Updated: Nov 17, 2020
5 Things to Inventory in a Time of Crisis
By Dax Kimbrough
The rapid onset of the pandemic gave us little time to prepare, but we will most likely be living with COVID-19 for the next 12-18 months and it’s time to inventory your business to confirm you have the tools, resources, skills, and connections you need to weather the storm.
Evaluating the tools you currently have at your disposal is critical. It is important to rethink the situation with an openness to doing things differently and how you can begin to create the future of your business through a different lens. If you are in a car accident, your first thoughts are, “Am I OK? Are my passengers OK?” Personal safety is paramount and you can worry about the insurance later. By comparison, we’re in the insurance part of the accident.
Here are the 5 key business resources to inventory:
First, look at your entire financial picture. There may be some debt and assets on your books, but hold off on those for now. Your key metric is cash on hand, to determine a “Cash Runway”. Your runway shows you how much cash you need to survive for the foreseeable future and also allows you to look at different scenarios that may include staff changes, loans, etc.
With financials in mind, draw out a timeline of how much time you have with the cash you have on hand. Look at a calendar and make key dates for key decisions (staff layoffs, loan applications/loan acceptance, etc.)
Once you have a sense of your general financial situation, start to look at your staff with some critical thought. What staff members do I need to survive and thrive? It may be necessary to eliminate staff, but alternatively think about which of your staff members are the most versatile and who can generate the most value for the company in the near term. If deeper financial cuts are necessary, determine which of your staff members are the most versatile and who can generate the most value for the company for the near term.
For businesses that have office space, quickly determine what space you need and do not need—either reallocate or vacate. In the time of COVID-19, office space will be a challenge. Look for interior designers that can help reconfigure your space for health and safety to comply with state, county and local guidelines. And for those working from home (either always or recently), think about your space and how you would plan for efficiency, reduced costs, etc.
Almost everyone you know is in a similar situation and lines of communication have never been more open. Write down your key advisors, key friends with businesses, vendors, etc. This is the core group of people that you can call, commiserate, console, and most importantly counsel and be counseled on all the critical decisions being made right now. You may feel isolated, but you are NOT alone.