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Current circumstances have severely disrupted business operations around the world. Many countries have imposed bans in varying degrees, restricting movement locally and internationally. Add to this the fact that the markets (stocks, futures, bonds, etc.) in many countries are extremely volatile and companies around the world are facing an unprecedented situation in terms of both current and potential impact on future operations.
Still, business has to go on in one form or another. While some industries are harder hit than others, all companies need to take proactive steps to minimize the negative impact of this crisis and to assert themselves better on the other side. Here are three main areas where action is needed now.
Regardless of whether the contracts are with suppliers, customers, partners or other third parties, there is a higher probability that contractual terms will be violated due to all disruptions that occur. These violations are dangerous as they can create a ripple effect and potentially affect business operations. For example, if a supplier does not provide the material you need to manufacture your products for onward delivery to customers to whom you are contractually bound.
At this point, it is important to get in touch with anyone with whom you have a contract to confirm their status and whether they can proceed. You may also be the party that your contract side cannot perform. So have an experienced lawyer review all of your contracts to see exactly what your obligations are in each contract.
Depending on the type of contract and the impact the pandemic has on your business operations, you may be able to use force majeure to relieve your company of potential liability. For the purposes of Cornell University, it is a "customary provision in a contract that releases both parties from their obligation if an exceptional event prevents one or both parties from performing". However, be sure to get a professional opinion before taking any action on this as some conditions are met, such as: B. Efforts to mitigate the disruption and timely notification.
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2. Remote work
Employees are the lifeblood of any company, and their safety, satisfaction and productivity are the keys to success. Depending on where you work, there may already be restrictions that require you to allow your employees to work from home or give them paid vacation. Compliance is important and as soon as possible.
"Aside from complying with the law, failure to take the appropriate measures to protect your employees during the pandemic can also incur liability for negligence and illnesses your employees may suffer from," said Simon Lai, CEO of Vaporesso, a company with more than 10,000 employees: “Still, make sure your industry or company is listed under the essential services exemption, or apply to open so you can change your business and move forward. When you return to the office, you need to make sure that you make fundamental changes beyond the minimum standards set by the government to promote employee health, even if it means redesigning the office space. Most of our meetings have been postponed online, including global workshops that we used to travel the world to attend. "
To get the most out of remote work, organize a tutorial for your employees and use video conferencing software to hold meetings. You may also want to use a time tracking app to make sure your employees are working properly. However, this should be the final result as it can often lead to resentment.
3. Fluctuations in sales
Unless your business is powered by people who spend a lot of time indoors (e.g. Netflix), you will likely have to deal with a decline in sales as a result of the pandemic.
Many companies are trying to reverse this trend by offering discounts to their customers. However, this may not be the best idea, especially in the long run. Nobody really knows how long these lockdowns will last. Discounting your prices now can create a downward spiral where you will begin to compete on the basis of price alone with companies doing the same thing, as highlighted in this research report from KPMG.
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A better strategy, summed up by Landon Dash, CEO of Vapocorner, is to improve your marketing game. "It's a much better approach of communicating the value of your products and services, adding new bonuses, and relaxing your terms (ex. Return policy) rather than directly lowering the price." You should also focus on building your sales system through virtual training and mentoring so they can better leverage the technology to generate more sales without sacrificing your brand equity. "