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Reply To: How can we keep our printing company going and protect the future of our workers and the whole industry?  We are a small printing company AiMO Print, We worry about cashflow looking after our clients and contracts and our employees in these scary and uncertain times

Great response Shaun, and well done Aimo on surviving for 30 years! Wow….

Obviously this crisis is different, but given your success over decades, I know that you will have weathered significant economic crises in the past.

At this point, I feel it’s ALL about relationships – talking to your clients (and your suppliers, presumably) about how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking about the future – and asking what you can do to continue the relationship in the future.

Unlike previous recessions, I think it’s okay this time around to tell clients that your business is in a precarious state, and that you’re trying to do everything you can to keep your team together and keep paying them. Thank them for their role in the past in getting you to where you are now (well, were, pre-crisis), and ask how their business and needs are changing too.

In person conversations work best at this time – my email box is full of people and companies trying to maintain relationships by bombarding me with ‘news’ about them – what I value is those who give me a call and ask about me.

A final thought about your staff – be open and honest with them. I’ve been astonished at how willing staff are to have the hard conversations, and make more sacrifices than you might imagine to keep the team together. If you do need to make people redundant, go hard – it’s better to do it once, deeply and decisively, than to have the survivors wondering when the next cut will come. Decide who you want / need in your lifeboat when you get to the other side, and make it clear to them that’s what you’re doing.

Sorry, I don’t have any more practical advice – but take heart that you have a business that HAS survived in the past, you’ve got this, you know how to do it. And someone you can really talk to about how you’re feeling yourself… you can’t rescue people if you feel like you’re drowning.

Take care.