One of the most disruptive results of a pandemic like the one we are currently trying to navigate our way through is the lack of recent precedent relative to how we should behave in these uncharted times.
Short-term, businesses are trying to keep their heads above water and not incur unnecessary debt. Some are faced with decisions around partial or total closure of their establishments; possibly having to lay off valuable, trained employees; ever-changing and sometimes confusing government regulations; and a wide range of fears relative to trying to make the best decisions for the physical, mental and emotional health of themselves and others in this new normal.
Most industries are now acknowledging that things will remain turbulent and uncertain at least throughout the remainder of 2020, with some types of businesses perhaps never returning to “the way they were.”
However, we are also seeing some corporate CEO’s who are seizing the moment in terms of making major pivots that may have been in the back of their minds for years, but were not necessary for their survival and were therefore put on the back burner to think about and execute “later.”
We have seen the following examples of that with some of the businesses with which we are associated:
- A company that has been contemplating a possible merger with a like-minded, complementary business has decided to move forward with that, in order to obtain improved economies of scale which they anticipate will lead to a more profitable delivery model.
- A business which has been grappling with how to motivate a couple of lackluster employees has decided to finally cut the cord.
- One of our clients was forced to decrease his previously robust marketing budget and challenged us to help him find a more efficient marketing and promotional model, based on quick turn-around results (which we did!).
- A company which had operated for years according to a well-defined (albeit, a bit sluggish) strategic plan has been forced to become more opportunistic, which has led them to enter some brand new markets that seem to have high potential for them in the future (pandemic or not).
There are some industries, of course, which are facing greater challenges and disruptions than others, with healthcare being a prime example. Our work in that sector has shown that the following actions are critical survival strategies for healthcare businesses:
- Serious exploration of potential partnerships which might lead to more cost-efficient delivery of services.
- Open-mindedness regarding cost structures on the part of providers, payors and policy-makers.
- A more nimble response to unanticipated events (i.e., the fast switch to telehealth as a result of COVID, for instance.)
- Greater understanding of how their marketing dollars are impacting their revenues.
- The value of clear, concise and helpful communications and messaging to their key audiences in times like these.
In summary, it is critical to spend the majority of your energy on those activities that will keep your business healthy and around for the long term, even if you may not have considered some of them as viable strategies in a pre-COVID world.