Crisis Planning Worksheet – Creative Micro and Small Businesses

I have shared this crisis planning worksheet with creative businesses, mainly independent fashion brands, during discussions and consultations that we have had over the last week.

It highlights what needed to be done at he beginning of the crisis and needs to be checked throughout the next three months to mitigate  risks posed by the current Covid19 pandemic. I left out country-specific information from this online version.




Set your priorities

  • What is critical to do?
  • What can you do differently? (innovation, responsiveness, flexibility)
  • What can you  leave out/cancel/postpone?


General advice

  • Be smart when reading the news (one hour per day, create a list of reliable news sources, business advice and support sources, sign up for newsletters to keep abreast of fast-changing landscape).
  • Develop a broad overview of government business support and rescue packages.
  • Be aware of where you can get detailed and specific information about them – government info lines, free webinars, etc.


Business advice

  • Crisis = impact on sales, impact on payments and orders and contracts, possible cancellation of orders and contracts, staff/contractor sickness, issues with sourcing, high volume of staff vs. low volume of commercial activity.
  • The crisis plan is key. Create at least a checklist, identifying your areas of focus.


Identification of risks

  • Go through your entire value chain and evaluate individual risks.
  • Use a traffic lights system to evaluate the risks.
  • What are your strategies to mitigate the risks?



  • Identify inventory – what orders are outstanding?  Expedite as fast as possible and discuss payment terms.
  • Try to get secure upfront payments.
  • Communicate with customers about safety measures that your business has put in place – reassurance, reputation, relationship.
  • If you have enough financial reserves for the next three months and your collections are not seasonal – do not rush into discounting just yet. Frequent sales/panic sales undermine your brand value and market positioning.
  • If discounting is necessary – think of lowering your costs and then margin.



Review contracts

  • Look out for penalties and other sanctions for non-delivery, delayed deliveries, etc.
  • See if force majeure clause is part of your contracts.
  • Set priorities: what contracts/projects are necessary to fulfill? What contracts are, after an agreement with the partner, necessary to renegotiate or completely stop?
  • Check your business insurance, keep evidence of losses, their elimination and mitigation, communicate with your insurer.



  • Top priority is to secure financial liquidity.
  • Review incoming and outgoing payments, –  income vs costs.
  • What are your reserves?
  • Is there enough cash flow for the next three months?


Minimise costs

  • What would your business look like if you decreased your costs by 20% or  50% or even more %?
  • Review rarely used subscriptions and other non-essential services/costs.
  • Defer, if possible,  rental costs.
  • Defer, if possible,  loan payments, tax payments, etc.
  • Cost of employees vs. your current sales and production output, – options to draw on government schemes.
  • What is a minimal cost for your operations and how would your operations look like?



Employees and contractors

  • Identify key people.
  • Who will you need if your sales drop by 20%, 50% or even more %?
  • Can I draw government support for their salaries?


Secure production inputs and outputs

  • Are you able to source materials, contractors?
  • Communicate with your supply chain.
  • Are you able to get all orders on time?
  • Are you able to full payment for your orders from wholesalers/retailers.



  • How can you get your products to customers?
  • Is it a safe method?
  • Will it raise your price, or can the cost be absorbed?


Communicate, communicate, communicate

  • With your employees, customers, suppliers, banks, sector associations, government agencies, peer support groups.
  • Understanding, solidarity and common sense are key and so is your business survival.


Review and monitor

  • Frequently review your status quo as landscape shifts fast.
  • Have a plan but be ready to change it.



Photo: Pixabay  via