The Magic Cure? 4 Steps to Navigate an Epidemic in Business
A guide for fellow entrepreneurs and large corporations alike.
1. Remain Calm
Is it human nature to let fear take over during uncertainty? Try not to let it take control of the decision making process. You may very well regret those choices once that fear dissipates.
Instead, try to remain calm. Take some time to remind yourself that new challenges present a unique opportunity for growth. Craft your mindset so that you be able to pull from your experience and a realistic expectation of what the future might hold. Doing so will equip you with the tools you need to make better decisions.
2. Expect the Unexpected
Be fluid in the way you analyze indicators in the market. There will be changes and new information presented daily so try to take a forty thousand feet approach in how you use that data to create strategy. Resist the urge to react to the latest headlines in the news.
That means, in times of economic uncertainty, having a complete real-time understanding of your current financial position in comparison to your goals. Know whether you are liquid enough to outlast a crisis and whether you can afford to place profitability temporarily lower on your list of KPI's. In any event the market itself might force your hand in that regard but identify and evaluate the pros an cons of every high-level decision and take steps to mitigate risk as much as possible. Being creative might be your only way to survive.
Over communicate with all stakeholders (internal as well). Address their concerns upfront when possible, which will have a positive effect on engagement, productivity and ultimately profitability down the line. Expect the unexpected but work through the challenges together.
3. Focus on Increasing Equity in your Intangible Assets
This is the area I believe offers the greatest opportunity. There will be companies or entire industries even that might be on the brink of collapse but the people driving that business (potential or current customers) might be the most receptive than they've ever been to hear your message (whatever it is). Take time if you haven't already, to figure out what you want that message to be.
Now is the time to focus on growing your investment in things like brand identity, research and development (new patents), building more meaningful relationships and expanding your customer network.
4. Plan for business post Crisis
Remember that the epidemic will not last forever but the steps you take during the crisis could give you that competitive advantage you've been looking for.
In the end and although some things might change there will be a return to some form of "normal". At that time you will either need to employ resources to repair unintended damage or reap the rewards of your efforts during the crisis.