COVID-19 will structurally change business and spark increased innovation for good! Not only aimed at entrepreneurs but any business leader dealing with crisis; This is to be a positive gyration on current updates and articles on COVID-19. This pandemic is certainly impacting the world greatly and creating crisis globally. The business impact is seen across nearly all industries but as business leaders or entrepreneurs you can chose how you view the business future. Our primary obligation in to keep our staff, our family and our community safe; this means that we need to head the advice of the authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) within these parameters there is still great impact we can make on our business (even from home).
Something that is not being spoken about much is the mental and emotional impact on people being removed from their community and business circles. Something that adds to this, specifically for solopreneurs’ and entrepreneurs’ is the stress of failure and financial hardship.
Admittedly I have widely been referred to as an overly optimistic person so this statement has a bias, however I believe that how positively you come out of this depends on how mentally positive you go into it. This pandemic has slowed down business for many and unfortunately may even be fatal to others. One view could be that there is nothing you can do about a pandemic and if you cannot see clients / develop product / be in a lab / meet my team, then you cannot get your job done. Another way to look at it would be to analyze really what determines success and then find a way to complete a productive milestone towards this success daily. Another look at all the important but not urgent tasks you have put off over the last 6 months because you have been knees deep in business operations.
A few suggestions on how we can work around COVID-19 while keeping our selves and community safe, some may be irrelevant which you may choose to alter. To do this you may want to ask yourselves the below questions:
- How are my staff handling this time? Are they getting all (empathy, access to tools etc) they need from me at this time?
- Have I reviewed my strategic vision and plan for the business lately? (Do I have one?)
- Do I have all of the procedures and processes in place that are required by my best operating business?
- What does my training and development program look like? What can I do to enhance it.
- New Market Research; what other jurisdictions and countries will my product / service thrive?
- Speak to experts, get advice on business in general – yes it might be on the phone but they have as much time to spare as you do?
- What is my sales and marketing plan looking like, review its success against competitors?
- What could I do on-line or from home for my community, can I commit time or support in anyway?
The below are four (4) general area’s where we can all submerge ourselves in during this time which will pay off for our businesses in the long run. Some of these may not be relevant as every country is dealing with the pandemic at different stages.
Strategy Development: One area that we often do not have time to focus on is our strategic goals for the business. Many of us are busy working IN the business and don’t have time to work ON the business. If you are like me you are too busy to do a stock take on the achievement and alignment of the business with its strategic vision. This down time away from staff may be just that time! Then you may ask; To meet my mid-term (~1 – 5 years) what actions can I start today? Other questions you may ask to push your creative juices are:
– Is there another way to deliver my product or service during this time?
– Is there another product that the market would now accept that we can supply?
– What is in my technology portfolio to deliver the above?
Human (HR) Resources Support: Be there for your people, this time is hard for everyone and just because you cannot see them does not mean they do not need you. You may have more time now so schedule more one on one chats and spend more time getting to know them and their needs. To the above point, see what they think we can improve or innovate to achieve our strategic goals. Connect with those abroad you do not speak to enough. This goes for family and friends as well. Remember your mental strength can be derived from community and being part of something, so make sure you are connected and committing.
Process Review & Documentation Creation: Maybe it is just me but surely everyone hates doing this? It is usually at the bottom of the pile of chores and seldom gets the attention it probably deserves. This is the time to review and create (not to many procedures) when the world returns to normal then you won’t have time to do this again.
Research: More than 70% of all expanding companies say that they could have done more research on the new market / country that they moved into. Yes I said it, research new markets. I am not saying make the move now but the key to getting through this is optimism and being more prepared than your competition. As per the question above – this is also the time to talk to experts or mentors as they have time on their hands. We for example have had a number of global mobilization projects and working visa’s cancelled by our large MNC clients, so we have more than enough time to speak, consult or advise on any new country entry or company incorporation you are looking at in Asia pacific. Or download a whitepaper if you don’t feel like speaking to us :).
Whatever you choose to do, do it in a safe way but stay optimistic about the future and we will all get through this. Speak to each other and yell out when you are in need of help. If we do choose to go out for meetings (which is still permitted in some countries) we can do it in a safe way using distancing, small groups and even questionnaires like the mail chimp we are using (link if you want a copy). www.agilehumansolutions.com
Written by Leon Farrant