Exploiting a crisis
Be careful how you do it.
I wrote this article a few years ago and it has been a useful reference many times – even before the pandemic crisis, a Russian invasion of Ukraine, rapidly rising inflation and punishing interest rates. It advises of appropriate management tactics to survive and thrive through challenging times, but use them with caution. Don’t overdo it!
Managing in Difficult Times
- Stay focused Avoid being distracted by the bombardment of bad news. Misery may love company, but everybody remains miserable if you just talk about it and do nothing. Be creative and don’t neglect the good news; look for the silver lining in the dark clouds.
- Be relevant Costumers will be postponing or redirecting their purchase decisions. Can you keep their business with new services, packaging, pricing, terms and conditions?
- Leverage the sense of urgency Employees and customers are sensitive to the same issues and challenges and will be amenable to new solutions. More likely to accept cost cutting, postponing projects, revising compensation and benefit plans, changing business models, re-aligning marketing programs, raising prices and reducing services. Take advantage of the sense of urgency that exists; just be cautious not to do permanent damage to employee, customer, and supplier relationships.
- Recognize the changing environment Revise your corporate budgets and business plans. Update external benchmarks to remain competitive.
- Look for new opportunities Build on the losses of shaky competitors; or buy them out.
- Talk to your bank Make sure they are not worrying unnecessarily; or at least worrying for the right reasons and hearing directly from you.
- Avoid being the unwilling prey Manage appearances; be prepared to take the initiative. Know your value and your preferred business partners.
In summary: Be brave, be flexible, be creative.
We are currently living through extremely challenging times with multiple crises all happening at the same time. The extended duration of stress and disruption to our lives and businesses can lead to over-reaction to new disturbances and bad decisions that may cause irreparable damage – employees quit; clients and customers go elsewhere.
Be cautious about exploiting the crisis. Employees and customers may be receptive to accepting changes because they understand they current conditions affecting everyone. Supply chains have been disrupted, skilled labour is lacking, but arbitrary and unjustified price increases and cancellation of services are not acceptable.
Be reasonable; be rational. And manage the message.
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.
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