The coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19, has, and continues to shape our world. For two months, many countries were completely locked down. Only businesses deemed essential were allowed to operate as usual. It was like living in Bizarro world. Business effectively ground to a halt.
There were those that believed it was a hoax, others felt governments had overreacted. Personally, I’m glad governments did what they could to limit its spread. While my business suffered, I was reminded of something my wife said to me last year when a huge typhoon was to hit landfall on the first day of our trip, “It’s not worth our lives.”
The BLM protests that erupted across the States and in other countries all but assures us of a second wave. I hope I’m wrong. Even if it does reappear, governments won’t be able to resort to such drastic measures again. Instead, this time round, we’re going to have to learn to live with it.
Here in Japan, businesses started reopening the third week of May. There are plastic dividers everywhere. Employees wear rubber gloves. Face shields are being used by coaches. Restaurants can only operate at 50% capacity. Masks are commonplace.
This is the new world. I wish it weren’t, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Just this morning, two friends posted the same picture of a company called “Covid-19 Essentials.” I can’t see it lasting, but I do appreciate the entrepreneurship.
What I admire about the human race is its ability to adapt. No one wanted a pandemic, but it is what it is. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, torrential rains are the same way. Living in certain places means people have to accept the dangers that come with them. We don’t live in fear of them, instead, we prepare for them. People build shelters. We develop new building materials. Governments improve our existing infrastructure.
For everyone out there with their own business, or those thinking of going into business for themselves, we need to ask ourselves, “How can we grow our business in this new world?”
We must remember that not all businesses were in the toilet because of Covid-19. Mask manufacturers did very well thank you very much. Zoom went from being a relatively small player to a $40 billion company, surpassing the value of the top seven airlines. Supermarkets and wholesalers did just fine. And morbid as it sounds, I imagine funeral homes weren’t complaining. The point is that even in crises, there are opportunities.
Worst hit areas such as NYC, Spain, Italy and Brazil will have some real challenges moving forward. I read that in NYC alone 100,000 small businesses went out of business. What does that mean? It means there will be a vacuum. Entrepreneurs and businesses will look to full that void. Nature abhors a vacuum. Throw out a bunch of clothes and six months later your closet looks the same. The same is true for business.
The key is understanding what people in those areas want. Will fine dining rebound strongly? Are pop-up food stalls the answer? With clubbing essentially dead, will a new form of entertainment satisfy those customers? Will exercise boom? Brooks Brothers and The Men’s Wearhouse are gone, so will small boutiques be the new in-thing? Neiman Marcus, JC Penny and JCrew all bit the bankrupt bullet, what will take their place?
So, if you’re looking to navigate the treacherous waters ahead, here’s a simple 3-step action plan, and believe me, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.
Step 1: Analyze
Do your due diligence. Gather your figures. Talk to your customers. Talk to your competitors. Conduct surveys. The first step is always analysis. The better numbers you have, the easier it will make step two. Bear in mind, numbers might not always be right, but they do tell a story.
Step 2: Plan
Once you have the story, you can start putting together your plan. What actions need to be taken to take advantage of this unique situation? Who is in charge of what? What else might be needed to make sure things go according to plan? What problems do we foresee and how can we overcome them?
Step 3: Action
Lastly, as Tony Robbins says, “Take massive action.” With your plan laid out, go to work on making them a reality. Nothing ever goes according to plan, that’s to be expected, but a well-thought-out plan combined with massive action is a giant step in the right direction.