Does the word ‘overwhelmed’ rise up when you think about what to do with your business because of this COVID-19 world we now live in? There is so much information to decipher. So much news. So much advice. So much confusion.
Instead of making panic-driven decisions, take a more methodical approach to analyzing your situation and options. Focus on the things you can control and it will help to soothe the anxiety of yourself and those around you.
Here are some questions to get you thinking about your business and where the answer might lead to help you over the next few months, and down the road. This is an exercise in analyzing, planning, and preparing to implement.
9 Questions to Ask Yourself
Your business and situation during this COVID-19 disruption will be different from others, so these questions are a good place to start. You may uncover more that are relevant to your needs as you think about how you can pivot or adapt.
- If adaption is critical, what areas of your business can you change?
- What is within your control? Isolating your limitations allows you to draw focus on things you can do something about.
- What are your bottlenecks and barriers? Understand your constraints.
- Can you change or adapt your whole business model? For example, restaurants have moved to a take-out and delivery model – limited menus, different kitchen practices, etc. Could you pivot quickly within your cost control; cost being time, energy, and money?
- Who can you collaborate with and who is a potential supporter? Think about joint ventures, combining product offerings, delivery systems, cross promotions. i.e. local food system organizers, competitors, grocery stores, farmers markets.
- Are there potential distribution changes you can make to get your product to market? Consider a different package size, new outlets, or new products.
- How effective is your online presence? It’s time to improve your clients’ digital experience to engage with your business and purchase product. i.e. e-commerce options, increased presence, and value-added components. Revamp in stages and get professional help if that enables you to be more effective and timely.
- Can you re-tool your plant or processes or recipes to prepare for an anticipated break in the international supply chain? i.e. imported ingredients.
- Are you on top of your cash flow? Do you know what cash is coming in and what has to go out? Can you delay making certain payments? Do you need to talk to lenders or other financial support?
As we enter our ‘new world’, consider different time frames for planning and actions. Start with the short-term (1-4 months) urgent items you need to respond to. If you are about to make significant changes to various business elements, put your thoughts down on paper and in a month or two dig deeper into planning how to implement those adjustments.
SWOT Review Exercise
To organize your answers to the above questions, you’ll get a better overall picture of your business by updating your SWOT Analysis from your Business Plan – list your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If you don’t have one, then now is the ideal time to start one. (Here’s how to do that.)
Don’t think your SWOT from two months ago is current. The world is different today. There are new threats, and new opportunities.
Work from your SWOT and add, layer, and revise, or even start from scratch with a new perspective.
As we described in a previous post, get your team involved, if possible. The more perspectives the better.
Once you’ve filled in all the quadrants, leave it for a day, and then revisit it. Then create a SWOT Summary which will highlight more obvious areas of focus and direction. i.e. The main drivers are ‘x’ and therefore we should do ‘y’.
As you’re looking to pivot and adjust – don’t just ponder. The important thing is to go through the SWOT process to analyse, and then strategize, and then implement.
At the end, implementation is the key. What approach (based on your strategy) can you take and can you implement in a timely and cost-effective manner.
COVID-19 Business Support
The world has changed. What are you going to do about it?
We sure understand what a challenge this new world is for you, and we’re doing our best to find ways to support you. We continue to talk with industry leaders and government officials to stay abreast of developments.
You can check our COVID-19 web page with resources for micro, small, and medium food businesses. Have a look to see if anything can assist in your decisions. We endeavour to keep it updated, but as you experience along with your colleagues, things change and will continue to evolve.
And, keep your eyes open for an upcoming COVID-19 Business Recovery Program we’re developing. This online workshop will be a series of hands-on sessions to provide advice, tools, and interactive support to help you with specific areas of your business. Watch your inbox and our Facebook and Twitter accounts for dates and registration.
We get what you do and we’re here to help.
If you’re struggling with how to work through your SWOT or need help adjusting your business plan, Contact Us. Our team of experts would be happy to talk about your situation.