In the movie Forrest Gump, while all of the other shrimp boats were tied up in the harbor to weather the looming storm, the unaware Forrest stayed out in the high seas to continue shrimping. He and Lieutenant Dan battled to stay afloat and stay alive.
When they returned after the storm they found that all of the other shrimp boats that were tightly tied up in the harbor to survive the storm had all been destroyed because of the efforts to save them. Only the ‘JENNY’ had survived the storm because they kept their boat out on the water – staying FLUID in the situation.
There’s a great lesson for all of us business owners in that scene. BE FLUID in the midst of a crisis to stay afloat.
The COVID-19 storm left many of us in uncharted, turbulent waters that very few of us had ever considered in our Emergency Preparedness Planning.
Rapid Crisis Planning
When the crisis reared its ugly head, we all switched gears into Rapid Crisis Planning mode. Many businesses were forced to close because they were deemed not ‘Essential’, while some stayed open but were required to keep their employees and customers safe. On the other hand, others saw an exponential increase in demand for their products and services that they were scrambling to provide.
The moment that threw me into the fire of Rapid Crisis Planning came after my first phone call from a Conference, that Markit provides products for, to say they were cancelling the event.
It forced us to define what was Essential within our own businesses to come out on the other side of the unknown after an uncertain period of time. We had to Assess the Threats to our businesses by realizing the things we could control as well as the potential threats we had no control over.
I did an immediate Inventory of my Resources–
- Cash on hand
- Payables/ Receivables
- Employee Retention Possibilities
- Available Credit
- Government Relief Options
- Analyze Large Customer’s future ordering potential
This probably sounds very familiar to the leadership of every company in this country.
Planning for a Grand Re-Opening
Many states are beginning the process of re-opening by cautiously relaxing or ending the stay at home mandates and allowing some companies to resume business. However, re-opening your business is not as simple as unlocking the doors and turning on the lights. There’s a lot to consider…
- Read OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Are your Suppliers/ Vendors open for business?
- What is your plan to keep your Employees and Customers Safe?
- Will some Employees continue to Work from Home?
- How will you let your Customers know you’re Open for Business?
- Do you have a Plan for Rebuilding your Team?
In planning for your Grand Re-Opening Post-COVID, you’re going to need to forget your January mentality because, at the very least, it’s not going to be business as usual in the short-term.
A little Empathy will serve you well in your marketing efforts and in the re-engagement with your employees. Everyone is going to have a story about their experience, some may be heart-breaking.
Plan as much as you can for the short-term and consider the contingencies for the long-term. We’re not through this yet but there is a lot to be learned from this experience.
Be FLUID in the moment and your ship will have a better chance of staying afloat.