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On January 4, businesses in Lebanon eagerly got back in
action, entering the workspace and preparing for a year of possibilities and
uncertainties. On January 7, nationwide closures were declared to contain the
spread of the pandemic. The strict closures, without a doubt, will pose yet
another challenge for companies and teams, trying to get their strategies for
2021 off the ground. However, there are ways in which businesses can work
around these closures, and keep the ball rolling.

Update response plans

Firstly, does your business have a COVID-19 or force majeure
response plan? In 2020, on both a global scale and in Lebanon, many lockdowns
marked the year. By the fifth lockdown (who’s counting), a response strategy to
ensure business continuity should have already been in place and fool proofed.
This time around, assess if team members are aware of their responsibilities,
if you could do anything differently to enhance productivity levels, and ensure
that the strategy for this year, as well as deadlines are clear for everyone to
follow. 

Check cash flows

Yes, times are tough, but it is up to all members of the
team to understand the importance of their role in keeping the business afloat.
One key factor is cash flow that should be provisioned for to cover the running
expenses for at least 3 to 6 months. If the closures are financially draining
the company, find ways to create alternative sources of income or improve on
your offering. Speak with your clients to settle their due payments on time,
and negotiate payment extensions with your suppliers until you have more
visibility. By all means, continue to cut costs where possible.

Study supply chains

Globally, supply chains have been disrupted due to numerous
factors, and some production lines have been forced to shut down as a result.
In Lebanon, supply chains are even trickier to manage, due to the various
currencies and payment procedures that suppliers request. Assess your supply
chains, and contact each of your suppliers to ensure that the delivery of goods
or services will be completed within the agreed-upon date. If not, find
alternative solutions to keep the business running. The recommendation to
minimize the risks that supply chains are exposed to, by localizing them as
much as possible.

Assess customer needs

Use this period to understand your customers’ needs, and
ensure you communicate with them on the new working hours, delivery modules or
if any orders or bookings need to be cancelled or postponed. Customers will be
forgiving, as long as you communicate and support them when needed.

Avoid cyber attacks

Some of the biggest businesses have been victim to
cyber-attacks and have had their IT systems hacked over the past year. If you
haven’t done so already, now is the time to review and strengthen your IT
systems, safeguard your emails and increase the security for your servers and
website. It is also important to train the team on new security measures to be
taken.

Encourage upskilling

By skipping the daily commute (that’s at least 30 minutes to
1 hour a day, with Lebanese traffic), encourage your team to use this time
during lockdown to take online courses and enhance their skillsets. Also,
promote cross-functional trainings where possible, for each team member to gain
a more holistic understanding of the company. Check out this blog post out on
what skills you really need for the future.

But most importantly… #Stayhome

Every single individual is responsible for the health and
wellbeing of others. To contain the spread of the virus and ensure that those
most at risk (elderly individuals and those with pre-existing conditions) are
safe, make sure you #Stayhome and #Staysafe… connect with friends via Zoom
instead and pick up a new hobby in the meantime.

by Beirut Digital District

This content was originally published here.

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