By Nikita Tomlinson

It has long been acknowledged by great military strategists, that success in battle can be significantly influenced by the terrain. It is fair to say that in the battle of business, the terrain has massively shifted through the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving us with a largely new and unknown landscape. The economic terrain that lies ahead is uncertain and dark. The forecasts do not paint a pretty picture of the immediate future and there is no doubt that businesses are in the battle of their lives. Are you ready?

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious – Sun Tzu

It has been said time and time again. Cash is king. However, cash in these environments is not static – it is a moving and changing thing. There are always warnings to take heed of. Knowing what signs to read, and how to read them is a critical part of being able to understand your changing cash position.

This could mean you track your inbound enquiry and quote requests. It could mean that you need to be calling your customers regularly for market intel. Whatever it is, the ability to read this terrain and understand the potential impact on cashflow is vital to success in battle.

Do you fully understand your cash position?

Do you know what signs you should be looking for in order to be able to act early?

The general who wins the battle, makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought – Sun Tzu

Planning. Planning. Planning. In terrain that is unknown and with an enemy that we have never faced before, it is the moments of planning that will be the difference between success and failure.

A trigger is a circumstance that causes an event, a response or course of action. Every business should have a trigger point plan right now. Your plan should take into account various scenarios and ‘best guess’ circumstances.

Your initial trigger point may have come when Covid-19 hit and your cashflow began to diminish. Your response or course of action should have been to get cash – either by talking to your bank, shareholders or applying for Government assistance.

Other triggers could include when your wage costs make up a disproportionate amount of your overheads. The course of action required is a review of whether your staff levels are viable, or restructuring may take place.

Changes in the market could also create a trigger point for your business. Post Covid-19 there may be less demand for your product than previously. Know what point you need to get to before a course correction is required by adapting or diversifying your product. Evolve or die.

Do you know what your trigger point plan looks like?

Treat your men as you would your own beloved son, and they will follow you into the deepest valley – Sun Tzu

We know that the terrain is moving around us. The enemy is unknown and we are having to learn and adapt while on the run. People are anxious. They need vision. They need exceptional communication. They need great leadership.

A war council is defined as a meeting to decide on a course of action – usually in the middle of battle. They are typically held when there are big decisions to be made. It is war councils where a vision is mapped out, discussed, and agreed to. It is the communication in these war councils that gives clarity about the way forward and readies the troops for heading back into the battle.

Have you held your own war council? Think about whether you have engaged your team in the decisions that will impact them moving forwards. Have you asked them for their ideas?

Communicate clearly and often with your ‘troops’ throughout this process. Encourage them to embrace change while balancing risk and reward on the battlefield.

Have you asked them to contribute to a vision that is partly their own? If the vision you are driving them towards is yours alone, they will comply, but they will never commit.

With a battle on your hands, it can be hard to see the bigger picture or the wider strategy. If you’d like assistance with forming your plan of attack, we’d love to help. Contact Nikita Tomlinson today.

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