Everyone is wondering what to do during these tough times, how to survive the coming weeks, maybe even months. It is hard to find one universal solution because we don’t really know what tomorrow will bring. So we have decided at Grant Thornton to think about the things we definitely should not do at this time.
Here’s our list:
1. DO NOT put a stop on all business operations – this is a difficult time, but it can also be a time of new opportunities, opening up new ways of operating, e.g. online. It is a time to turn your creative switch on; perhaps you had never considered taking advantage of the Internet and remote work in your business, and now is the perfect time to do so.
2. DO NOT stop payments to your contractors – doing so will very quickly lead to payment backlogs and stop all cash flows in the economy. For businesses facing a drop in revenues, additional withholding of due payments will be tantamount to a declaration of bankruptcy.
3. DO NOT stick rigidly to old procedures – this is not a standard situation, so we should not look to existing procedures for solutions. At this time, you should approach procedures with flexibility, creativity, and most of all common sense. The situation is changing dynamically, so we too should be able to make decisions accordingly and respond to the circumstances around us.
4. DO NOT change payment terms cutting off manufacturers from regular supplies – this is a difficult time for all enterprises, but it will be even harder if we impose sudden changes in business relations. If you demand prepayments instead of the credit terms accepted to date, it will only aggravate the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
5. DO NOT use the current market situation to push up prices – the current circumstances do not justify hiking prices. Of course, this rule should apply to all links in the supply chain, as it is an interconnected system. If prices of materials go up, the final product may cost several times more. Such a chain reaction in combination with pay cuts contemplated by many businesses may plunge the economy into an even deeper crisis.
6. DO NOT use aggressive collection methods or enforce contractual provisions to the letter – the circumstances call for unorthodox solutions. We do not know the actual extent of the impact on the business financial results, because we do not know how long it will take to deal with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Let’s refrain from drastic decisions, and give businesses a moment to respond and adapt to the new situation.
7. DO NOT lay off staff or impose amendments to employment contracts – in many enterprises orders are down, some businesses have generated no revenues at all in the past week, and there are no prospects for improvement in the weeks to come. It is good to remember, though, that the crisis will pass in the end, but it will be hard to rebuild trust in the community and attract trained and tried workers. You may be better off talking to people and trying to find a compromise between the employer and the employee. We should all show some understanding for one another at this time.
8. DO NOT insist on only accepting paper documents or face-to-face meetings – new technologies offer numerous possibilities for working remotely. Most businesses had already started adjusting to employee expectations and lifestyles some time ago, transitioning to home-office arrangements, use of e-documents, and video conferencing instead of physical meetings. Perhaps you can treat the current situation as an impulse to embrace new technologies, hold your first video conference, or apply for your first e-guarantee. We do not know how long these extraordinary circumstances will last, so it is better to start thinking about change now. If these solutions work out, you stand to achieve long-term benefits by cutting down on your office overheads.
9. DO NOT underestimate IT system security in remote work – many of us are now working remotely, but it is imperative that our business partners can rely on robust cybersecurity measures protecting their data at home equally as at work. Your customers need to be sure that none of the submitted data can fall into the wrong hands. Let’s keep everyone secure.
10. DO NOT ignore the latest legislation – the Polish government is trying to address the adverse conditions with its Anti-Crisis Shield. By keeping abreast of the changes, you can take advantage of the available support measures. Of course, one can hardly expect that entrepreneurs struggling for every bit of revenue will find the time to follow updates as they appear. But help is available, including that from Grant Thornton advisers, who do their best to give you the key information in a comprehensible way on a daily basis.
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