“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”THOMAS EDISON
Here are 5 quick steps to help you set up an action plan to relaunch that business idea:
1. Stop waiting for help, guidance from above or a move of your competitors
For 1 week, take 6 hours a day off work or personal life and leave your desk (but take your laptop with you as you will need data). Even better if you leave your front step. This action is a must. If you skip this one – the whole exercise will not work. Get a roll of paper, flip chart or at least A3 size papers and loads of pencils and markers (a whiteboard would also do).
2. Draw, describe or outline characteristics of your potential clients
Who are they, how has the epidemic affected them both emotionally and financially, why would they purchase less or more of your product due to market changes, and – this is an important one – what do they value in your product and would be open to spending money on it if you offer cheaper, faster, better. Define them and be specific (read more on the process repository).
3. Outline the processes and the resources
You need to deliver the expected value – what process you must have to be able to deliver. Plan investment in digitization. With urgency!!! We are facing a contactless economy, with manual processes being too slow and cannot handle scaling. Use manual processes to handle exceptions. Only once you have outlined the processes, calculate the needed personnel and IT.
4. If you haven’t already done so, consider a transition to remote working
The future (or the present) of work – for employees, suppliers, product development, outsourcing. If you initially planned to invest in infrastructure, discard it or consider a more flexible bimodal (on and off-site) modus operandi.
5. Finally, think about your supply chain, if your business idea depends on it
It is time to develop new ecosystems and look for new partners who also need to reinvent and relaunch their business or carriers and do not mind working in a team or even investing. Consider negotiations with those who would be your competitors.
I suggest you do this exercise alone, but if you feel more comfortable having company to brainstorm, take somebody with you who is not from your closer circle or has a similar profile to yours. You don’t need confirmation of your ideas and approach; you need somebody to challenge and question your way of thinking and help you think differently.
After this week of this initial strategy alignment, you will have a high-level action plan. Get your team together (if you have already one) or approach potential partners, co-workers or future employees and run by them your ambition. Ask for feedback but do not question the fact that there will be a new venture. Assign responsibilities and tasks to your team and apply for any credit or assistance available for Covid19 recovery. Then launch an MVP pilot ASAP. There will not be an immediate and dramatic return on your investment, but you will be able to collect feedback and observe how the client is reacting. If your offering is of value, it will be positive. Monitor your clients’ reactions and adjust to deviation.
Act fast but do not rush the conclusions and especially DO NOT GIVE UP
As a founder of a startup or a small business, you have one huge advantage – you are the one who makes the decisions, not shareholders, a boarding committee or syndicates – and you can make them fast. Your idea can work if you plan correctly and if you look and listen to the market. For example, the Coronavirus epidemic has affected deeply many businesses. It has forced many to rethink ‘business as usual’, but it has also brought an opportunity for those who adapt to the current market outlook – be one of them.