HOW TO RESET YOUR GROWTH MODEL IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every business. Entrepreneurs are reevaluating how to grow in this new environment to survive and thrive in the long term. You will likely need to reset your business’s strategy and growth model now, in the next few months, and over the next few years.
In doing so, we recommend that you take the following steps:
Step 1: Tap in to Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
COVID-19 is going to open the doors to innovation. You need your entrepreneurial ecosystem for collaboration, to get ideas and feedback, and to help you know what questions to ask. It’s so important to ask the right questions. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Old questions won’t help, but new ones will—and ask a lot of them. Your entrepreneurial ecosystem will help you understand how you should grow considering your people, your financials, your balance sheet and the health risks that go with them. There are a lot of naysayers and freaked out people out there. Now more than ever it will be necessary to tap into an ecosystem of positive, like-minded, thoughtful folks facing the same thing you are.
Step 2: Uncover the Root Issues
To be candid, entrepreneurs don’t do a good job of uncovering root issues. I often see entrepreneurs solve symptoms of problems but not the root issues of the problems—in part because they are not asking the right questions. You really need to drill down and work hard to identify the root issues. Make sure you understand what they are, and start solving to them. It might be that the root issues aren’t entirely obvious and they may have changed in the new world order. Ask yourself what the root issues are today, what they will be in the next three months, and in two years.
Step 3: Align Business Growth and New Root Issues with Life Goals
Make sure you are aligning your business growth and the possible new root issues with where you are trying to go in life. Has the pandemic impacted the way you view your life? I’m hearing from some folks how much they are enjoying time with their kids during the stay at home order. Time they didn’t have together before. Will vacations be different? Will there be more staycations? COVID-19 will have long-term effects on people and families, so you must know what you want to accomplish in the long-term. The healthiest and most successful businesses result when the entrepreneur’s life goals are aligned and integrated with the business goals. So many people talk about having balance. Balance is tough. Balance is a give and take, whereas life goals are about integration—how you integrate your life goals with your business to be the best you can be.
Most of us have never experienced a worldwide pandemic first-hand, but we anticipate there will be three distinct periods of time in the future that will have significant impact on small business:
The Next 2-3 Months
Business growth (if any) will be largely dictated by things that are out of your control—the spread of the virus, government mandates, small business programs, etc. During this time frame, you’ll be solving problems, identifying root issues, taking advantage of opportunities, and playing defense. Most of us will get through this time period with brute force.
2 Years in the Future
We are faced with a whole new set of problems we didn’t know we had a few months ago, but we clearly did. We are confident that innovation will provide an opportunity for us to revisit and reset our businesses, and come out of this pandemic stronger. Someone will develop a way to kill all viruses in a hotel or a plane, or build a car or airplane with virus-free services. There is money sitting on the sidelines waiting to invest in innovative companies and solutions.
Beyond 2 Years in the Future
This is a murky window, and it’s hard to see because so many changes are coming that are long term. What does a safe business look like? What does technology really do long term? Technology is great and has a big part in the future, but it doesn’t replace critical face-to-face conversations. Human beings still have a need for that, so there will have to be a balance around how to use technology in business going forward.