• Phimation Strategy Group

Finding the New Normal: 4 (Surprising) Steps for Small Businesses Now


I got to do coaching sessions for Small Giants companies last week, to help them plan their COVID-19 small business strategies.  And I was asked by 4 different companies some form of the following question:

“We know we need to look to the future and go to where the market is going, but…how do we do that?  We’re having a really hard time figuring out what that is.”

In 2 of the cases, this included a discussion of the frustration and fatigue of trying to figure it out…while also trying to just survive day to day.

So, I’m guessing many other small businesses are thinking about the same thing.  Here’s my 4 part advice:

  1. Focus on survival.  Survival is the “strategic imperative” for most small businesses right now.  Remember, for big businesses, survival is easy and pivoting is hard.  But for small companies, pivoting is easy and surviving is hard.  Don’t worry about the pivot now; make sure you’re surviving.

  2. Don’t be in too much of a rush.  Moving too soon on a trend results in a high degree of “false positives.”  Although the companies I was talking to afraid of the danger of not pivoting fast enough, there is a more important danger right now:  over-investing in a trend before we can tell if it will sustain.  There is a lot of uncertainty still to play out.

  3. Stay balanced.  Imagine standing on an exercise ball.  Lean too far in any one direction and the ball slips out from under you.  That’s the situation we are in now.  Tied to point (1), don’t overcommit, stay balanced and able to move in any direction when it’s time to hop off the ball.

  4. Stay close to your customers.  How will you figure out your pivot?  How will you know where your market is headed?  Your customers will tell you!  And they’ll tell you before they tell anyone else…if you’re staying close to them.

I’m confident that the small businesses who still have their doors open at the end of 2020 will do just fine hopping on the new trends that will be occurring in the market from 2021 to 2025.

If you’re wondering how to talk to your team about developing strategy for your company’s survival, health, and opportunity, check out my Winning the Uncertainty workbook.

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