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wartime leadership covid 19

I run a creative agency as well as consult to a number of medium to large organisations around the world. All from difference industries, but all experiencing the same struggles and having the same discussions. How do we handle COVID-19? One of the biggest take-outs from every conversation I have had, globally is this: We will come out of this, and when we do, what is our strategy for restarting? As a business owner, and personally, it was refreshing to have conversations about when this is over. Because it will be over, someday. What are you doing now to ensure you’re still relevant in 2, 3 months time?

Key points discussed:

  1. Keep your cash close, and your cashflow tighter:
    Anything that does not need to be paid right now, can wait. What debit orders are coming off your account right now? Review it all! As a creative agency, we’re always trying new things that we think may be helpful or cool for our clients. That 7 day free trial comes and goes very quickly.
  2. Rent:
    Have a discussion with your landlord about a payment holiday. Communication with providers is key! Don’t burn bridges. These are people you are going to continue having a relationship with when this is all over.
  3. Banks:
    Again, communication about your next steps is key! Many banks have already offered payment holidays, some haven’t. If you’re in the group that hasn’t, it’s still worth having the conversation about where you’re at with them. Don’t wait until you’ve run out of money completely to start trying to make a plan.
  4. Insurance:
    Those that have offices have had to leave them. Check what your insurance policy stipulates. If a premises is unattended for a certain period of time, insurance will not cover you for certain incidents. Make sure you are covered.
  5. Your people come first:
    The first 4 steps are being put in place by all of the organisations I am speaking to in order to pay staff. I have made it clear that no-one will be losing their jobs in my agency because of COVID-19. That is because I have had the conversations I have needed to in order to ensure our viability for the future.
    This also includes…
  6. A future plan:
    What will your industry look like by the end of this? What is your exit and re-entry strategy? One thing is very clear, an online presence is crucial. If people didn’t realise it before, they’re going to now, and I don’t believe that will end when lockdown is over.
  7. The Law of Requisite Variety:
    Basically, the more flexible we are, the more we can adjust and operate at our best in any given situation. When you have a limited or closed-in view, it’s possible that great insights are being missed.

If you can be flexible enough to understand your new model of the world you can be better equipped to facilitate change. Change can be seen as opportunity.

Stay safe. Stay relevant.
Do we have a choice?

*Laura Thomas is a serial entrepreneur having set up and led numerous successful business over the last 10 years, but is probably most famous for founding the cutting edge design and creative agency, Salt&Candy in the twenty-tens. Leveraging her global experience of working with blue-chip clients such as SABMiller, Coca-Cola, HBO, Sky and British Airways, Salt&Candy has become known around the world for digitally savvy, agile, edgy campaigns that focus relentlessly on business outcomes and a pathological desire for true retail conversion.

Laura has now turned her hard-won experience and no-nonsense approach to business to helping other young, female entrepreneurs fulfil their potential. Laura has become the cutting edge behind the 30% Club in Southern Africa – leveraging the global group of the same name made up of Chairmen, CEOs and senior leaders of large corporations committed to creating more diversity on Boards and senior leadership teams.

Combining these twin passions of digitally-led campaigns with her focus on diversity and inclusion, Laura has now co-founded F is for Female. Perhaps her most ambitious project yet. F is for Female seeks to create an impactful, sustainable movement based on conversations that really matter for women wherever, whoever they are.