The COVID-19 outbreak has unleashed an unprecedented shock to our economic and social systems. Business owners, operators and job providers are facing tough circumstances and revenue shortfalls. With an unclear road ahead, it would be easy to give into fear and anxiety.
However, resilient businesses pay close attention to the certainties in their operations.
Entrepreneurs wanted more than ever
True entrepreneurs can be found in new ventures and established entities. We know from management research how the effective ones excel in unpredictable environments – working with what they have; securing additional resources from customers and partners; and ensuring they can afford potential losses. They are creators and doers who acknowledge the ‘unknown unknowns’, and focus on what they can control and protect themselves from an excessive downside.
The way in which these businesses install more certain and favourable forces in their business environment presents the core of effectuation, a leading-edge management concept taught in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management courses at Trent University Durham GTA.
Leveraging what you have and know
First, entrepreneurs should know the state of expenses and cash flow in the business. Immediately assess if the business is still affordable. It’s about the worst-case scenario. If cost reduction is necessary and people must be let go for now, make the cut fast, short and professional. An unaffordable business is a bad business in uncertain times.
Second, pursue known financial and policy supports from all levels of governments. Banks also offer additional assistance. Contact them to secure additional resources for greater endurance.
Third, remember customers did not disappear. Many have simply had to suppress and defer their needs. Others now have new, unmet needs. Businesses can pivot to capture these opportunities and create solutions for them.
Finally, companies can ensure their processes remain effective in this new normal and that employees have the tools and guidelines they need to perform as best as they can. For those who have reserves to invest in future acquisitions, extraordinary bargains and enormous savings may be on the horizon.
Renewal ahead of reopening
As we reopen our economies and communities, we know our customers will return but the way they shop and interact will be different. Health and safety will be top of mind. We need to address these concerns while renewing business growth and expanding those new offerings that we have just created.
Businesses of all sizes are seeking resilience and are finding ways to target the controllable. Focusing on certainty in uncertain times provides a sense of progress and competence, which is tremendous not only for business resilience, but also for our own mental health and personal resilience.
Dr. Ken Chen is an assistant professor within the School of Business at Trent University Durham GTA. An accomplished researcher, his teaching interests include strategic management, innovation and entrepreneurship, new venture development and managerial and market research.
This article originally appeared in Metroland.