How to Survive_ Adapting Your Business to the New Normal
Do you ever think about what it was like when you first opened your business? You were enthusiastic and full of energy for the promised future of your enterprise.

Few people knew about you and you had a long way to go, but you were excited! You dug deep for creative ideas and scrappily got the word out. As customers started to show up, you were beaming with pride and ready to serve. 

When they gave you feedback, you listened, you incorporated the new information improving your offer, and you created something that was exactly what your target client wanted to buy. This is what business coach Danny Iny calls the irresistible offer. Selling your offer got easier and easier the better you understood your client and their needs. 

Things were going great!

And then, BAM — the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. Remarkably, the impact has been uneven.

The Impact of COVID-19

Building a business resiliency plan can better your chances of survival through this economic downturn, as well as the next. #CentSai #entrepreneurshipideas #entrepreneurshipmotivation #economic

For some, the irresistible offer of yesterday looks different from the one for today. If you’re one of those owners, you feel like you’re starting over. Your sales have gone down and the impact is material.

For others, sales have gone up and the opportunities are clear and abundant. 

If your business is struggling and sales are in decline, you probably never thought you’d have to return to the scrappy early days, but that’s exactly where you find yourself.

Only this time, your wiser, older self, has years of industry and customer experience to leverage in your decisions for how to move forward. 

If your business is growing, you also feel the strain of the early, scrappy days. You’re working overtime to deliver on promises made and you’re burning the candle at both ends.

Both situations come with stress, and figuring out how to survive and do what’s right is hard. Regardless of which scenario you find yourself in, it’s possible to come out of this crisis better than before.

So how do you adapt and make smart go-forward decisions? 

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Preparing Your Business for Future Resiliency

Reflecting on pre-corona days, make a list of the areas where you knew things weren’t as stable as they needed to be within your business. Then, revise the list with new issues that have appeared in the first eight weeks of quarantine and what you anticipate for the new normal. 

Prioritize the list according to what you know you need to survive and find your new success.

Create a “Plan to Resiliency” chart to help you uncover solutions for the top one to three priorities and determine the next steps you need to take.

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This chart shows how to create this plan.

PLAN TO BUSINESS RESILIENCY
Issue  Solutions Next Steps
Insufficient cash to cover crisis period
  • Set up a line of credit with your bank that could cover 2 months of payroll.
  • Set up a monthly savings plan and work toward 3 months expenses in the bank.
  • Create a budget for each month left in the year to see your current financial status.
  • Create a financial dashboard that shows you how you’re performing to budget and review it monthly.
  • Establish a relationship with a business banker if you don’t already have one.
  • Meet with your banker to determine what you must do to qualify for a line of credit or increase your current.
  • If your bank is not able to meet your needs, begin exploring new business banker relationships at a small business friendly bank.
  • Set up weekly 30-minute financial review check-ins with your bookkeeper to make sure your books are accurate and that you’re doing the right things to qualify for the bank’s loans.
Loss of revenue due to loss of:

  • 1 or 2 major clients
  • All clients in a specific industry
  • Most or all clients buying the same offer
  • Diversify your client base so that a single client is no more than 10% of your revenue.
  • Specialize or diversify your offerings to attract prospects from multiple industries.
  • Extend your brand by developing 1 or 2 new offers so you have a portfolio of services or products and you aren’t relying on only a single offer.
  • Consider adding a revenue stream outside of your business such as real estate or consulting.
  • Analyze your business as it is today using a tool like the business model canvas (created by Alexander Osterwalder, a Swiss business model guru). You can find a template for this exercise by clicking here. 
  • Identify opportunities to evolve by creating new revenue models that will strengthen your business, making it more resilient for future threatening events.
  • Talk to clients, vendors, friendly competitors, and others about your business to get feedback you can incorporate into your planning. (Remember the early days of doing this exact exercise?)
  • Create an advisory board and meet monthly to present where you are in your plan for accountability and diversity of input.
Some employees failed to meet the heavier demands our sudden growth required of us and we upset or lost clients.
  • Upgrade your OJT processes and documentation. 
  • Revise your deliverable QA processes and make improvements where necessary.
  • Make time on your calendar for Operations Excellence reviews each week to make sure you’re on top of your processes and systems.
  • Pick an area of focus each week and communicate that with the entire team so everyone is aware of its importance and can contribute. 

Build Your Company to Survive in Future Crises

Recent history shows us that these disruptions are only going to increase as the volatility of the world gains speed. Disruptions to systems and logistics, access to markets, social unrest all over the world (e.g., Hong Kong, Chile, and Iran ), wildfires in Australia, heat waves in Europe, Brexit, fires in California, and a predicted destructive hurricane season on the horizon for 2020 are sounding alarms to business owners to prepare for what’s next.

While COVID-19 is the crisis we’re managing through now, the next one may be just as bad. No business is immune to sudden change, so take these warnings from Mother Nature and put your Resiliency Plan in place.

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The Bottom Line on Ensuring Business Resiliency

Before you decide this is too much work, take a moment to reflect on times before the pandemic: 

  • The successes you’ve experienced 
  • The ways you’ve grown, personally and professionally 
  • The relationships you’ve nurtured. 

Remember the spirit that you got you here. Don’t be afraid to go back to basics where you first started with a long way to go, re-imagining your promised future to ensure the resiliency of your business. Now get back to work and keep #ChangingTheWorld #OnYourOwnTerms.

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Belinda DiGiambattista is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, and financial controller and can be found at www.belindadi.com.

Building a business resiliency plan can better your chances of survival through this economic downturn, as well as the next. #CentSai #entrepreneurshipideas #entrepreneurshipmotivation #economic
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