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23 April 2020

Consider not only the immediate impacts private, mid-market and family businesses face during the coronavirus (COVID-19) challenges. To build a sustainable organisation for the future, plan for the near and long term as well.

The impacts the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on our communities and economies over the past weeks has been unparalleled. And while organisations shift and adapt towards ensuring immediate business continuity and shock resilience, others are already considering what their business functions will look like on the other side. Managing through a crisis towards a sustainable business means that leaders need to consider how major global crises may affect their operations, in the immediate, near and long term – and how to manage for success on the other side.

For private, mid-market and family businesses these battles play out on a number of unique fronts including:

  • reduced customer demand that could take longer to return to the volumes before the crisis
  • impacted supply chains by logistic shortages, travel bans, and new regulatory constraints
  • limited technology and operational capabilities to enable remote working
  • increased security and cyber vulnerabilities outing critical business assets at risk
  • increased liquidity and solvency challenges putting organisations into financial stress
  • difficult decisions to protect the workforce and talent, and to repurpose work
  • lack of understanding of legal liabilities and contractual obligations that could be compromised.

No one has ever experienced anything like the current conditions, and executives leading private, mid-market and family enterprises are finding they are making difficult choices, alone, which could impact financial and operational viability of organisations they lead.

KPMG believes that businesses can prepare to respond to the challenges that crisis’ create through a three-phased journey: respond, rebuild and rebound.

Three phases of crisis management

While these phases seem sequential, organisations might find themselves, or different parts of their business, in different phases at different times.  For example, a company could be quick to stabilise their financials and reassess fixed versus variable costs while at the same time still trying to find effective solutions to monitor for fraud and cyber-attacks. It could also be possible for companies, or departments, to slip back through phases, for example as the workforce starts to fatigue from the newly established working from home principles and practices they may fall back into old, bad habits.

The COVID-19 challenges will last beyond the immediate crisis. Leaders of private, mid-market and family businesses can use the above principles to help them establish lasting credibility and followership, strengthen their organisations values and purpose and achieve genuine engagement from the employees and stakeholders to create a sustainable business in a post COVID-19 landscape.

Discover more detail around how you can help manage your company through Phase One – Rapid response.