While a crisis can’t be predicted, it can be prepared for. But how does your business truly prepare? You can either learn from other companies that fought a crisis and came out victorious in the past, or better yet, experience your own crisis. Much like people, a business may not know itself as well as it thought until getting pushed to the breaking point; it’s then that the very core is exposed. In the midst of it, a crisis is wished away by everyone in its path, but the list of people that say things like…
- “Never let a good crisis go to waste” – Winston Churchill
- “Out of crisis comes clarity” – Randolph O’Toole
- “Within crisis are the seeds of opportunity” – Marilyn Monroe (taken with a grain of salt of course!)
…is seemingly endless. So, the key is that every crisis provides major insight – insight about what the strongest and weakest parts of a business are and, ultimately, whether the foundation was strong enough to ride out the storm. Believe it or not, what seems like hell for your business during the coronavirus pandemic, can actually be leveraged later. Just ask yourself these questions:
Were Day-to-Day Operations Unaffected?
If your business operations were largely unaffected during a crisis, this means you had the most fundamental resources: enough technology, the right employees, strong leaders, and a solid structure.
If getting your team through a single work day during the crisis was a big struggle, this should pose some questions. Your business might have been low on resources like laptops, communication software, strong leaders, and focused employees.
Was Team Moral High Enough To Fight Back?
If your team had a fighting spirit, then they respect the company, the leaders, and would do whatever they could to make the brand last. This lets you know that you’ve given employees compensation to meet their basic needs and then some, whether it’s a great culture, exciting/fulfilling work, or a sense of appreciation.
If the team was too discouraged to put up a good fight, then this reflects poorly on the company as a whole. Employees might feel underappreciated, undercompensated, overworked, a general sense of distrust, or just downright confused.
Were Major Pivots Made Successfully?
During a crisis, you will be forced to change elements of your business, whether that entails things like remote work and aggressive selling or being put into the throes of making tough layoffs. If your company was able to make the difficult adjustments and still carry on, count it as a big win.
If the hard pivots didn’t result in success, then you may want to rethink the way you operate. Your employees might not be the flexible and adaptable people you need. Or maybe there weren’t enough resources to stretch across the team. The important part is to acknowledge that change was hard for your company and to create protection and resolutions in the future.
Was There New Business Coming In?
The sales team was a well-oiled machine, the product and services were needed, and the entire organization pulled together to create cash. This means your team showed skill and commitment and that your product/service had demand, with an advantage over competition.
This is where it can get tricky. You may want to ask if your business provides a strong enough product or service. It may also help to explore if you’re in an industry with security and longevity. If there was a sharp decline in new business during a crisis, then this could mean making a major change to avoid a collapse in the future.
Was The Safety Net Big Enough?
If this is the case, then you’ve either made a ridiculous killing off a very profitable product or service, or your brand has cut out some of the fun and extra spending over the years to support itself when disaster strikes. However, doing this takes a combination of insight, discipline, and no doubt some good fortune.
There just wasn’t enough in the reserves to support the war. We all hear it and deep down know the importance of planning for the worst. One of the most popular pieces of personal advice is to save at least 3 months of living expenses in the bank – but what does this look like for businesses? It could mean training yourself to skip all or most unnecessary payments throughout the year, like over-the-top work parties, new hires with super high price tags, and all the small add ups like tech tools or too many company lunches.