in the space of just a couple of months. The initial panic of the Covid-19 situation seems to be receding but now it’s imperative that businesses look to how they will evolve into the new ‘normal’.
So what should a family (and indeed any other) business be considering at the moment?
- Go back to basics
In very simple terms, start with a blank piece of paper and map out the plans for the future of the business. Does the existing business model work? What changes are realistic and could be put in place? Are there other ways that you can deliver your products or services to your customers? How do these scenarios work if your business stays in lockdown at varying levels for 2 months, 4 months or further?
- Talk, talk, talk
Don’t do it all by yourself. Now more than ever before, it’s important that we communicate well with family members and others in the business. We’re all getting used to a new way of working and not being able to see our colleagues as we would normally do. Don’t just think of formal meetings – make sure that you chat about the business in an informal way and to canvas opinion from those closest to you who this is also likely to be having an effect on.
- Understand your customer base
Look at who your customers are. How can you encourage more loyalty and repeat custom from them? Has your customer base changed if you have diversified your offering in recent months?
- Reassess your priorities
Your short term priorities are likely to be very different now to what they were just a few months ago. Look at your priorities and reassess them – what needs to change? What impact do these changes have on other members of the family business? Is this the time to carry out a review of remuneration strategies that could provide financial support to the business?
- Evaluate how your plans may have to change
Are all family members still aligned on what they want the business to achieve for the longer term or do discussions need to take place to consider re-evaluating these? It may be that owners were looking to retire in the next couple of years and pass the business on to the next generation. How does the current crisis affect these plans? Has wealth been lost from the business which was to facilitate an exit strategy?
We understand that this can be a very unsettling time and we are here to help, even if it’s just as a sounding board to help chat through the options that are available to you. We work with family businesses of all sizes, from all industries across the South West and have a wealth of experience in this key sector.
When we work with our clients, we use our own advisory platform, Family Business Connect. With over 350 areas that our advisers have the ability to discuss with a family business we look forward to being able to work through Family Business Connect in a structured way, depending on their own individual circumstances.
Get in touch today to see how Family Business Connect can make a difference to you and your business.