This year you and your business have had to face unprecedented challenges that potentially won’t go away soon. Are you doing the ‘right thing’? When you’re faced with a plethora of decisions, how do you balance time to consider those decisions versus the immediacy some might require in order for your business to survive?
Whether you are barely getting by, operating in a reduced ‘maintenance mode’ or, as with some sectors, struggling to keep up with demand, your situation has accentuated some decision dilemmas, some of which are commercial, some of which are ‘moral dilemmas’ (or as economists term them, ‘moral hazards’).
Probably the biggest, most far reaching and consequential decisions are being made by the Government at the moment. How do you balance lives at risk from Covid-19 with the harm to wellbeing, livelihoods and the economy from lockdown measures?
On a lesser scale but with no less moral content are decisions you may be facing as a business owner. For example:
- Do you use the Government’s furlough scheme to put off making team members redundant? Is that a reasonable use of taxpayers’ money if redundancy is inevitable?
- Do you apply for a Coronavirus Business Impact Loan or a ‘bounce back’ loan on very attractive terms when you either have the cash in the business to keep going or have not been ‘adversely affected by coronavirus’?
- Do you ask a furloughed team member to ‘do you a favour’ and undertake a piece of work while they are at home anxious about their future?
- Do you put pressure on your suppliers for price reductions, deferments or better terms even if your business doesn’t need them because the current situation gives you an opportunity?
- Do you offer free advice and services to existing or new clients as an incentive to sign-up with you or are you offering such services as genuine support and goodwill?
And there are plenty more examples. These are all real situations we have come across in recent weeks. Sometimes the business owner has taken a moral, wide-angled view, other times a narrow survivalist view and sometimes an exploitative view.
We’re not going to moralise on what we believe is right for everyone as we all have a responsibility as business owners to assess the implications of our decisions. Who is to say that protecting jobs in your business is any more worthy than jobs elsewhere? Our view is two-fold:
- Be true to your own moral compass and make your decisions rounded and transparent
- Remember that your team, your clients, your community and your family notice and remember the difficult decisions you make.
We continue to help and advise clients and contacts in our business community. Contact us for an informal conversation about how you lead your business in the coming months.