Reports from all over the word indicate that businesses are slowly returning or adjusting to new normal. For many this period of turbulence caused by Covid-19 is more extreme than anything they have known before.
With exception of 2007-8 financial crisis most of us are fortunate to have lived in a time of unprecedented stability, growth and prosperity. Historically we read that the world has survived many worse pandemics and crises. This gives us hope that this crisis will not last.
In times of turbulent people are prone to respond in different ways as witnessed currently in business and social life. There are those who see gloomy future, business failure and hopeless situation. Such will assume a pessimistic view and sack employees, stop being aggressive and innovative and resign to fate.
There are those who will seize opportunity to reorganise their business and life. They will embrace change and figure out how they can continue serving their customers and raid competitors’ territories as well either with new products or existing products repackaged and presented in new ways that conform with new normal.
Surviving any crisis in business requires some life skills and mindsets. Fortunately, life skills are learnable and accessible to all of us.
First you must be resilient. This is the ability to bounce back after a setback. It is the ability to absorb shock or adversity. You may have to conserve the energy you have by adjusting your lifestyle to reflect new realities until conditions have improved. Many businesses are doing this by cutting expenses and doing away with what is not necessary.
Second, be flexible. We learn from history that dinosaurs, the giant creatures that once roamed the earth died because they were inflexible to adverse conditions that the earth experienced in their lifetime.
Currently most businesses are creatively offering their services through online platforms and doing deliveries to beat restrictions. Others are developing local solutions to close the gap where supply chain has been cut off by Covid-19.
Thirdly, stick to your core business and avoid temptation to close down and chase new opportunities. They might turn out to be mirage.
For instance, if your core business is education, think of innovative ways of serving your customers and remaining true to your vision and mission. Do not think of rushing to opportunities in food industry where you are least equipped and you may take time to learn its operations.
Third, be mentally prepared to face the worst that may happen to your business. Then develop a plan to do your best to prevent the worst from happening.
Finally, don’t only focus on short term pains and gains. Look at the bigger picture and be willing to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.
Become a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation, better positioned to do well when the market improves. This does not mean rushing to close operations to for the sake of cutting cost and conserving cash in a way that hurts business. We all know tough times don’t last but tough people do.