How Will the Coronavirus Change the Way You Do Business?


March 17, 2020 2:51 pm Published by

Coronavirus and Your BusinessWays To Maintain Your Business Growth Amid The Coronavirus Challenge

The Question is Not If But How Your Business Will Be Disrupted

Over the past few years, I’ve written and spoken repeatedly on the topic of disruption in business. Disruption is part of our landscape these days. It’s hard to imagine anything more disruptive than the impact the Coronavirus is having on business and daily life—all across the globe. It came on suddenly and dramatically. The question isn’t, “Will the Coronavirus change the way you do business?” It’s “How will the Coronavirus change the way you do business?”

An Unusual Source of Business Insight

Interestingly, there is a very helpful source of business insight that came from perhaps the foremost Coronavirus expert in the country (if not the world). Dr. Anthony Fauci has dealt with HIV. SARS, MERS, Ebola, and other diseases over the last 40 years. A recent AP story cites Fauci’s strategy for dealing with the current situation—drawing an analogy from ice hockey. He says:

“You skate not to where the puck is, but to where the puck is going to be.”

(I believe Dr. Fauci was quoting hockey great, Wayne Gretzky)

That is a helpful reminder to those of us doing business during a very disruptive environment. So, what is the right way for us to respond? How do we “skate to where the puck is going to be?”

Remain Vision Driven

These are emotional times. That’s understandable. Still, we need to keep emotions in check. Recently I posted an article about the importance of making business decisions based on logic, rather than on emotion. That approach is crucial in times of stress. To do that, however, means your actions need to be driven by your vision.

Your specific plans may change, but your vision needs to remain constant. Take some time to remind yourself of the big picture. Are you still on track to accomplish your vision? Don’t let disruption and conflict knock you off your path. As you examine your decisions and your processes, make sure they are in line with your vision. Let your vision drive your decisions—rather than responding to the changing circumstances around you.

Focus on What Doesn’t Change

So often, human nature causes us to overact to change around us. Events happen that upset our equilibrium, so we immediately look to change gears to compensate. I recently posted an article that highlights the dangers of adopting a kind of “plan of the month” mentality. In situations such as the one we’re in, it’s important to focus on what doesn’t change, rather than on what’s changed around us. What hasn’t changed about your customers’ needs? What will remain constant? You might even want to make a list of those things (as they pertain to your business). Then start thinking about what your company could do differently to continue meeting those existing/unchanging needs in a brand-new environment.

Keep an Eye on Your Cash

A situation such as the one in which we find ourselves is a reminder of the need for cash reserves. This may be a wake-up call to reexamine your current cashflow and cash-savings situation. Do you have a “rainy day fund” that can help you survive times when your income stream is disrupted? How long can you last without a normal influx of cash? Explore other options (loans, investors, etc.) that you might use if cash becomes a problem. Be proactive. Doing the research ahead of time can save you from making a knee-jerk reaction or choosing an option out of desperation.

Keep Calm and Scale-Up

We tend to admire the British “Stiff Upper Lip” mentality. There are always new variations on the “Keep Calm and [Do Something] theme. That mentality is helpful for companies that are planning to scale. Keep calm and (continue) to scale up. Over the past week or two, I’ve talked to clients who are doing just that. Sure, they’re impacted by what’s going on, but they are not abandoning their visions. One is in the process of physically moving his company to enable it to scale. Another (on the East Coast) is considering new ways (i.e. online) to continue our coaching so that they can continue making the changes they need to scale their business.

Is the current situation serious? Based on what we know so far, we’d have to conclude that it is and that it’s not something to ignore or take lightly. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that it won’t last forever. As is the case with any business challenge, how you respond now that will determine your success later. Act responsibly in the short run but keep a long-range perspective. Make sure your vision is still right, then revisit your specific plans regularly.

Keep calm and scale up!

P.S. A colleague recently sent links to a few resources that provide additional perspective on dealing with the current Coronavirus situation. I found them helpful, so I’m passing them on to you for your consideration.

https://www.vox.com/2020/3/10/21171481/coronavirus-us-cases-quarantine-cancellation

https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-companies-can-respond-to-the-coronavirus/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Read%20the%20article%20now%20»&utm_campaign=Enews%20Gen%203/11/2020%20Version%20B

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/risk/our-insights/covid-19-implications-for-business?cid=other-eml-nsl-mip-mck&hlkid=f3eec2cf6ea2444c8702aa9cbcdf2bb1&hctky=11303608&hdpid=802e7585-5757-4ed6-9a6c-de278572bdf9

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/this-coronavirus-chart-shows-why-social-distancing-is-necessary?utm_source=deployer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Beltway+Confidential&utm_term=L2+Political&utm_content=20200312141232

 

Failing to have and pursue a solid vision in times of disruption is only one of the traps that a scaling business faces. I’d invite you to download our free How to Avoid the Growth Traps eBook so that you can learn about other common traps that scaling companies face as they transform themselves to meet the demands of our constantly-changing business environment.