Hunker down. Wait it out. Shelter-in. Take the pain. Just some descriptive words of how CEOs are dealing with the mother of all disruptions—Covid-19. Some business leaders, but not all.
A disruptive mindset
What I find refreshing is how this coronavirus has brought forth a different mindset. In two words: flexibility and agility. These CEOs are not standing still. They’re not standing around like a boxer getting the financial daylights knocked out of him They’re responding. Fighting back. Knocking disaster on its feet.
They’re pivoting their business to meet the loss of business due to social distancing, stay-at-home guidelines, disruption of overseas travel/business, and even local supply lines. This pandemic threw up a wall. But they’re finding ways to climb over it, burrow under it, crash through it.
What do you do when your business is high on the lock-down list? When your revenue all but disappears from having to padlock your business? Put out a sign closed for the duration when you have no idea how long that duration is?
Pivoting to survive
In my recent interview with Wendy Shafranski, owner of Vero Strength + Conditioning, she acknowledged:
I wish I owned a company that makes toilet paper and plexiglass, but sadly I do not.
With gyms being among the first to be mandated to close, how does she survive financially? Equally important, how does she sustain her customer relations, so they remain loyal? How can she be sure they’ll be piling in once the padlocks are removed?
She pivoted. She brought the gym into the homes of her clients. No, she didn’t carry a few thousand pounds of weights and drop them off at clients’ doors. She went viral.
By pivoting she opened a whole new vista of opportunity. Even after lock-down she won’t be locked into her local area. Or even to her city, state, or even her country. Now her territory is Planet Earth. This opportunity came about because she didn’t hunker, didn’t seek shelter. She pivoted.
Taking the risk
Pivoting can be scary. Risky at first look. You’re changing the direction in part or whole of your company. In a previous interview, Mark Crames, whose perfume business sank because of supply problems, pivoted using his equipment to break into the sanitizer business.
Medal of Honor winners will tell you that courage does not mean you are not afraid. You are quaking in your boots as much as the next soldier. Courage is learning to control your fears, master your fears. Covid-19 has many CEO’s quaking in their custom-made shoes. Their concerns are deep and the threat to their company is absolutely real. But perhaps avoiding long-term disaster comes down to how quickly they pivot.
Before her gym venture, Wendy Shafranski, spent 17 years in marketing with The United States Army, Mead Johnson, and Disney. Her insights about dealing in a post-Covid-19 world contains lots of intelligence and muscle.