The Lockdown Turnaround Cheat Sheet.
This is what I will not tell you in this article: that the world will not be the same after Corona. Because that’s kind of what you can read everywhere already, and I’m not really sure yet whether this is stating the obvious or rather an exaggeration.
Right now, the world is quite different, or course. Suddenly, we are sitting in our home offices and are working in ways most corporate leaders have either said wasn’t possible or simply didn’t approve of. Three weeks in, we can safely say that no business will go down because people are working from home.
But I want to look forward. While we are trying to cope with the limitations of lockdown and what it does to our businesses, the question of what we should expect after these limitations have been lifted is vitally important.
You simply don’t want to wait for the end of this crisis to think about how you want to (or need to) transform your business. We need to start doing this now — and use the time until lockdown is over to prepare for the day when things turn back to normal.
So that’s advice number one:
Get a head start. Create a Post Corona Task Force.
Obviously, a lot of other companies will try to do the same — but you don’t do this to be ahead of everyone else but to be ahead of some competitors that might have been in your way before Corona.
My advice would be to make sure that the best operations people are taking care of the business right now while the most forward-thinking, agile and creative people get together and look at what opportunities might present themselves after this crisis.
If all of your employees’ energy is needed to keep the business running or even to save it from going down, let the top management focus on this topic rather than making everyone nervous on the floor.
One thing is for sure though:
If you are not digital to the bone, you better hurry.
Because it might just be too late. All the companies that have invested into digital transformation (not just money, of course) will rise to the top even faster after Corona. And no, I am not calling this a prediction, it is a simple and logical consequence.
Simply look at what is happening right now — how investing into e-commerce is paying off big time for all of the brands and business that have goods to sell. Look at all of the companies that have integrated home office regulations and have invested in the digital tools to support it are switching to full remote without hiccups.
The good thing is — getting your business online and getting professional help in these matters is relatively easy. But be smart — don’t try to do it by yourself. Don’t make the mistake of looking for some geeky guy in your organization and ask him or her to set it up for you.
It’s one thing to subscribe to some e-commerce platform and put your products on your new virtual shelves — it’s another thing to do it well, to differentiate, to be noticed, to actually sell. That’s what you need help for. Get some good people to set you up for success, not just for presence.
Agencies are getting their last wakeup call too. For two decades we have been telling the tale of being super digital, then super integrated and lately of course super agile. It’s time to actually do it. Face the fact that you’re not digital if you know how to create banners. And understand that finally we are being asked to truly connect creativity and technology — for more than just Cannes showpieces.
Even more important than that is the following point:
If you have ever read anything about entrepreneurial spirit, then you will have learned that the number one asset of an entrepreneur is her or his optimistic view of life and the world. You can’t create, grow or even run a business if you don’t believe in the success of this operation.
You can’t even run it properly if you think that the market is going down the drain. If you expect Corona to kill your industry, or even if you think that you know that your company is going to suffer fatally from what is going on outside in this cruel, merciless world — you increase the probability that it will.
Think of all the great things you have heard about the best businesses growing in times of trouble, of all the companies that used their ingenuity and creativity to go up when others were going down. Believe in the people you have hired to create this success. Trust in the ability of your organization to adapt your product or services to the needs of our times or to create new products and services to help others grow, succeed and be happy.
Avoiding the worst case scenario is not a strategy. It may be smart to use this strategy if you walk around the Kenyan countryside and you happen to meet a lion. Worst case is what you want to avoid, absolutely. And you know what a pessimist will think in this situation. But as bad as this crisis may be — it’s not necessarily going to kill you. Just be the entrepreneur you always wanted to be. Now is the time.
If you keep a positive mindset and make the right decisions,
Plenty of new opportunities will pop up.
It doesn’t take a scientist to understand what will happen when the worst of this crisis is over. Digital transformation will reach a level and speed that finally leaves all the laggards behind. Trade will finally understand that every physical retail space needs to be accompanied by an e-commerce platform.
No, we will not simply go back to our offices and abandon remote work until the next virus hits. We know it can happen again. What will the consequences be? Brands will understand that globalization plus rapid digital transformation means new ways of collaboration. They will look at new companies, talents, agile organizations in all parts of the world — not just for low level outsourcing but for partners that are able to combine creativity and technology.
Companies that have never done much marketing will suddenly understand its value and necessity. They will need help to make good use of social media, to build their web shops, to create digital advertising, and to transform their organizations.
And when the laggards are out of the game, a good part of the business will be redistributed to those who understood the advice by Rahm Emanuel: “You never let a good crisis go to waste.”