Businesses have faced many crises over the years. Unexpected blows like losing a key business partner, losing a lucrative account, or being hit by a natural disaster. The result of the blow may be financial, organizational, or emotional. COVID-19 appears to be hitting businesses in all three areas.

Once you get beyond the shock, disappointment, and anger, perspective will drive what happens next. Ask yourself: Is there an opportunity in this situation? How can we use these circumstances as an opportunity to thrive?

Assess your circumstances realistically. What are your available resources and strengths? What are your current liabilities? Examples: We have a great relationship with suppliers and our vendors. Our brand is well recognized. Our investors are committed to us. When you list your liabilities, check whether you can turn them into assets.

What is the opportunity?

Opportunities are embedded in many obstacles. Stories abound of entrepreneurs who turn an obstacle into an asset. Sometimes it’s a shift in mindset. Sit down with your team and brainstorm and see what may be available to shift into another direction. Sometimes ideas that emerge may seem totally off the wall but may prove to be a spark to ignite the comeback.

What have you learned?

Many unexpected losses and disappointments are opportunities for course correction. Too often companies find themselves focusing on only fixing a short-term problem and neglect to examine the bigger picture. Numerous examples have been in the news about companies that have incorporated new products or delivery systems that could potentially reshape their business for years to come.

Identify your solutions and strategies. Once you’ve assessed your resources, strengths, and liabilities it’s time to identify the best solution to rebuild. This solution will probably incorporate both short and long term planning. Take advantage of what you do best. Remember to take into consideration what path gets you to profitability and stability. Use all your strengths and creativity to make it happen.

Commit to a plan of action. As you draft a plan, important questions to answer include:

  • Who will spearhead the plan?
  • Who else needs to be involved? In what capacity?
  • What action steps are required?
  • What are the deadlines and who will be accountable?
  • What is the communication plan? How will you evaluate the progress?
  • How will you know when you have succeeded?

When the unexpected happens in business, the outcome can be a temporarily bumpy ride. But once you find the opportunity inside of the circumstances, regain your edge, and gather your resources, the outcome can be even better than you had imagined.

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