If you are working your way through the steps of this COVID-19 process, we hope you are making some progress. And remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to do all five steps this week. But if you’ve done your Reality Check and completed your BusinessContinuityPlan.pdf, you can now start pulling your ideas together.

In our first article, we suggested that you assess your risks and opportunities using a SWOT analysis exercise (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), and we provided a matrix to think about the impact on your business model relative to the level of disruption in your industry.

To follow on from that exercise, we’ve done a high-level analysis for a café business to give you an example of how this works in practice.

Before considering a shift in the café’s business model, we need to define the demand disruption based on the best information we currently have. Cafés may reopen during Alert Level 3 for takeaway business only. After that, restrictions such as social distancing and contact tracing are expected. Normal trading is not likely to return until early 2021.

Based on what we know, some of the opportunities could include:

  • Creating new experiences at the café.
  • Changing the layout to meet restrictions but creating a new feel and level of service.
  • Developing an app that allows coffee and food orders to be picked up from a takeaway portal at the café .
  • Setting up subscription pricing where the amount is deducted on ordering.
  • A swipe card system for entering the café which has smart intelligence on a customer such as order preference and frequency to provide a better and a more efficient service.

On the other hand, a `restructure’ might be necessary if there are ongoing restrictions on reopening hospitality premises.

A change in customer behavior is already a recognised business risk. So, for example, businesses may now have in-house meetings instead of heading down to the cafe. Or customers may continue to work from home.

In this instance, the opportunities may include:

  • Catering for work meetings - create workplace packages.
  • Delivering coffee/food to individual homes as part of wellness packages for staff.

The above examples demonstrate that it is important that you understand your customer base and your internal processes so you can pivot your business if needed.

Once the way ahead is a little clearer, then set your direction with a newly articulated strategy and business case. Whatever that looks like, it needs to be nimble and adaptable. The perfect plan will not be possible due to many unknown variables but you need to work with what you know to create a new business model and plan.

A note of caution before you relaunch: Beware of any legal implications associated with a change of direction. If you have done the business stock-take as suggested in the Reality Check, you will be familiar with your current obligations and potential issues.

One area we highlighted is the impact of workplace change on your staff. There are clear processes to follow if you want to change a person’s role from front-of-house to a delivery driver. You are probably aware that there is a process when someone is made redundant but similar principles apply when a restructure of roles is undertaken. Acting in good faith is the fundamental tenet under the Employment Relations Act.

All the work you have done up to now will assist in implementing the correct process. Each business will be different, but steps to undertake a restructure include:

  1. Documenting your business case.
  2. Documenting your proposal for consultation with staff.
  3. Presenting your proposal to your team without any predetermined expectations.
  4. Gathering feedback.
  5. Genuinely considering the feedback.
  6. Confirming the new structure.
  7. Implementing change.



Need financial assistance?

We are here to help. Aspiring Law is registered with the Regional Business Partners Network to provide Business Continuity Planning, Managing Workplace Change, and advice for businesses impacted by Covid-19, the cost of which is funded up to 100% by the Government (for amounts up to $5,000 p.a.) for qualified businesses. To see if you qualify, see up-to-date information from the Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce here. Click here to apply.

We know getting this right will reduce chances of any claims under the Employment Relations Act. We can assist in tailoring an approach that suits the size and complexity of the proposed change. Don’t delay. Act today! Call Julie, John or Janice or contact support@otagorbp.co.nz on how to access the support.


Julie Aitken
DDI + 64 3 443 0918
Email julie.aitken@aspiringlaw.co.nz

John Mezger
DDI + 64 3 443 0917
Mobile + 64 21 404 537
Email john.mezger@aspiringlaw.co.nz

Janice Hughes
DDI + 64 3 443 0911
Mobile + 64 27 434 2789
Email janice.hughes@aspiringlaw.co.nz

Business & Commercial Set-up & Structuring