Leadership

14th May 2020

Waiting for the Rugby Ball to Bounce

Anyone who has ever played or even watched the game of rugby knows that it is best not to let the ball bounce. Because of its odd shape it is very difficult to predict where it will bounce to. That is how I see our current situation with regard to Covid19 and lockdown. Business owners and business leaders know that things are about to change. The lockdown arrangements that we have quickly become used to are starting to change. The ball is about to bounce but for most of us it is impossible to know where it will bounce to.

How quickly will our business start up again? How quickly or eagerly will our customers return? How many of our team will be able or willing to come back to work and can we manage the social distancing requirements are just a couple of the thousands of questions that will have different answers for each of us.

When you are in that situation where the rugby ball is going to bounce all you can do is to be prepared for any and every eventuality. How do you do that in business? Well this is going to be the chief test for business leaders everywhere. On my daily Covid vlog I have suggested that everyone has a ‘working 3-month cashflow’, updated weekly if not daily. I have gone on to suggest that you now expand that so you have 3 versions of the cashflow; your best guess version and one either side of that, your worst-case scenario and your rapid growth scenario.

The way you will navigate through the next few months will be to use your cashflow as your guide. It is cash, or rather lack of it, that kills businesses who are rapidly growing and for many they will be similar to a rapid start up business. Cash really is king. Your cashflow projection(s) will be your guide as you balance income and expenditure over the coming weeks and months. If you haven’t thought through the likely scenarios in advance you probably won’t have enough time in the moment as the ball bounces.

As with everything preparation is the key. Would that we had all been more prepared as we came into 2020. There really is no excuse for being ill prepared now. We know that the rugby ball will bounce.