The country is slowly starting to wake up from the slumber it has been in for the last two months. Every day, a few more shops and businesses are opening their doors again. And although we still need to keep our distance and use hand sanitizer a gazillion times a day (ask anyone who’s shopping for winter clothes), it’s good to be around people again.
That doesn’t mean our businesses are safe yet; most took a huge knock to their income, many closed their doors for good. But maybe the scariest thing right now is the uncertainty. We know things are going to be different, but we don’t yet know how things are going to play out.
When we’re faced with this level of uncertainty, we typically fall back on one of these common reactions:
- Getting lost in feelings of overwhelm and frustration. In worst cases, paralysis can set in and instead of thinking ahead and planning for problems, we just react to them as they happen, or ignore them completely and hope they go away.
- Playing the blame-game. It’s easy to want to blame someone when things get out of control, whether you’re blaming yourself, someone else, or external forces you have no control over.
- Just carrying on with a business-as-usual mindset. This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, but it is. The world has changed – in many ways that we don’t even realise yet – and to act as if nothing changed can be devastating to your business.
So, what is a better way to handle the road forward?
Look at Your Business with Fresh Eyes
The crisis gave us the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate what is really important to us and our businesses. To think about how we can do things better.
Now is not the time to handle your business with kid gloves. You may need to rip things apart and stitch them back together again, in a completely different way. This is not easy to do, so here’s a step-by-step process to help you to reevaluate your business and come up with a plan for a lean, resilient business that can weather the storms.
Step 1: Distance Yourself from the Business
Before you do anything else, you first need to remove your feelings from the equation and look at your business as if it’s someone else’s. Forget about the blood, sweat, and tears you already invested – as long as you view your business through the lens of its history, you’re not going to come up with fresh ideas for its future.
This is often hard to do on your own; we’re too near to our own creations. If you need help, set up a meeting with us so we can help you work through the change. We may not understand your business and industry the way you do, but we can ask the right questions to trigger the light bulbs to go on in your head.
Step 2: Do Your Homework
What is broken in your business? Think about your day-to-day processes, the way you serve your customers, or the products you currently offer that don’t serve a post-corona world.
Also, look at the trends in your industry. Will similar businesses turn to online shopping? Will there be a bigger focus on exports? Which new products will be manufactured locally that were previously imported?
Countdown recently opened the first purpose-built e-store in the country, and many are following. In the recent budget speech, more money was allocated to boost the export industry and to help small businesses who want to incorporate e-commerce into their business models. Maybe these are trends worth exploring.
Step 3: Define Your Vision and Goals
Once you’ve done your homework, you can start to paint the picture of where you want to take your business. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to do business? Do you, or your staff, want to work from home more often? Do you want to add online shopping or meet with your clients through Zoom? Which products or services do you want to offer?
Break your vision down into actionable goals and put a date and numbers around your goals. If you need help creating your forecasts, let us know.
Step 4: Create a Step-by-Step Roadmap
The next thing you need to do is to put a more detailed A-Z plan together. What are the steps you need to take to go from where you are now, to where you want to be?
Think about where the gaps are in the business. What do you currently have in place that doesn’t serve the new direction; what is not aligned with the new vision?
Also consider the new business risks – both specific to your plan, but also the industry and economy as a whole. What do you need to do to mitigate these risks?
Step 5: Implement, Test, and Refine
Once you’ve created your roadmap, you need to implement it. But remember, the version you put in place now will not be the final version. It will change, and that’s okay.
Be flexible, and make changes as and when you need to. The quicker you can react when you see something is not working the way you expected, the more resilient the business will be.
How Are You Rewriting Your Story?
A change is as good as a holiday. But a disruption, like we’re experiencing now, allows us to completely rewrite our destiny – for the better.