“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Winston Churchill
COVID and the resulting economic crisis are devastating to many people who have lost loved ones, their own health, their jobs, or their financial stability. Some have lost their businesses too. If your business is still on its feet, congratulations on surviving, but please don’t let the opportunity to rethink aspects of your business go to waste.
Here are some ideas for you to think about to Transition your business in a new direction:
• Celebrate wins and FOCUS on health for you and your employees
• Continue to FOCUS on liquidity — Prioritize a 13-week cash flow forecast, scrutinize all spending, and maintain close contact with capital sources, etc.
• Establish a multi-disciplinary visionary task force to manage through the crisis by providing the authority, purpose, and accountability to make change happen
• Adjust the business model, infrastructure, strategy, or cost structure to match your new normalized revenue
• All revenue is NOT created equal — Fix or drop low-performing SKU’s / customers/service lines. Define, fund, and FOCUS on the best growth initiatives
• Make your best COVID-19 changes permanent — What new practices should you keep?
• Strengthen customer intimacy — Increase touchpoints and make doing business easier (consigned inventory, extended payment terms, deeper cash discounts, etc.)
• “Variablize” fixed costs — Use fractional executives, increase variable compensation for your sales team, outsource HR on a per-employee basis, etc.
• Streamline processes and infrastructure — Increase automation, refine existing processes, concentrate production on fewer machines, etc.
• Repurpose employees — Brainstorm new products, pinpoint profit erosion or growth opportunities, and redirect employees to tackle any of the ideas presented here
Even as you weigh and implement your Transition options, please keep in mind the longer-term objectives of how you will Thrive coming out the other side. Consider:
• Continue to work on the changes you made in the Survive and Transition Phases
• Prepare now for COVID Wave #2 — What technology and PPE, etc. do you need more of? Is WFH, teamwork, innovation, and culture where you need them to be?
• Upgrade key talent — There is a significant dislocation in the workforce as companies have shed workers and as workers reconsider their career options. Now maybe a good time to find new or better skill sets and leaders
• Exploit opportunities with weakened competitors — Outright acquisition, hire their best talent, attack their customers, etc.
The key to emerging from this chaotic time successfully is to figure out where you should FOCUS and get started, the sooner, the better. COVID-19 will end, and a new normal will emerge. Where will you and your business be?