From Crisis to Performance

From Crisis to Performance by Benny Orr of ConsultOrr

How to Transition From Crisis Mode to Full Performance

By its very nature, a crisis can occur without warning, potentially impacting your business so severely that you feel you’re losing control — but it doesn’t have to be that way. While it is true that this current global crisis almost completely stopped the economic wheels from turning, it didn’t, at least not entirely. You can recover and get back on track.

In the following article, I share Actionable Intelligence to help businesses transition from crisis mode to full performance.

Why Do Businesses Fail?

According to the Small Business Administration, approximately “two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least 2 years and about half survive at least 5 years… [However], after the first few relatively volatile years, survival rates flatten out.”1 Why are the percentages of business survival so low? An analysis from CB Insights sheds some light on the subject, pointing to the top 10 reasons for business failures. 

Data Source: CB Insights

Any business leader can appreciate the above reasons for failing. However, after the economic storm the world has just weathered, if businesses aren’t careful in the development and implementation phase of their recovery plan, they could end up being part of these dismal stats. 

Defining Post-Crisis Normality – Answering the Tough Questions

Before delving immediately into a recovery plan, let’s examine your best foot forward. Although crises can be overwhelming and stressful, they can sometimes afford us the opportunity to reset the clock, reflect on priorities, and reevaluate our business model. And for those who take advantage of this opportunity, your business will gradually begin to rebuild and grow.

Try answering the below questions and consider how you would have answered before the crisis. Has this global crisis shifted your definition? If you answered in the affirmative, you’d be directly on point.

  1. What is your starting point for cash flow? Did you have to freeze/postpone projects? Are you gradually reinstating recently laid-off employees and temporarily postponed contracts? Are you attempting to collect on unpaid debts?
  1. If you are unable to reinstate some of your strategic team members, how do you plan to replace this invaluable talent?
  1. Have you given serious thought to the financial position your clients are in as they too, begin to rebuild? Are they roughly at the same point as are you? How ready do you surmise they will be in releasing new jobs? 

If this crisis has had a serious impact on your clients, they may need to re-visualize their line of products and/or services, and this could in turn mean you need to be patient before they start to resend work your way. You may even need to reestablish new business relationships all over again, including overall processes, accounting, and more.

Having hopefully answered these questions (even partially), let us now move toward building an actionable plan by implementing the following set of tools:

Personal Toolbox

1. Flexibility and Creativity

Let’s face it. Things will definitely not be the same as they were prior to the crisis so there’s no point in operating with that previous mindset. There’s a need now to adopt new ways of thinking, update solutions and offerings, develop new processes, and shift yourself (and others) from automatic mode to manual — your comfort zone has, for all intents and purposes, gone with the wind so it’s time to be flexible and creative. In fact, everyone will be trying to find their “new” competitive edge. They’ll be attempting to raise their profile above their contenders and you’ll have to do the same if you wish to maintain (or even reclaim) your market share and eventually begin to grow once again.

2. Strength and Valiancy

If you are able to stay strong and forge ahead, you’ll be able to meet and manage these challenges head on. And while some challenges will be solvable, others might be downright unpleasant. Making short-term, difficult decisions will likely be painful but it will help you gradually regain your momentum. 

3. Transparency

There’s no reason to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the more transparent you allow yourself to be, the more trustworthy you appear to your clients. Transparency even among your own team will maximize support and encourage active participation as you begin to rebuild.

4. No Fear

Never let your fears decide your fate. Do not be afraid to engage, to confront, to take risks, and even to fail. Success will follow.                                                                    

Tactical Leadership Moving Ahead

1. Prioritize Cash Flow Management 

It is of the utmost importance to now manage and conserve the oxygen required for day-to-day operations. Start your day, every day, by closely examining your current and future cash flow. Make sure it is accurate and updated at all times. No surprises here, please!

2. Open Communication

Internal communication is now more important than ever before. Update your team as much as possible and set a clear yet differential level of expectations. Challenge progressive thinking and encourage your team to play an active role in the rebuilding efforts. You’ll likely be surprised at just how creative and supportive they will be. Surviving a storm together creates just the right environment for long term continuity.

3. Humanity

Act in the most humane manner possible. People are the real power behind the numbers. Never lose sight of this!

4. Spirit

Strive to initiate and maintain a positive and supportive approach to everyone and everything. 

Demonstrating Value to the World

1. Business Continuity

Show the world that your business is moving on regardless of the crisis, albeit with some adaptations. Everyone will value this and will appreciate your efforts. It will be worth its weight with gold. 

2. Value to the World

Deliver immediate, measurable value to your clients, in every call, in every product, and in every job delivery. Charge your clients with reasonably low prices and let them receive the most out of your company. They will cherish it. 

3. Give and You Shall Receive 

Although easier said than done, by learning to shift your mindset away from “expectation” and toward a spirit of sharing, you will soon learn that the real value is in “giving.” Your clients will come to see you as one who prioritizes relationships above all else which will serve you well, now and in the years to come.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In the best of times, these are the most basic rules for building, maintaining, and growing a successful business. However, in order to transition from crisis to performance, these high-level guidelines are not just advantageous but critical. Having the skills and the foresight to immediately implement effective crisis management and rehabilitation processes will also serve you well for years to come! 

This is one article in a series of articles by Benny Orr, a Strategic Business Growth Consultant and Mentor for businesses worldwide. Benny excels at helping businesses take innovative ideas and convert them into valuable, actionable reality. As a seasoned entrepreneur, C-level manager and a strategic thinker, Benny has coached, mentored, and partnered with countless global companies to offer his results-driven approach to strategic growth. If you’re planning your next business expansion or thinking about a merger and acquisition, contact Benny today. You’ll be glad you did.