It was this writer’s hope to start to pivot this series away from pandemic-related topics, but with the data trends indicating it will remain as an ‘unwanted visitor’ for some time to come, that is not yet tenable. However, it seems perfectly reasonable and responsible to start to address the longer-term measures to bring Florida’s business operations back on online.
That will not occur as ‘drop the flag’ moment. Rather, it will be incremental and staged. And it should be with a focus on proactive risk management to (1) utilize the lessons learned during the pandemic and (2) apply them to future commercial activities, whether those are in the creative, manufacturing, or service sectors.
The principal concepts here are resilience and flexibility. Meaning, positioning an enterprise to ‘weather the storm’ and simultaneously remaining open to ‘changing tack’ with some frequency.
It seems sensible to attend to those notions by focusing on a business’ time, talent, and treasure.
Time: The world has, simply put, slowed down. The traditional seasonality structures and plans are, frankly, ‘out the window’. Operations are diminished and slower. Offices, shop floors, and retail and restaurant establishments are, due to social distancing protocols, working with smaller staffs and less clientele in-house at any given time. That plays out as slower returns-on-investment. But, it also plays out as opportunities for superior service, which, in turn, increases positive reputation. A good reputation does not, however, timely ‘pay the bills’. As a result, management needs to be in constant contact with its lenders and investors to create realistic cash-flow patterns. But do not despair – diminished live interactions has increased real online commerce. Accordingly, resilient management can include those revenue streams into their financial plans, and maintain confidence with their financial partners.
Talent: Look up – to the preceding paragraph. There are less employees ‘on the floor’ currently. Many are working remotely. (This writer worked remotely for about two months. Fortunately our law firm has an IT infrastructure capable of support distance work and Client relationships.) Since more people are intentionally dispersed, there are less opportunities for interaction. Which is a challenge to be solve since humans are inherently social beings. As a consequence, management has to be creative in its efforts to gather and recognize staff. Fortunately in these times there is technology to accomplish that outcome. How many Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Live group or one-on-one sessions have you attended recently (as well as from other services)? Likely many. Many. While they do not offer quite the same personal contact as being in the same space at the same time, they do present opportunities for creating interactions. And those same opportunities will increase as the collective ‘we’ go through the learning curve. The important take-away is that people crave attention and the ‘warm-and-fuzzy’. Implementing responsive and empathetic measures can serve to increase ROI from the human element.
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Treasure: Which means real estate, personal property, and financial assets. This is no time to be wasteful. As mentioned above, revenue streams are more unpredictable than during traditional business cycles. But expenses remain constant. The bills have got to be paid – payroll, rent, materials, supplies, taxes, insurance, and loan payments. (The topics of business interruption insurance and force majeure contract clauses have been discussed in previous articles in this series, and will not be duplicated here in the interest of economy.) Accordingly, businesses should take this time to (1) inventory and marshal its physical and financial assets, (2) maintain, sanitize, and even upgrade their real properties (of course, to the extent budgets permit), (3) maintain and repair their equipment and tools, and (4) review the performance and composition of their financial and investment portfolios.
What is the net effect of these seemingly intangible efforts? ‘Cleaning the house’ generally, and preparing for the foreseeable (and perhaps unforeseeable) ‘yin and yang’ of these pandemic days. While the business disruptions are ‘unfortunate’ – to say the very least – in a large number of medical and personal (the illnesses and losses of life being quantifiable as data but absolutely immeasurable in terms of human worry, pain, and grief) and professional ways, as to the last one businesses can – and must – observe, absorb, and adapt on an ongoing basis. Which underpins proactive risk management.
Follow the specifics about the implications of the Coronavirus/COVUD-19 pandemic in the ‘real world’ of Florida’s businesses, families, and individuals, as well as the various federal and Florida support initiatives.
Information about Bogin, Munns & Munns’ own response to Coronavirus readiness.
‘ICYMI’ – Did you notice there were no footnotes in article? Although there was a myriad of metaphors.
– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration and Levin College of Law and is the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
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NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.