These are trying times. No matter what happens, we have some difficult months ahead. During this crisis, entrepreneurs (both internal and external) must focus on doing the right thing for their family, coworkers, employees, customers, and communities.
That being said, it's essential to understand that, if history is any guide, the pandemic will eventually subside, the economy will recover, and things get back to something resembling the status quo ante. As a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly explains:
"There are two realistic paths to achieving this 'population-level immunity.' One is the development of a vaccine. The other is for the disease to work its way through the population, surely killing many, but also leaving many others--those who contract the disease and then recover--immune... Unfortunately, both of these paths could be a year or two long, but degrees of normalcy will likely be won back in the meantime."
Therefore, while today's situation is challenging, you should still put some effort into planning how you'll get your business back up and running when things get better. Because, as the old addage goes, "Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail."
I don't recommend a formally-written business plan because it requires too much wordsmithing. Instead, I suggest that you ask (and answer) a series of questions that help you to think through what will need to be done and the order in which you'll do it.
Here's where to start:
- How can we create the most sanitary and disease-free workplace possible?
- Since open plan is no longer a viable option, how will we remodel?
- What percentage of employees should be communing and how often?
- How will we create a sense of teamwork?
- Which employees will continue to work from home?
- How will we on-board quickly to expand for new opportunities?
- When there's a spike in demand, how will we ramp-up?
- What should we be stockpiling, in the event of an aftershock?
- How can we make our supply chain less fragile?
- How should we change our distribution channels?
- How can we make ourselves less dependent, long-term, upon face-to-face meetings?
- What will be our "We're Back!" marketing message?
If you don't have a plan for at least these basic issues, you'll be caught flat-footed when your competitors are ready to go gangbusters. You owe it to yourself and everyone else on your team to prepare for the better times ahead. This too shall pass.