Steady Hand...or Street Fight
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
Part of small business strategy during uncertainty is having the right mindset.
Most of my clients – especially those in the B2B tech space – have had COVID-19 impact their business, but not too much. At this point, it’s looking like a ~10% hit, rather than a 30-50% hit.
I think what’s needed most from your leadership team if you’re in that situation is a Steady Hand. This is a time to make some defensive adjustments in your business, but also some improvements – fill those hires you were planning on, start a project that needs more internal focus, deepen your connection with one or two of your best customers. Overreacting in the short-term will cost way more in the long-run, if the impact to your business is relatively light.
But other of my clients are in the brutal epicenter of the crisis. For them, it’s a no-holds-barred Street Fight. There are no rules. It’s messy and ugly, and it’s about doing whatever you can to get a little better chance of survival – whether it would be “fair” during the normal course of business or not. The strategy is survival.
Most businesses – especially the family businesses that I work with – are not used to street fights. (And I’m thankful for that civility!) But my advice to my “steady hand” clients over the last week has been: keep your cool for now, but take some of the energy of a street fight to amp up the urgency in your organization.
There is a coming inflection point in mid-April. Things will get much easier…or much harder. Have some discussions with your leadership team now, so that you’re ready for a street fight if the game changes.
PS – Luxury Suite is at the other end of the spectrum from Street Fight. These are the companies that are strong and are benefiting from the virus. While they are no doubt working hard and very involved in the crisis, they are more emotionally safe from the business-survival fray. For the few clients I have in that category, we are finding ways to be magnanimous and helpful to those who are having a harder time.
If you're looking for strategy advice, check out my Winning The Uncertainty Resources.