Webinar: How to Shift your Focus and Capitalise on Opportunities post-Covid-19

We were delighted to host our first ever webinar on 21st May 2020!

Hosted by: Chris Ravenscroft, Portfolio Non-Exec & Associate Director for NEDs at Rowan Executive Search

Presented by: Mike McGrath, current NED for several high-growth privately owned and private equity backed businesses in the technology and services sectors.

Title: How to shift your focus and capitalise on opportunities post-Covid-19

We had an excellent range of business owners, CEOs, MDs Chairs and other NEDs, across a wide range of companies within manufacturing, healthcare, e-commerce and more.

We’ve included some of they key take-aways below. The webinar was recorded, so please do get in touch if you would like to be sent a copy of the link: raja.pitalia@rowangroup.uk.com

How to shift your focus and capitalise on opportunities post-Covid-19

3 key phases of lockdown in the business world

1) “Checking your arms & legs” – regular zoom calls 12-14 hours a day – daily / twice daily cash flows:

  • Whats going on with customers, suppliers, banks?
  • Lasted 2-3 weeks, for some even longer

2) Out of the shock, got the bearings and started to begin the parallel universe of lockdown. The “new rhythm”.

  • What is coming out of the government in terms of furloughing? Access to capital?
  • 4-5 weeks

3) Now – we’re at phase 3. Making sure we are fully prepared for what is going to happen next:

  • Furloughing won’t continue forever
  • Businesses will have to come back to some type of normality
  • Social distancing measures, changing shift patterns, etc

Four Emerging Themes from Covid-19 Crisis:

1) Clear switch from high street to online

  • This was happening anyway. But this trend in the past 6-8 weeks has been accelerated dramatically
  • This won’t change. This will be the “new normal”.

Three relevant quotes elegantly summarise the approaches businesses are taking:

  • Craig Menear, CEO of Home Depot – “The front door of our store is no longer at the front door of our store. It’s in the customer’s pocket, it’s on the job site, it’s on their couch. They start in the digital world even if they finish in the physical world”
  • Steve Rowe, CEO of M&S – “Whilst some customer habits will return to normal, others have changed forever, the trend towards digital has been accelerated, and changes to the shape of the high street brought forward”
  • John Roberts, CEO of AO.com – “We’ve seen 5 years worth of change in 5 weeks”If you don’t have online right now – you need it. High street simply wont have the throughput and the volume to justify the higher fixed costs. The level of fear has generated a complete change in buying behaviour.

 2) Agility

Business leader perspective:

  • Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next: “People have stopped buying because they can’t go outside”
  • John Lyttle, CEO of BooHoo: “We know that people are going to be on Zoom, so we’re supplying clothes to make them look beautiful on Zoom”

3) Importance of fire power in your balance sheet

A lot of PE funds raised a lot of money at the end of 2019, yet haven’t spent it yet

  • This capital should have been deployed at the start of the 2020 year
  • Hence the access to capital is there and will increase, although bank debt will become more expensive.

Mike commented how he has never regretted taking advantage of raising money early and turning a return from that

  • Last week, BooHoo raised an extra £200m worth of equity through the stock market to buy failing competitors in this period…

4) Resilience

  • Pre-Covid-19: Lean supply chain, just in time inventory, six sigma. This is fine when supply chains are operating properly
  • The last few months have showed that supply chains can be extremely brittle…
  • What Mike is doing is building in the resilience in his portfolio, such that they can hold their breath for longer and hold stock for an additional 50-75%
  • Although he recognises that this has an increase strain in working capital, he commented that this can be shared with manufacturing partners, the government & banks – to the wider benefit

Want to be invited to future events / webinars?

Rowan Executive Search regularly host events and now have a series of webinars lined up.

Our events / webinars are extremely popular and serve a wide range of professionals (Sales, Marketing, Operations, HR, Finance, C-Suite, NED) across numerous industries.

Please do email Raja K Pitalia if you wish to be invited to future webinars / events: raja.pitalia@rowangroup.uk.com