Morph Worry into Planning

Fear and worry can immobilize you when uncertainty is abundant.  Activities you’d planned are postponed or canceled and businesses are closing in an attempt to control the worldwide pandemic.  It is unknown when activities can return to normal.  The stock market moves negative and positive in hundred- or thousand-point swings, contributing to the fear and worry employees, business owners, executive leadership and directors experience.  Continuing to focus on the fear, worry, uncertainty and more does not position your business recover stronger once the crisis subsides.

Winston Churchill said:

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.

Changing your mindset to focus on things you can control helps to alleviate stress.  When your focus has returned review your business for areas where improvements can be made.  If you compare where your business is during the crisis vs. where you want to be, your strategic plan, you have identified a gap(s).  If your plan has quarterly components, like revenue targets or the number of new customers, then you can compare where you are now with those numbers.  When they are not aligned, adjust your plan.

If your revenue numbers are low, be creative in how to can generate more revenue.  If you’ve purchased inventory that is sitting idle and not moving, are there new avenues to consider for selling that inventory online, discounted to cover costs, or others?

During uncertain times, use your creativity to identify new methods and mechanisms for improving your business operations once you’ve identified a gap between your current position and where you want your business to be.  Identify and research several alternatives to consider, evaluate the cost/benefit of each alternative, then select the alternative best suited to your situation today.  Update your goals and the action plan(s) to achieve them.  You may be able to begin implementation before your business returns to its normal state of operations.

Keep control of your emotions, allow yourself to review and plan for improvements in your business and then execute the plan.  Your team will look to you for guidance, reassurance, and stability during this time.  Keep them informed about new processes or actions that they perform once you re-open for business if you were closed.  More communication than less will keep your team engaged and possibly contributing ideas for improvements.  It doesn’t hurt to ask your team for their feedback on your ideas.  Their input can help to refine your ideas and provide better implementation plans.

Crises are rarely scheduled to occur; plan for them in advance, regardless of their size or magnitude.  The current environmental conditions were probably not part of your contingency planning or business continuity planning.  Use this situation to update your plans to help position your business for success and sustainability through difficult times.

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