Starting-up is hard to do
Re-starting in a pandemic is even harder
It’s time to pull out your original business plan and start re-thinking and re-writing it. Assuming you have one, I’m sure it didn’t include a contingency plan to survive a pandemic shutdown. Now you need a new plan to re-start your business in a world recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
The value of having a plan and the process of preparing one remain the same as ever. Answering the original start-up questions again. Why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish? Who cares? How can I succeed?
Go back to basics. Develop a strategy and operating plans that are relevant and appropriate to the new realities of the next phases of the global pandemic. Don’t chase short-term opportunities. Somebody else will be better at manufacturing personal protective equipment or designing a contact tracking app. Focus on leveraging your unique strengths and capabilities into a new sustainable plan for long-term growth and profitability. Take advantage of the willingness of employees and customers to accept change and to demonstrate their loyalty to your business. Respond in kind with sincere gratitude and appreciation for their support.
Don’t make it complicated, the objective is to prepare a one page summary that answers these questions clearly and concisely:
- What is the purpose of the business?
- Who are the target customers?
- What are the investments required to re-start?
- What is the revenue required to be profitable again?
- How soon can we get there?
The detailed analysis and planning needs to include your management team. Their input and commitment to the plan are essential before communicating it to employees and customers.
Some additional useful tips from The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans:
- Review how competitors are adapting their business model in response to new restrictions and new opportunities.
- Test alternative scenarios and their impact on the expected financial results.
- Do not force your forecasts beyond reasonable expectations into the realm of hopeful fiction to arrive at a happy ending.
- If the plan doesn’t work, revise it and try again.
- Confirm the support of strategic partners, especially for financing.
- Define specific measurable performance objectives and a timetable with set milestones.
- Continuously monitor the results and make necessary changes to achieve your performance objectives.
It was not easy getting started the first time. It will not be easy to get back on track delivering valuable products and services to customers and meaningful employment to your staff. It will require the same determination, creativity and teamwork that worked the first time.
Be better. Do better. And take care of each other,
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
Learn more at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com
Read more in Uncle Ralph's books of advice for Entrepreneurs: Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.