Keeping sane and moving forward – A COVID-19 odyssey

Keeping sane and moving forward – A COVID-19 odyssey
Martin MarkovicApril 23, 2020

The current crisis has the entire construction industry scratching its collective head.

Whether you an investor, consultant, architect, designer, developer, building materials manufacturer or importer, builder, or especially an estate agent, you must be wondering what is to become of your previously stable business.

Most businesses that I know of are still in crisis management mode. Landlords are being besieged with requests for rent reductions. Banks have queues of entrepreneurs asking for facility extensions. Decisions have been taken as to how many employees need cutting and now the ugly process of informing the unlucky ones is well and truly underway. Accountants have done the cash flows and owners are looking for unencumbered assets to underwrite cash flow.

It is easy to get caught up in all of the above and wallow in your new-found extended personal space.  Fighting fires can produce small wins but if you want to win the war you need to focus on the future as soon as possible.

Our company, Sourcecorp Victoria Pty Ltd is involved in Importing Innovative Building Materials. The nature of our business necessitates that in order to move product, we need face time with prospects such as designers and architects as new concepts are extremely difficult to get across through other communication methods.

Nobody knows precisely when this will come to an end but when it does, It is reasonable to expect that the Government will use the Construction Industry as a lever to get the economy moving again.

Now is the time for a searching review on your business. Are you in a position to take advantage of the opportunities when they finally arise?

Here are just some items that deserve attention right now.

  1. When did you last update your web site?  Is it still relevant?  How does it stand up next to that of your closest competitor?  Are your endorsements more than a year old – if so, it is time to tell the public what you have done for them lately.  Bottom line is that there are a number of independent website designers out there who can help and it is a buyers market.
  2. Covid 19 might have forced you to jettison staff. Have you given thought as to how you will operate in future?  Will you simply fill the same positions when the crisis ends or will you review exactly what your staff were doing. Your business may well have been top heavy in some areas and understaffed in others.
  3. What are your existing clients doing? Have you got a list of everyone you have done business with over the last 5 years? Have you updated the list with their current contact details? Have they been contacted to see if you can be of service now? This is the potentially the best source of short term income opportunity as these contacts do not require an introduction and your past record provides immediate credibility.
  4. If you have gone through the process of reviewing your existing clients, have you noticed that they are from a similar market segment such as Hotels, Aged Care, Student Accommodation, Public Infrastructure etc.  Have you considered the market segments that you are not addressing?  What would it mean to your business to gain a foothold in a Government Infrastructure project? How would you approach them? Would it be worth the cost?
  5. Are your business premises still fit for purpose? If your current lease is almost expired, it is an opportune time to consider your real needs.  As working from home becomes a new normal, you may be able to operate on a smaller footprint. It is likely to be a renters market for quite some time.
  6. Do you have old stock (be it materials or properties)? How long have you been holding on to it?  Would your clients be prepared for you to offer it at significantly cheaper rates to bolster their financial position? Turning over multiple poor properties for one good one could be a winning strategy.  After all, if your property had little interest in the market pre Covid 19, it is just as likely to be a poor performer afterward.

The bottom line is that there is a lot that all of us can do to improve things immediately while ensuring that we are fit to compete when the game eventually resumes.

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