Well for a lot of us that is exactly the situation we are in – it’s uncharted territory at the moment.
I think most of us watched what was happening in Wuhan in January and February, with shock and horror, but let’s face it, Wuhan is on the other side of the world and we probably didn’t think too much about how much it could affect us. I doubt we seriously considered that our family, friends and colleagues could be compromised – financially and physically.
If we had known what today was going to look like, we would have been planning like mad. We’d have been considering the impacts, putting contingencies in place and probably trying as much as possible to build up our cash reserves.
The Government too doesn’t appear to have taken it any more seriously than we ourselves did, and now whilst they are doing their utmost to deal with the situation, they are in the midst of crisis management rather than controlled and ordered management.
Added to this we have lots of mistruths, misguided information and general fear spreading itself amongst us all.
So, what to do about it all?
The most important priority is getting to the other side - safe and intact.
With loved ones still at our sides.
Roofs still over our heads.
Businesses able to pick up the pieces and function and operate and support the economy.
This is when a planning mentality plays its part. Your plan might not be perfect, but it gives you something to anchor against, something to change and a sense of place. Plans look at options and eventualities, they think about the “What Ifs?” They are a starting point that can be amended and improved. They give a base line to measure how successful you’ve been.
Planning is my thing. But I am sorry to say I didn’t have a Coronavirus Plan – other than a notion that I’d get through this if it winged its way from Wuhan to the UK. Like the Government I am now in crisis management, dealing with what is immediately in front of me.
But what does my crisis management plan look like?
Well firstly it has considered the facts in front of me that affect me.
Unpaid invoices that might not get paid. Not because my clients are bad, but because like me they are in crisis management and might not have the money to pay me.
Contracts at best postponed, at worst cancelled and a pipeline that disappeared faster than the speed of light
Boris Johnson’s press conference on Monday 16th announcing that at-risk groups are to be shielded from social contact for 12 weeks.
I’m not elderly but I am at-risk because I was born with a TGA, which according to the Mayo Clinic is a serious but rare heart defect, in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed. TGA standing for transposition of the great arteries. I was successfully operated on as a child, but the fact is I still have a hole in my heart, I have a prosthetic patch on my pulmonary artery, and I have reduced and compromised lung capacity.
Unless you know me really well, all of the above will surprise you, because I have 3 kids; have run 6 marathons, more than a dozen half marathons, and too many 10Ks to count; played hockey all through high school; and, am always on the go.
Next I considered all the good things that are in my favour.
I still have some work, which is interesting and should be able to pay.
I have been homeworking since 2000 when I was an Account Manager at Prudential. Nothing new or surprising for me with this gig, I know all the tricks to make it work.
We have savings.
I have good family and friends who are there to support me and help out.
Despite everything I said about being at-risk, I am healthy and fit. That’s because I run, I am no couch potato, no slouch, always on the go. My lungs may not operate at full capacity, but I make sure they are working as best as they can and able to oxygenate. If I catch Covid-19 this might be the single biggest thing in my favour, my lungs have been trained to respond to treatment.
And, we have a dog – the most important thing if we go into lockdown, as he will be our ‘get out of jail’ card for fresh air and exercise.
So, considering all these good things, I formulated my plan of action.
Take the pressure of my business, by looking at financial options such as extending my financial year.
Take the pressure of my household expenditure by cutting my cloth, and possibly taking a mortgage holiday.
Work hard on the contracts I still have, using that extra time to over-deliver and make a difference.
Look for new opportunities, because when things go wrong, there is quite often an unforeseen opportunity to offer a different service. First new service website is almost ready to go in under 48 hours.
Plan for the other side – which includes running to keep fit and healthy, minimising direct social contact, gearing up for when normality starts to return.
Not too bad a plan I think – even if it is a crisis plan.
So, for anyone reading this far, I hope my take on it all inspires you to make your plan if you haven’t done so already.
It will help, and if you need any planning support for now and for the future, anything at all, just get in touch.