Whether we were hoping for something like this pandemic to make changes to the world or not our lives and businesses have changed. Governments around the world have really no choice but to step in and support their people. Finances are just one part of what’s needed, they’re just the most obvious part because we use money for everything these days, and don’t do things like bartering or trading like we used to. Whether you and your business are eligible or not, you’ve probably heard about the PPP program, it’s hard to miss in the news these days. But in talking with some people recently and seeing how things are developing, I want to offer a different PPP road map for businesses in this time.
I know, no one really wants to panic, but quite frankly it’s very human to panic when things like this happen. However, the first thing you should do is panic. You should have panicked somewhere around late March when everything was shutting down, or at the latest in April. I don’t have a problem with people taking time to panic and being overwhelmed by the situation. That said, you should not be panicking now and putting that pressure on any employees that are (back to) working with you. Panicking now, or still panicking, two plus months into this situation in full view of your employees and possibly your customers isn’t going to do any good.
Once you’ve worked through the large majority of your panic, then it’s time to plan. Of course it would be helpful if you have some type of disaster strategy already discussed and planned out, but if that’s not the case, before you ever talk about a reopening date, you should be talking and working and coming up with a plan for what comes next. It’s time to take a serious look at your business, your finances and your offerings; to look at what was working, what wasn’t working, what you’ve thrown around as possibilities before, what might be available to tap into for resources, and take a serious look at how much time you have to work with based on your offerings and finances. It’s also important to consider if you can’t feasibly go forward with your business, based on what you know and what leaders are saying. It’s not too late to plan at this point, as long as you aren’t open yet or aren’t more than a short time into being open, but of course it’s better to have more time to plan before you take action.
Produce and Perform:
When you get to this stage you should feel ready and be ready to take action and be taking action. Maybe you got to this stage back in March one week after you panicked and planned because you’re an essential business, or maybe you’ve got your plan ready and are doing small actions right now waiting for the ability to get to take big or more regular actions. You should not be panicking or have no clear plans at this point, every business (open or not) should be communicating clearly, honestly and as openly as possible with their teams and customers (relatively frequently too if possible), and ever business that is planning to stay in business should be consistently supporting and encouraging their customers and greater community.
We’re all eager to get back to living and working with a measure of confidence and certainty in our future, one of the biggest ways we can fail is if we fail to plan. What plan do you have for your business going forward and how are you doing at implementing it?