Surviving Covid 19: 7 Steps for Business Crisis Management

We are living in an uncertain time where things are changing by hour. From 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, I get numerous calls from clients, students and friends siting their concerns around economic stability impacting their lives and businesses. I agree that what we’re seeing now is unprecedented in terms of reach and volatility, but the world has seen changes and turmoils in the form of wars, 9/11 and multiple financials crisis. The silver lining is that we’ve always come out of it stronger than before. Collective human resilience is extremely powerful.
The bigger question is, what we can do right NOW that can minimize the damage and sets us up for success in the future. Here are 7 steps to take control of what is controllable in your business:

  1. Accept that it is happening. Denying it, getting into unnecessary talks and minutiae details will not help you or your business. Acknowledge that we are in one of the most uncertain times of the history. Acceptance and acknowledgement will put you in the right frame of mind to handle it.
  2. Assess the current situation of your business and identify risks associated with the current crisis. Don’t try to answer all the questions at this stage, just evaluate right now. Make sure you are listing all the controllable risks at this stage. Some critical areas to evaluate in crisis are:
    a. Impact of income/sales/revenue: What could be the potential lost or delayed revenues?
    b. Impact on expenses: There could be additional expenses that need to be incurred depending on industry you operate in. This is also a time to critically evaluate expenses that are not “must haves”.
    c. Impact on customers/clients: Evaluate all the factors that could lead to customer attrition or dissatisfaction. Assess their pain points, habits and changing behaviors.
    d. Regulatory landscape: There are always regulatory changes that follow larger scale crisis like Covid-19. Evaluate how these regulatory changes impact your business, your employees and your industry overall.
  3. Mitigation follows the situation and risk assessment. Think of all the steps that would lessen or eliminate the risks posed to your business. This is your plan where you line up your resources, primarily- people, technology, financial resources (cash is king-more on that in this post) and relationships. Minimize those risk to the best of your ability. It’s important to know that under extra-ordinary circumstances like these, not all risks can be mitigated. Once you’ve taken care of the controllable, you can move to step number 4.
  4. Adopt to the new ways of doing things. With assessing and rearranging your plan, it will create some new ways of doing things and it will have its pain points. Be agile, keep your mission in mind and keep going. This agility will be your strength in changing times.
  5. Communication to your key stakeholders in critical in this process. Be transparent with your shareholders and vendors and keep your employees motivated as you can’t catapult your business out of crisis without them.
  6. Operationalize your plan and Monitor regularly. In crisis like these, situations change by hour. A regulation might change, or a channel might shut down. Constantly monitor, reassess and pivot.
  7. Look for the opportunities: Any crisis, especially the ones like Covid 19 can be a huge stressor for everyone. No matter how unfortunate this may feel but there are always upsides in these situations. In uncertain times like these there could be an opportunity for a new product, a new distribution channel, a new way of doing things or may be an entire new customer segment. Keep your eyes and minds open!
    What steps are you taking to make your business survive and thrive in these uncertain times?

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