By Ben Gamble, head of agency at Shout About

As London prepares for a lockdown, we're talking about the impact Coronavirus is having on the London events sector, offering advice for small and medium businesses at this crucial time.

An incredibly challenging period for everyone, the next 3 months will test businesses of all sizes beyond imagination. With the global events industry (worth more than $1tn) already being ravaged with a profusion of cancellations, London based agency Shout About have had ALL contracts put their corporate plans on hold, amounting to a huge loss for the company.

As the new enforcements come into place, and the growing impact of the outbreak continues to sweep through the industry, Shout About have actioned ‘survival mode’ for these uncertain times.

Support your staff

Whether you sell products or services, all a company is, is a group of people working towards a common goal. Your staff are absolutely everything.

It is highly likely that you will have to let some staff go, but communicate with them and offer as much support as they need, don’t leave them in the dark. It’s imperative to seek HR advice before letting anyone go, especially as you may want to be able to hire them back if you can in a few months.

Make sure you are fully briefed on the latest government’s updates, so that you are prepared to offer guidance and reassurance should any of your staff phone you in a panic.

Cash is King

The old adage never becomes truer than when there is no revenue coming in. Cut all the fat and remember every pound is a prisoner.

Ask for time to pay your bills, prioritise them and look for government support wherever possible. Use this time to change phone suppliers, cut the subscriptions you don’t use and cut all overheads that are none essential.

Work out your burn rate and plan accordingly to survive, if you can’t survive 3 months, then it is probably better to shut the doors.

We are working on a worst-case scenario and assuming no events until September.

Clean your business

Get your accounts up-to-date. Clear your desktop. Get anything done that you’ve been putting off for months – eat that frog!

Work on your business model, get pitch decks up to date, redo that mission statement and get organised.

The next three months are preparation to either shut your business down or to bounce back stronger than ever, either way it needs planning.

Reach to your network

The events industry is one of the most diverse industries that exists, so no doubt you know people across its many sectors (events/ catering/ DJ’s/ security/ cinema/ theatre/ bars/ restaurants).

With everyone feeling the effects, reach out to them - a WhatsApp check-in is all that’s needed and could remind someone that they’re not alone.

Feel the unity

The only silver lining in all of is this that hopefully, it will ultimately unite us as an industry and as a planet. However anxious and stressed you are as a business owner, remember that this will pass, the world will keep on spinning and things will go back to normal.

It’s a stark reminder that we are all connected, to be kind to one another… and to wash your hands!

As business owners we have to lead by example and look to the future. Feel the unity.

Events bring people together like no other industry and that will continue, stronger than ever on the other side.