With governments starting to ease Covid-19 restrictions it’s important to have a plan for returning your professional services practice back to normal.
That plan can’t and shouldn’t just be getting everyone back in the office for a return to how you did things pre Covid-19.
I read a great LinkedIn article by Keith Ferrazzi titled Let’s Never Go Back to Work. Let’s Go Forward. Keith says Covid-19 forced us to adopt new ways of operating – quickly and radically. He says it is the paradigm shift in team working behaviours and practices his firm’s research has been calling for.
For financial services and law firms there will be changes you have made that you will want to keep. Although we have flattened the curve, there will and should be continued social distancing regulations that prevent your firm from just going back to the same old ways. There is no guarantee that we are rid of Covid-19 or a similar virus from disrupting business and society again.
All of this means you need to be working on a plan for returning to the “new normal”. What does that look like?
Your plan should cover four areas – strategy, operations, HR and business development. It’s those businesses who are on the front foot that are most likely to survive. View it as an opportunity to change your practice to be more profitable and sustainable.
Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for business planning and strategy setting to be more fluid and agile. Five year plans are passé. Contingency plans and bigger picture strategy planning needs to happen frequently and planning for recovery needs to be more of a ‘dial’ than a ‘switch’ to ensure a smooth path and flexibility maintained.
You need a strategic planning session now where you analyse the lessons learned from the pandemic experience – what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well? Set contingency plans to assist if the virus returns, or a similar disruption occurs, what would you do differently?
Are your current services all profitable in the new paradigm? Are there new services you can be offering in new ways? Did your systems and procedures stand up to the new way of working and what long term changes need to be made?
If your office has closed, you may not be able to simply reopen and bring everyone back. Will you need to have half of your staff working in the office at one time? This is important in case a staff member does contract the virus. Your whole workforce is then not at risk.
At a basic level, hygiene measures, including the provision of hand sanitiser and cleaning, will continue to be important and an increased cost centre for your firm.
Cost control will be more important than ever for most firms, particularly as Government business subsidies wind back. Now is the time to look at where you can reduce overheads and remove costs out of systems and procedures.
Some of your staff will be desperate to return to the office. Others, including those with family responsibilities or long commutes, may be keen to continue working from home.
For some firms, new ways of working and reduced client income, may mean you do not need as many staff. You need to prepare for that and work out the best way to manage that difficult process. Be cautious in jumping straight to redundancies, which can be costly. Can you move staff to different roles or areas of working? You don’t want to lose skilled staff to competitors only to find you need them again and have to pay to recruit and onboard replacements.
Ensure you understand the federal and state industrial laws, and how they may impact your business. There have been many changes pertinent to Covid-19 regulations. You need someone or a process to stay ahead of those new HR management rules.
How will you continue that caring, empathetic, team focussed culture that was hopefully adopted during the response to the pandemic threat? Staff conferences and traditional team building activities are probably a thing of the past so find other ways to celebrate success and get buy-in to business goals. Conversely, what meetings and other events did you previously have which the pandemic showed were not needed? Be transparent with your staff while maintaining a strong and resilient culture.
Did your staff need mental health or similar support? Was your Employee Assistance Program provider up to the task? If you don’t have an EAP, do you now need one?
I am a big believer that cutting marketing is often short-sighted. As you emerge from Covid-19 restrictions it is vital that you connect with clients and gain new clients. Don’t wait for them to come back to you. You need to tell clients how you have changed for the better to meet their needs because your competitors will be doing so.
Understand the issues facing your clients so you can offer and develop new services that meet their needs but market to them in a sensitive manner.
Core Business Consultants can develop your post Covid-19 plan
The previous paradigm of professional services firms has become a thing of the past, in part at least. A new mindset and ways of working and delivering services are emerging and you just may find it brings a much-improved version of you and your business.
Core Business Consultants can develop and help implement your return to “new normal” plan – for your practice.
We specialise in
- business strategy and planning
- policy, procedure and systems analysis and development
- taking care of difficult staffing and business operation decisions
We can assist with all or any aspect of these business management areas for your business.
We are available after hours for calls and offer a free initial consultation to new clients.
Call, email or message us now for your FREE planning checklist. Together, we can go forward!