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F, F, F - 3 options now the initial crisis has passed. CV 19 Week 4.

The lock down was extended by three weeks last night. In the main, people were expecting the extension. The expectation is an indication that people are now accepting the situation. Acceptance is a key step in moving forward to the next stage.

When the initial lock down was imposed peoples’ reaction understandably followed the pattern which generally occurs when they receive life changing news. A few people would have gone straight to acceptance, the majority would have fallen into these other categories.

· Shock – can this really be happening?

· Anger - This should have been avoided, someone has not done what they should have

· Regret – The business continuity plan I was going to do, would have been useful now

· Acceptance – China and Italy had to do it, it was going to happen here

· Help - How will my business survive?

When the original announcement was made, decisions had to be taken. Some were extremely abrupt. Pubs closed and within a few hours the normal Friday night activity ceased. On the Monday non-essential activities were stopped and the severity of the immediate crisis was laid bare for all to see. Government steps were taken to reduce the impact and over the last three weeks those businesses which were impacted at a stroke have adjusted to the immediate situation.

For those both impacted immediately and less so there is the medium and long term to consider. They should now decide what to do. Businesses will find themselves in one of three categories:

· Flex

· Fix

· Freeze

Businesses in Flex are having to adapt to increased demand, for example, supermarkets & online retailers. These businesses have a business model suited to the current situation but are having to rapidly re-organise operationally to cope with increased and differentiated demand. Businesses Flex when there is opportunity created by the change of environment.

For those for whom their existing business model no longer works properly in this environment they must Fix it by adjusting. If they are closed, then they should prepare for a speedy as opening as possible. For example, non-food shops could prepare separation systems that the food retailers have put in place. However, this is not possible in some cases.

For those businesses, the only option is to Freeze. The restrictions impact upon their market, and because of almost total lack of demand there is no other option. For example, the airlines.

As mentioned before with most people now in acceptance they can either bury their head in the sand or start to Flex, Fix or tighten the controls on Freeze, in case the lockdown is extended again.

If you would like to bounce your 3 F’s ideas off an outsider, get in touch peter.searle@ba4cs.co.uk

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