These are challenging and uncertain times. Business owners are in the midst of a major transition. What business owners are going through today with COVID-19 is very different from the gradual recession of 2008 and 2009. Today’s pandemic has caused a drastic and immediate impact for a large percentage of businesses.
Business owners need to reset expectations. To reduce the long-term impact, it’s wise to alter your planning now and get help from your advisers to make educated decisions.
If you don’t yet have a plan for how the future of your business will look, now is the time to create it. Begin by brainstorming scenarios of what your business will look like in the coming months and how that may impact the next few years. Some thoughts:
- Executive Level Planning: What will happen if the CEO or a member of your Executive Team falls ill and is no longer able to manage the business? A succession plan that outlines overall direction and guidance to operate the business in their absence is imperative. The best in class companies have a succession plan in place that both identifies the successor as well as an executable transition plan. Do you have information that addresses financial authorizations, access to staff information and messaging outlined for how to communicate with your customers? Are your systems and processes in place? Have you trained your entire leadership team to take the reins if necessary?
- Leadership Training: One of the more productive practices that is emerging from the Pandemic is the identification of those within your company who are “rising to the occasion.” This is an opportune time to give increased responsibilities to those you believe may have the skill-sets required to take on more leadership roles. Give them increased duties, let them make non-mission critical decisions and watch how they respond. Who are the natural leaders? Who can you rely on? Who struggles with the new pressure? Your next set of leaders will become apparent quickly.
- Adapting for the Long Term: All leaders, even the highly successful ones, must be able to adapt and reinvent themselves and how the business is being led. If those executives fail to change, the organization will stall and fail. This means embracing new technology, finding ways for your teams to successfully work remotely, learning to engage with employees in virtual meetings and using technology like Asana, Slack, Teams and Zoom to keep organized and productive while in constant communication virtually.
I also invite you to read my last article on optimizing this shift in how your traditional work gets accomplished in this new environment and then be strategic, plan, test, implement and repeat these tools. We cannot be ad hoc in our thinking. Your business needs to be more agile, nimble and more flexible than ever before.
Megan Davis Lightman
CEO, Davis Consulting Group