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It's Not Time to Panic, It's Time to Pivot

If you aren’t talking with your team about how Covid-19 #coronovirus is going to affect your bottom line and strategic plan this year, it’s time.

In fact, for many businesses it's time to start thinking through a Plan B on your business model for 2020. This is especially true if your business is global or serves the public in person. Any business that requires people to show up in person will be affected this year. Events and travel will continue to be cancelled. Customer buying habits will shift. Countries (including possibly the US) will declare recession. This is not a “business as usual” moment.

Even if the downward spiral is halted in 30 days, there will be a longer effect on the economy and likely on your business. This is simply reality. It’s not time to panic, it’s time to plan your pivot.

Here are 5 questions you should be asking yourself, and your team, especially if you are a small business:

  1. How will my customers be affected and shift their buying habits due to recent domestic and global events? Think beyond the coronavirus here - financial market volatility, threats of recession on horizon, election year. Think globally if you serve or source globally.

  2. How does my business model and strategic plan need to shift this year to make up for a loss in revenue and what changes can I make immediately to stop the bleeding? There may be alternative streams of revenue you’ve been considering or wanting to explore. What would it take to enact them this year?

  3. Is there anything I should be doing now to scale back extraneous expenditures and operate more leanly? What other cuts will I need to consider in the future? What is the trigger for taking that action?

  4. How can I reassure my team that we are in this together and align them toward collaboration on solutions and toward our big outcomes?

  5. What adjustments do we need to make now to keep employees and customers safe and healthy? (Ie. working remote, disinfecting surfaces, limiting exposure, canceling travel and events).

As with any crisis, there are some businesses which will remain unaffected or even stand to gain from this event. But if your business isn’t one of those, it’s time to think through what you need to do to pivot this year. Even if we suddenly go “back to normal” there will be other crises arising this year, so if you don’t normally have a contingency plan, this is the time to create one. Your team and your business need you to remain level-headed right now and part of that is planning for “what if” scenarios before you find yourself in trouble.

If you are heading into or are in the middle of a launch, or other major initiative, recheck the feasibility of success under the new parameters your business may face. There may be things you can do to retool now that will protect you as this crisis unfolds.

If you are currently getting a business off the ground, or nurturing a new business or startup, start thinking now about how to recession-proof. Many financial analysts are predicting that we will see a recession this year or early in 2021. Start thinking now about what needs to shift in your strategic plan, operations and business model to deal with that possibility.

Whether you are a new or seasoned leader, this is the time to step up your leadership. Start by driving these conversations in your organization. Start asking the hard questions and rallying your team around finding solutions. You may not feel like you have the skills to deal with this kind of crisis or uncertainty, particularly if you haven’t been here before, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help and get a second opinion on what you are thinking.

Lisa Frost M.A., MIC specializes in coaching leaders to lead teams effectively through uncertainty, crisis and change. If you are a leader, struggling to lead during a difficult time, reach out to Lisa.

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