If you’re a business owner, consider triaging your company into three categories: Responding to the threat, Recovering from the threat, and Resurrecting from the threat. These are the three R’s of the COVID-19 Battle.
The first point of reference is to understand what we do as humans when we are attacked. In short, we go primal and react with a cover-and-flinch response. We are hard-wired to do so. There is a tremendous and very valuable body of work by Tony Blauer worth reading while you are in “lock down” that sheds light on this very human quality. Tony has been one of my coaches over the years, and from him I’ve learned how you can shorten your response time to the attack and quickly convert it to become a tactical defense.
Let’s break down the best COVID response tactics for a business owner to adopt.
COVID-19 has frozen the world. As a whole, nearly every industry has put hiring on indefinite hold due to lack of a horizon – a foreseeable end point when the whole thing will be over. The hiring that has not been put on hold has slowed dramatically and been moved to telephone interviews and video interviews. Candidates that were interested have hunkered down and have a reduced interest in interviewing, especially since they have a job and times are uncertain. So, the supply and demand dynamic is immobile.
For most business owners, the initial response to COVID-19 was to flinch. Some search firms cut jobs completely, especially new hires, admin roles, and other positions perceived as non-essential. Landlords were contacted for rent reductions, salaries across the organization were reduced, and banks were contacted for deferred payments. SBA loans and other “financial relief programs” are pursued for survival. Cash is hoarded because of the need for liquidity and the ability to respond quickly to whatever may come next.
These are all good and prudent moves as we fight for our lives. Now that we have flinched, we now have a moment to consider options and begin planning a tactical response.
OK, you are still standing. Deep breaths. That means you are still in the fight. As good entrepreneurs, you are still all about making money. That includes bringing money in, and leveraging your relationships with bankers, lawyers, accountants, landlords, clients for early payment of invoices. Makes total sense. Good tactics.
The only real threat right now is the one in your mind — your fear. But F.E.A.R. is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real. Nothing, not a single damn thing that you are projecting forward in the future, has already occurred. However, you are making it very real and it is inhibiting your ability to respond tactically and offensively.
How dare you doubt yourself! You have just outnumbered yourself. Two to one. You against a single opponent who now has your fear on his side.
Back to Recover. First lesson, define yourself by what you do and not how you do it. For example, restaurants are not in the business of providing eating environments but rather, of making and serving business. The core of what restaurants do stays the same even if the food is prepared for take-out exclusively.
You will decide how you are going to be resurrected. My guidance as you proceed down that path is to remember to be defined by what you do and not how you do it.
You stay engaged with your market and the individuals in it. You create additional services for your partners as they come back on line. You lead the way and create a brand new category of business.
Some people will find a million reasons why something will not work. Others will only need a single reason why something will. Good or bad, you will find what you look for.
Wishing you the strength and courage you need. I will be here if you need me and I will see you on The Other Side. — Joe