I would like to share our 4 principles of business ethics that push us through the Corona-Crisis and might inspire some to follow – actually saving jobs.
At WEVENTURE we are partner for digital marketing- and growth strategies but also looking after a small venture portfolio of companies. For most of our clients, we are responsible for important sales channels: Google-, Facebook- and Instagram Ads. Sometimes we are in charge of up to 100% of their business revenue, handling all important key figures every day. Hence, it is an inevitable part of our business to take a high degree of responsibility for our partners. As a boutique agency with a maximum degree of an entrepreneurial mindset, we are able to maintain a very close dialogue with our partners on a daily basis. These customer relationships have been characterized by open communication ever since. It is therefore perfectly normal for us to conduct a dialogue at eye level that helps to take on difficult decisions together. And trust me, we have taken hundreds of difficult decisions, like most of us, during the last weeks. These decisions are driven by:
Employee and employer communication has never been more important than in times of a crisis. Ad-hoc personnel decisions on both sides do not help in the current phase, they destroy employer branding, trust and harm companies such as careers. At WEVENTURE we had backup plans for a crisis in the drawer for years with one credo: No matter how hard our companies are hit by a crisis, jobs will never ever suffer. Not being able to pay wages is a no-go scenario for us. So we kept clear communication from the beginning: We have scheduled and conducted one-on-one interviews with each employee regarding the current crisis, already 3 weeks ago and talked about fears and reservations. Every day we take up open questions from our team-leads and reflect these in a weekly Q&A back to the respective teams and people in charge. A high level of communication and mutual empathy has never been more important. Video-Meetings (we use Google Meet) have a “video must be on policy” and meetings stay scheduled, nothing is postponed. We see great chances to even strengthen the relationship between colleagues during corona-home-office, as communication now takes place in the most intimate area of everyone: At home. This is a great chance for teams to work on their leadership between each other. The opportunity to share their comfort zone like never before in humorous ways and with a maximum degree of empathy can strengthen teams tremendously as we believe. Even teambuilding might benefit: In the past week we have organized a team breakfast in corona-home-office with all our colleagues and sent each and everyone a lunch-pack at home with individual thank-you notes. The reactions were overwhelming.
We’re lucky, very lucky. As entrepreneurs with various businesses, we expect a decrease in turnover of 20-40% for the business year 2020. Other businesses are certainly much harder hit than us and suffer a 100% revenue decline whilst no stimulus packages are available in an acceptable manner. Some NGOs suffer from not being eligible for any stimulus packages, others have no chance to keep up an operationally healthy business at all. We have no problems to continue our work operationally and there are even projects which profit from the crisis. But I would like to take the opportunity to express my indignation about entrepreneurs who use the Corona-Crisis as an excuse to stop doing their work, freeze in short-term work or remaining in shock and pause all their business activities without alternative concepts. Others are using the crisis to sort out service providers to cut costs for simply safety reasons – not liquidity. This behaviour is negligent and short-sighted from many perspectives. The same accounts for the complainers about the grant not being paid out fast enough, it won’t go any faster. Stop complaining that the short-time work hotline is manned by the employment office, it won’t go any faster. Please stop complaining and using the Corona-Crisis as an excuse for anything – your LinkedIn profile won’t help you getting your business back to track. Sorry for these lines of my very own complaint now. Act instead: Initiatives like #über10 from EditionF or feldhelden.org and many others communicate to those who can really change something now. As entrepreneurs we have it in our hands to act and adapt to different situations every day, it does not include Corona as an excuse though. Who do you want to be?
After the Corona-Crisis, I rather see a revival of the golden 20s than a long-lasting recession. Call me an optimist, but this is me on the Crisis for now. As entrepreneurs we are the optimists, it is the optimists that are now obliged to act as if an end to the crisis could become reality every day. Let’s start planning for tomorrow now! For our very own services at WEVENTURE we are proposing our own model of: “planned hibernation”.
Hibernation is not a freeze. In hibernation, all organs continue to be supplied with nutrients and blood supply. The body heat of several animals protects each other. We continue to supply all our service providers even in the corona crisis and we hold a dialogue with each one about how much hibernation is possible, from a liquidity perspective. Short-term work and tax deferrals should work for most (not all) financially healthy businesses at least for 2-3 months. Again, there is no profits for anyone: let’s hibernate together. We support our caterers by producing lunch boxes for employees and our favourite restaurants cook recipes for our Venture ebalance.ch. We continue to implement planned salary increases with a discount of 50% to employees until the end of the crisis. Do keep on spending in private and business wherever you can, if possible. Liquidity management is back to ourselves, this is not just a controllers job in these days as we watch creditors and accounts receivable on a daily basis. Planned hibernation is our modus in the crisis, by trying to keep liquidity high also for our service providers when possible.
Unusual times need unusual offers for employees and clients as well. In the mode of planned hibernation, we offer all our clients proactively to postpone payments or reduce them by 25%, 50% or even 75%, with the same performance on our end. Like this, we avoid having to cancel contracts. Solely revenue-based models are another tool that is used with high acceptance in these days. Whoever puts service providers and partners on the road and cancels their contracts is already responsible for his own crisis which will catch up with him from behind, after the Corona-Crisis. Our urgent call to all agencies, consultants and service providers is: Make fair unusual offers to your clients and projects such as finding agreements on entrepreneurially fair solutions together. The only thing that counts now is: Keep all businesses financially liquid and avoid contract cancellations as we all expect businesses to deliver added value to us and others after the crisis. If possible even invest in new initiatives, partners or campaigns, so the crisis will not hit each and every one of us from the ambush in a second wave. Set a course for the revival of the golden 20th instead.
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