By Giselle Hudson
(5 minute read)
“Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?”
Ten years ago, Jim Collins known, for his seminal book Good To Great, asked this question and followed
up with the book Great By Choice. In the first chapter titled Thriving In Uncertainty he writes:
“None of us can predict with certainty the twists and turns our lives will take. Life is uncertain, the future
unknown. This is neither good nor bad. It just is, like gravity. Yet the task remains: how to master our
own fate, even so.” COVID-19 has affected everything we’ve come to accept as normal. In order to move forward you need to adopt what Zen Buddhists refer to as beginner’s mind, where you drop all your expectations and preconceived ideas and like a beginner, rebuild your business around everything you’ve learned over the last year. You then choose which of the following steps you need to include, not just to get your business back up and running, but to be stronger and more prepared when change comes again.
Switch Between Two Gears: Transition and Transformation
To be successful in this environment means operating in two gears that move seamlessly across each other. Gear one manages the trusted transition back to the physical workplace with a focus on
mitigating risks for employees and customers. Gear two drives transformation based on the lessons learned through the COVID-19 crisis into a reimagining of work for the future.
Rethink The Workplace
Before COVID-19 you may have resisted any work from home idea, but now that some or all teams have
been working from home (WFH), you may choose to continue to do so. Here are four actions to support your WFH staff:
1. Ensure your software licences are up-to date.
2. If you haven’t already, purchase and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This allows employees
to securely access their desktop computers remotely along with critical network documents
necessary to thrive in remote environments. Determine your VPN’s maximum number of users
and whether additional bandwidth may be needed to handle overflow.
3. Set your employees up for success making sure that they have multiport hubs, USB chargers,
adapters and cables.
4. Guard against failing power by protecting your equipment and ensure that work is not lost
during a power outage so add surge protectors and battery backup USB systems to your list of
Do You Need Funding To Recover?
Your reality may be that you had some savings, but with COVID-19 it is more than likely that the rainy day fund is all but gone. You may need working capital to pump life back into your business. Explore ways that you might be able to get help. Review business loan terms from banks and other lenders.
Regardless of who you are considering approaching for financing, know all lenders require reassurance
that your loan will be repaid. Now is an excellent time to review your business and personal financials.
Many banks have online calculators which help you determine whether or not you will qualify for a loan.
If you don’t qualify for funding right now, then you need to go to the drawing board and chart a course
for revenue growth.
The Person With The Money Makes The Rules
The first step in creating a revenue growth plan is to start with the person who has the money: your
customer. What challenges are your customers facing now, post pandemic? Don’t guess. Ask them.
Remember you’re rebuilding, not relying on what’s past. You may realise there is an area you’ve overlooked before that has the potential for faster growth than one you’re currently targeting. Always remember if you can’t reach your customers, everything else is irrelevant.
You Need To Court Customers Differently
Courting customers today is similar to online dating, which means finding customers in a post COVID-19 landscape will be less about chance and more about performance marketing to generate leads. Before COVID-19 it was like going to as many parties or bars as you could in the hope you would find that special someone. It was a world filled with a lot of face-to-face encounters.
Today you will need digital strategies in order to rebuild your customer base and revenue. Make sure that you have a website and it’s optimised. Your website needs to be your BEST sales person. This essential checklist will provide all the information you need to get your website up to speed. Your customers must be able to order online so you need to quickly transition to an eCommerce platform. One of the ways to be in top search results from potential customers is to have a blog on your website
writing regularly about your services, challenges clients might face, and trends in your industry as a start. Also, leverage social media using thought provoking, uplifting posts that act like breadcrumbs, leading potential clients to your site, where you begin to introduce them to what you can provide.
Please Don’t Forget Old School Email
Especially after a lock-down, email remains the tool that allows you to speak directly with each customer allowing you to build on past relationships and develop new ones. Your messaging is key. Do not bombard with only sales messages. Be genuine by seeking to understand how to become a trusted guide and reputable advisor.
Look At The Past and Include The Present
Together with the analysis of the current business model and opportunities for new business models,
you should think about a vision for your company for the post-COVID-19 world. It may seem difficult to
think positively at this time, but to move forward you need to visualise now what you’d like to create in
the future. You have to focus on success and describe in the present tense what you see for yourself and
your business in this new season. Focus on change drivers that lead to new or changing customer needs,
where you can use your skills, as well as your resources to create offerings then build business models
that are in alignment with your revised approach.
Finally, Plan and Prepare For The Next Disruption
While COVID-19 may have caught you off guard, remember disruptions are inevitable. Similar to the way
the tide ebbs and flows, the same goes for the economy, which cycles through boom and then bust. You
also need to become a futurist, not just to model potential or plausible futures, but also to invent and
design them. If you do what needs to be done now, your business will have a much better chance at
becoming more resilient today and thriving regardless of the future economy.