Keeping up your International Business during Covid-19
In order to maintain effective operations during the Covid-19 crisis your organisation will need to develop robust contingency plans. Although it may be too early to fully understand the severity of this crisis and its long-term implications, there are several steps your company can take now to help improve its long-term chances of survival. It is possible to deploy both crisis and risk management while proactively looking for unexpected business opportunities that might emerge from all this.
Make Trade has put together a dedicated group of international experts. The consultancy pool we have created through Sweden on the Go, with almost 100 quality assured international consultants, stands ready to support your business through this crisis. Not only are we available to give you immediate advice, but we are also able to direct you to those most suited to help. See contact details below.
Our top tips for keeping your international operations up:
– Reach out to your international network – both customer and suppliers. Strong positive messages will help you maintain relationships with customers and suppliers. Business relationships can be strengthened in times of crisis, especially in this kind of situation, as everyone is in the same boat.
– Use sales forecasts to analyse customer behaviour. Will the crisis lead to lasting changes in the market that your company needs to adjust to?
– Focus on your costs and efficiency, in particular measures that are able to reduce costs and / or increase productivity and operational efficiency.
-Improve your cash-flow. Get in touch with your bank, partners, key suppliers and customers to find a way forward. Quick and positive action might very well get you the results you need.
– Is your company able to take advantage of the government intervention packages? New economic measures are being announced daily; specifically designed to help stabilise the economy and help Swedish businesses through this challenging period. Your bank, business member organisations and business networks can help you navigate these. Remember also that other countries are putting together rescue packages to support business in their jurisdictions. These could also benefit your customers and suppliers, and therefore you.
– Try to reduce risks in the value chain by sharing them. Engaging in a positive dialogue with partners, suppliers and customers will allow you to jointly assess what you can do to manage and spread the risks in your value chain.
– Plan for currency fluctuations – Unfortunately currency fluctuations are a natural outcome of this crisis. It is therefore important for you to keep track of what is happening as well as putting the right strategies in place to manage these unprecedented fluctuations.
– Take care of your staff. By doing this you ensure that you have the human resources in place to move forward when the economy rebounds and it’s time to scale up your operations again. Your employees are your key asset!
– Check your exposure to risk by going through the insurance policies and the business agreements you have put in place with your customers and suppliers. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for smaller companies to engage in “international business” without the necessary legal contracts. You should also check whether / how force majeure clauses apply to your business – both from your perspective on not being able to meet obligations and your suppliers not meeting obligations towards you. Going forward, review your insurance policies from a risk reduction perspective.
– Plan B – Your company should have a Plan B in terms of finding new customers and suppliers. It should include considerations around changing production processes, amending your strategy, and establishing new channels to market.
– Don’t shy away from switching operations, products and customers. It may be that the Covid-19 crisis presents you with an opportunity to offer new solutions to a different customer base. In times of crisis, new ideas and solutions are often born. Be flexible!
– Review your organisation’s international operations. This crisis also presents an opportunity in terms of reviewing your current international operations. You may wish to look over your overall international strategy, as well as drilling down further into customer and supply focus, agreements and terms of delivery, insurance and logistics. By doing so you may find a way of diversifying into new business areas, reaching out to new customer segments and suppliers.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Historically, economies have recovered quickly from this type of crisis and it’s important for your business to be ready when that happens. Your organisation must therefore both be able to act in the short term to protect the business, but also keep an eye on the long game. By proactively preparing for the future, you will be in a position to take advantage of the substantial upswing that will inevitably follow; some suggest it may even be as soon as the end of this year.
Make Trade has put together a dedicated group of international experts. The consultancy pool we have created through Sweden on the Go, with almost 100 quality assured international consultants, stand ready to support your business through this crisis. Not only are we available to give you immediate advice, but we are also able to direct you to those most suited to help. Welcome to contact us directly on below mail.