It’s the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment but, as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’ and eventually we will need to start thinking about life after covid. My new three-part blog series looks at moving on from crises and why businesses need to acknowledge what’s happened and learn the right lessons.
The way in which businesses showed up during the 2020 pandemic will define their reputation for years to come. Your reaction and approach, if positive and supportive, will be a key to future growth and success but only if you record them and use the information in your narrative.
Join the dots
It’s possible that your business looks very different to the way it did a year ago. Those changes could be minimal or material but, either way, it’s really important that you join the dots for your audience and tell the latest chapter in your business story. Put simply, you need to explain why you do what you do, and how you do it – and if Covid changed that, people need to be aware. Far from any changes being seen as a degradation of service or an unexplained departure from the norm, your business story should be one of flexibility and agility. People trust a business that can adapt and flex according to what is required and telling the story of how you survived the pandemic and subsequent deep recession is of paramount importance.
Where are you now?
Because the pandemic changed everything in life and business, businesses will have experienced far-reaching disruption. Your route to market may be different; you might be present on different channels (more social media activity, maybe, client meetings on Zoom?) or you could have drastically change the shape and purpose of the business. Are you still happy with your short and long-term business plan? It is essential to revisit your numbers to make sure pricing and profit forecasts are still accurate given any changes you have made. Whatever your story, resilience is at the heart of it and that is something to be celebrated.
Now is the time to be preparing some of this important background material upon which you will build your next chapter: that of the recovery.
A story to celebrate
Let’s look at one of the more recent major crises to hit the business world: the 2008 financial crisis. It hit business hard, especially smaller businesses who were forced to pay off employees, halt spending and investment and find new ways to survive. And the fallout was far-reaching too. The effect on commercial lending was considerable and suddenly loans to small businesses became virtually non-existent.
I’ve blogged before about opportunity emerging from crisis and, true to form, crowdfunding was born of this financial hardship. In the hunt for ‘alternative lending’, the online world stepped up and suddenly large numbers of people could participate in gifts, loans and shares to enable small businesses to raise the equity they needed to deliver on their plan.
So, what seems like a near-miss or a difficult time may actually simply be looked back on as a transformation to new and better things. Make sure your story celebrates what you’ve done during 2020.
Next time, I’ll be looking at what we’ve learned from this crisis and what we can take away – a little positivity to follow the uncertainty and sadness of the year.