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  • Writer's pictureDarren M. Palmer

Life & Business PLANdemic: Post COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone around the world in some capacity. Life and businesses will not be the same, but there is a way to get better once a new normal surface.

Businesses have experienced a collapse of customer demand, significant regulatory modifications, supply chain interruptions, unemployment, economic recession, and increased uncertainty.

Like the health and humanitarian sides of the crisis, the business side needs ways to recover. Quick responses won’t work; organizations must lay the groundwork for their recoveries now. You have to begin planning in advance. And you have to create a plan that works for you. Think for a moment about what you have learned during this time and how your life and business can improve if or when something like this happens again.

We are not new to crisis or a decline in the economy but it is important to consider how you can pandemic-proof your life so no matter what comes your way, your life and business will not be as severely impacted as many have been during this current time.

Because this situation came out of nowhere, I had to shift a lot of things in my life and business. I have adopted a new framework of the Ps for my business plan.

- Position

- Perspective

- Projects

- Preparedness

- Partnership

- Production

What position should you attain during and after the pandemic?

To make smart strategic decisions, you must understand your organization’s position in your environment. Who are you in your market, what role do you play in your ecosystem, and who are your main competitors? You must also understand where you are headed.

Can you shut down your operations and reopen unchanged after the pandemic? Can you regain lost ground? Will you be bankrupt, or can you emerge as a market leader fueled by developments during the lockdown?

I have had many conversations where people are questioning their viability post-pandemic, including those in the travel, hospitality, and events industries. I also hear of different businesses accelerating their growth because their value propositions are in high demand. An example of this would be home office equipment, internet-enabled communication and collaboration tools, and home delivery services.

If you do not have something someone needs during a crisis, consider something your business could offer so you remain relevant.

You must take on a position of resiliency and continue to persevere no matter how things look right now. Begin with the end in mind. Keep pressing forward.

Take steps now to map your probable position when the pandemic eases.

What is your perspective for bouncing back?

Your perspective is everything. How you look at a situation helps you plan accordingly. If you have a perspective of panic, you may end up being someone who hoards the toilet paper and spam. If you have a perspective of opportunity, you will create a course of action pointing the way to the position you hope to attain.

It should explicate what you need to do today to achieve your objectives tomorrow. In the current context, the question is what you must do to get through the crisis and go back to business when it ends.

The lack of a plan and a negative perspective only exacerbates disorientation in an already confusing situation. When drawing up the steps you intend to take, think broadly and deeply, and take a long view.

Perspective means the way an organization sees the world and itself. In all likelihood, your culture and identity will change as a result of the pandemic.

A crisis can bring people together and facilitate a collective spirit of endurance — but it can also push people apart, with individuals distrusting one another and predominantly looking after themselves. It’s crucial to consider how your perspective might evolve.

What new projects do you need to launch, run, and coordinate?Your answers to the questions above should point you to a set of projects for tackling your coronavirus-related problems.

The challenge is to prioritize and coordinate initiatives that will future-proof the organization. Beware of starting numerous projects that all depend on the same critical resources, which might be specific individuals, such as top managers, or specific departments, such as IT.

With too many new initiatives, you could end up with a war over resources that delays or derails your strategic response. I will also add that you should use this time for more training and providing your team with new tools that will be beneficial when business increases.

Create new courses, help teach others, and make sure that you aren’t overcompensating with busy work because you feel you are lacking business.

What are some of the projects that you have been putting off that you can implement during this time?

How prepared are you to execute your plans and projects?

You need to assess your organization’s preparedness. Are you ready and able to accomplish the projects you’ve outlined, particularly if much of your organization has shifted? Assess how much has changed and be mindful that your team members have experienced changes as well.

There are currently big differences in preparedness at the individual, team, organization, and national levels. The resources at hand, along with the speed and quality of decision-making processes, vary greatly, and the differences will determine who achieves and who falls short of success.

Be aware that your clients and customers will remember how you reacted during the crisis. Raising prices during a shortage, for example, could have a significant effect on your customer relationships going forward.

How prepared was your organization culturally to deal with the crisis? Will the ongoing situation bring your employees together or drive them apart? Will they see the organization differently when this is over? Your answers will inform what you can achieve when the pandemic ends. You cannot operate from a place of fear or frustration.

Continue to prepare yourself and your business by getting more organized, creating better systems, keeping track of your numbers, finding ways to add value.

“Back to normal” implies the possibility of going back to exactly the way things were. In the case of this pandemic, that is not only misleading but potentially dangerous. The disruption and consequences caused by COVID-19 and the response to it are unprecedented.

Tip: Adopt a “re-build” rather than “resume” attitude.

Life was not just put on hold when the crisis hit. People don’t have a pause or rewind button. Life doesn’t stop so there’s no reason to stop living. It just may look different than before. Regardless of how each of us has been affected and responded, we are different now. Life is different now. Uncertainty and ambiguity aren’t going away. It’s okay to be uncomfortable as the world adapts to an evolving “new normal.”

Partner with others. Partnership and collaborating with others is extremely important and needed at this time. How can you partner with other businesses and individuals?

Look at products and services available within your company that could be beneficial to other businesses and vice versa. Now is not the time to retract and try to do everything yourself. Know your skill-set and utilize the skill-set of others to enhance your client’s experience.

Bring people on your platform. Create new opportunities to help spread awareness of other people’s businesses to your audience. You never know who is in need or how much of an impact it will make by referring a friend.

Many people entered this moment unprepared; few are ready for what’s next. You can’t afford to go into this “battle” without the proper tools or partnering with those who want to advance during this time.

Tip: There is no time like the present to invest in yourself and your business.

Enroll in learning courses on coaching, active listening, communication, and leadership. Grow emotional intelligence and team-building skills. If there ever was a time for empathy, trust, and compassionate communication, it’s now.

Everyone is now living, working, and growing on an exponential curve. Hop on board. You’ve got a one-way ticket, and your next stop has yet to be determined. Consequently, there is no getting back to business as usual.

The best advice: Prepare for business as unusual and be more productive than ever.

Maximize your production.

Produce. Produce more. Produce some more. If you are a business owner, you have to be in production mode. You can not forfeit your business because of the unknown. You need to have proper oversight in order to accomplish your goals. Keep tabs on all of the things that are going on in your business.

The best way to increase your production is to set stretch goals, not eliminate goals altogether. Just because there has been a lack of production going on around you does not mean that there has to be a lack of producing going on in your business.

One way to alleviate increate production is to cross-train your team members. This will allow you to fill the gaps as needed. If you are a solopreneur, you can use this time to train in other areas as well and build on some of the things that were an issue prior to COVID-19.

A productive business is one that takes how the different logistical variables impact their production goals. Use these tips to get you started on streamlining your process. You will want to do this so you can continue to be productive and come out stronger on the other side.

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