“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
Before March 2020, world markets were in full swing and unemployment was at an all-time low. Fast forward to Mid-March 2020. In the blink of an eye Covid-19 was upon us. Chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics summarises it best when he compares the plunge to “…a natural disaster, a terrorist attack and a financial shock all at once. We’ve never had this in history.”
Covid-19 has thrown the world into chaos. The disruption caused has challenged us all, exposed our blind spots and tested us to the extreme. But …
It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to adapt, improve and transform. You just need the tools. The steps to face disruption head on and evolve into something stronger, leaner and ready for the upturn.
Conduct a Short-Term SWOT to gain a clear picture of the current state of your business.
Andy Bailey recommends that the first step is to go back to basics and gain a clear picture of the current state of your business. You can only chart an efficient path to get where you want to go, when you know precisely where you are. The best way to pinpoint your precise coordinates is with a short-term SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis. One that identifies where you are in this exact moment.
Ask everyone on your leadership team to fill this out independently. Compile everyone’s answers and then come together to agree on your collective responses.
- Strengths: These are the internal capabilities, attributes, skills and/or assets within your control you can optimise.
- Weaknesses: These are the internal factors within your control you can eliminate.
- Opportunities: These are those external factors that could help the organisation grow. Conceptualising and targeting these opportunities are in your control but the result is beyond your control.
- Threats: These are the external factors that are beyond your control that are hurting or could hurt your organisation.
Now that we know where we are, let’s dig in so we can chart a plan toward offense. The following are a list of questions / issues that you should be considering.
- Have you done your 90 and 180 Day Cash Flow Projections and are updating Weekly?
- Have you done your better, worse and “really bad” budget scenarios for 2020. What is the most likely case? Document your working assumptions.
- Have you made the expense cutting adjustments that you need to ensure Cash Flow?
- What are you doing to (a) secure additional cash resources and (b) reduce immediate expenses?
- What is your current cash flow runway? How long can you stay in operation if there are no more sales?
- What are the borrowing opportunities available to bridge the gap?
- Relief – What government relief is helpful to manage through this crisis? Have you applied for all of the Government Assistance that is available to you?
- Do you have a COVID team in place that is meeting regularly to stay on top of latest news/ working assumptions?
- Have you done a “Brutal Reality” Exercise using the Stockdale Paradox questions?
- Name three things you have been avoiding in your business. What can you do today to bring these issues out into the open?
- Which parts of your current reality – parts out of your control– are you refusing to accept? How are you holding on to the past?
- What “red-flag mechanisms” can you put in place to make sure you are confronting reality?
- Will your offerings / product still be viable in a post-Covid world?
- Market strategy – Where can we pivot and what new opportunities are available for us? Has your the business model shifted affecting distribution channels, core customer, margins OR something else in our business model? Do you need to decide if/ how you will pivot or stay the course.
- Acquisition – Are there any companies that we may pursue that would complement our offerings/business?
- Contracts – What contracts could be renegotiated?
- Restart Plan – Do we have a plan for the first 30 days, and does it include scenarios if things change?
- Information access – What employees are a single holder of information that if they became ill would place risk on the business?
- Virtual considerations – What needs to happen with technology or processes to move to a full virtual environment?
- Personnel Management – What is our restart date and what essential employees must return first?
- Physical considerations – Does the office space have to be redesigned, do employees need PPE, and should we adopt new cleaning protocols?
- Policies and Procedures – Do we have new operating policies for our employees, guests, and customers that we will interact with?
- Meeting rhythms – How will you stay connected with everyone in a virtual environment?
- Company culture – Who is the culture warrior during these times and is keeping the workforce in harmony?
- Team retention – How can we stay connected to those furloughed or laid off to keep them engaged so they are not lost?
- Hiring – Are we positioned to take advantage of talent that becomes available?
- Employee development – What can we do to groom our personnel with training and development? Is everyone on the team is a B+ or better?
- As a core leadership team, what is the common language we want to use as we communicate with our employees?
- What is our formalised process for addressing questions our people have?
- Emotional and family support – What employees and families have fallen on hard times or need help managing family situations in order to be able to work?
Customers: What are we doing to help our customers and retain our current business?
- What do customers need today that they didn’t need two months ago?
- How are we making it Easy for our customers to do business with us?
- Customer communication- What are our communication rhythms and strategies for connecting with customers? How should we be reaching out to our customers?
- What are we communicating that will build confidence in our brand?
Sales: What are we doing to grow sales and take care of our pipeline?
- What can our team do virtually that they have historically done in person?
- What other products/services could we pivot to and serve existing clients as well as attract new/different?
- What new sectors/markets could also benefit from our core products/services?
- Virtual Sales – Are we able to continue selling in a virtual capacity?
- What technologies could/should be considered to leverage virtual work transition in each of the categories listed above?
- How are our current tech gaps creating slowed forward progress? How could those best be overcome immediately and what needs to happen for a more sustainable change?
- Is there anything in our current tech stack that could be better utilized in our current environment?
With Thanks to the following for their work in compiling this blog:
- Andie Bailey, Scaling Up Coach & CEO Petra Coach
- Jim Jubelirer, Scaling Up Coach
- Cheryl Beth Kuchler, Scaling Up Coach
- Chris Cosper, RhythmSystems.com
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