22 May COVID-19: Week 10 Insights
Friends, clients, partners, and fellow community leaders,
We have now reached the 10-week mark since COVID-19 began impacting business and day-to-day life. In our conversations with business owners and community leaders, this milestone has generated a mix of emotions that include pride, exhaustion, frustration, and renewed commitment. Like us, you may even be feeling that full range of emotion several times a day!
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”
– Duke Ellington
Mindset matters and we encourage you to take this opportunity to apply your best effort to the many challenges before us. Three key observations and advice from Week 10:
- What business are you in? Too often, organizations become so entrenched in their established business model that they lose sight of what their customers are actually buying. A system wide shock like COVID-19 will disrupt many industries faster than usual and will result in the need for changes. Be wary – those changes are rarely embraced by incumbents. Ice making companies were replaced by refrigeration sales because they failed to realize their customers weren’t buying ice, but rather a way to keep things cold. Now is an appropriate time for businesses to ask what customer problem are they helping to solve and, as a result, what business are they really in? What changes to that business model will COVID-19 require? Avoid becoming so focused on defending your existing business model and the status quo that you fail to adapt in time.
- The path ahead will not be a straight line. Most government relaunch strategies portray our way forward in a series of linear phases. This helps illustrate the path but creates an expectation that we will move in a timely and orderly way between stages. It is more likely to be a process of back and forth with a few unexpected twists and turns. Also, different industries will likely experience each phase differently. The length of time COVID-19 will be present in our economy is uncertain and the severity its impact will have on your business will vary. To mitigate a one-size fits all strategy, consider developing contingencies for various future scenarios (e.g. short-term, severe impact vs long-term, modest impact) to ensure you are well positioned regardless of how this evolves.
- Run at a pace you can sustain for the entire race. In long distance running, to hold your pace through to the finish line there needs to be moments in the early stages of the race that you feel you are holding back and not giving it everything you have. For most high achievers, pacing is a difficult concept to master and many must experience a late race blow up before they truly appreciate the need to play the long game. In business and in life, we often want to go all out all the time. 10 weeks in, it is becoming evident that strategy will fail. Find a pace you can hold as at Week 10, we are still only in the early stages of this race.
Our insights from Weeks 1 to 9, along with other valuable resources, can be found here:
If you are in need of support, advice, or resources that can help you navigate the current business environments, please check out the wide range of FREE offerings available through Incite and the other partners involved in www.compasscollective.ca. The Compass Collective is an initiative of like-minded local professional service firms working together to bring complimentary advice and support to businesses in need.