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 business world is no stranger to crisis but the 2020 pandemic will certainly be remembered for its persistence. Dealing with crisis is often about the importance of the initial reaction, protecting your brand reputation and damage limitation. Covid, however, keeps moving the goalposts.
Inevitably though, it will come to an end and it seems to be generally accepted that now is a good time to start planning for that. As John Chambers, ex-CEO/Chairman of Cisco Systems says “It’s time to reinvent or be left behind.” So, how do we go about that? Here are my three top tips:
1. Start with customers
As always, the people already doing business with you are the most important. Crisis or normality, it remains easier to do more business with existing clients than to find new ones. Focus on nurturing with an excellent client experience but also remember that your clients will also have shifted. Their businesses will have pivoted and you need to reassess their challenges and pain points.
2. Be clear
It’s really important that business leaders stay in the here and now and stick with the changes they have made. You’ve pivoted your business because of the pandemic but, even though it will eventually pass, that doesn’t mean you can revert to old ways of working. It’s rare for such a transformational period to pass without lasting change and there will be many new ways of working that will stick around. Don’t look at the end of the pandemic as an end point. You need to continue operating, riding out the transitional period by sticking to your guns about why your business remains the best in its field. Consistency and clarity are key here: businesses that demonstrate this will be trusted by their customers.
3. Revisit everything
The possibility of permanent change means revisiting all the moving parts of your business. You might have put emergency plans in place to get you through the crisis but there now needs to be a shift towards sustainable change in your policies and procedures. Systems might need to change to support the business adapting. Take time to fully assess the impact of any pivot you have made and set your business up for future success by putting the right foundations in place for the future.
An important part of this review is to take another look at your business plan and make sure you have captured those changes you want to continue with. Another good look at your numbers is also prudent to ensure pricing is still on the right lines. You may have been in survival mode for a period of time but you need to approach the coming months with a clear view of your finances to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
Next time, read about why it’s critical to rewrite your business story as well as reinforcing the operational aspects of what you do.