Post Apocalypse Plans

I’m sure everyone has had similar discussions about their ‘post apocalypse’ plans from a safe distance.

“The first thing I’m going to do after lockdown is…”

Often these are dreams of returning to favourite places in the company of favourite people. There are also many plans based on things we are now going to do that we have always intended to do. The bucket list stuff.

While the idea of a Lancashire beer garden is idyllic, and the thought of reconnecting with friends and family is wonderful, there are of course for many businesses some choppy and uncharted waters ahead. So much of it can be labelled ‘unknown’, because after all these are truly unprecedented times, however, I think we should challenge that way of thinking where business is concerned.

It’s perhaps too easy to say that the circumstances we are in, and the market conditions we will face, were unforeseeable. “How could we have planned for this?” But the idea of market shifts is never a new one.

Yes, this is an extreme version, but similar themes remain. It’s easy at the moment to become reactive on the basis that things are constantly changing. It becomes almost an excuse for inactivity and inertia. I think we can all do better than that. We need to get ahead of reacting in the moment. If we can cast our eyes a little further ahead and base our thinking on some reasonable assumptions, that gives us a better starting point.

Business continuity – one definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome. If further lockdowns occur due to flare ups of infection, or if in two years’ time there’s a different virus, or freak weather conditions prevent normal working practice, are you going to try the same approach to keeping your business alive? Or will you learn and adapt your plans – better technology investment, more careful consideration of property requirements, better channels of communication with your customers?

And on that latter point, how will your customers react, and what will they be looking to buy? It’s likely that you can foresee some spikes of activity in certain sectors. How are you going to shape your business to focus on those areas, and what are you going to do about the other parts of your business that have slowed down? In the last recession, everyone stopped doing property work for months, and laid people off. The problem came a year or two later when property work boomed back and the resources had become rarer than hens’ teeth.

Business performance- here, there are things we can address which, frankly, we knew all along but perhaps never had the impetus to address. There will be some areas in your business that you’ve always known are too expensive, or too inefficient. Now is the time to redesign. To seek to futureproof your business. Get the best possible process operating. Use your systems to give you the best and most accurate data on which to base your business decisions.

Of course, this present pandemic is unique in its variety of challenges, but creating effective post apocalypse plans are possible, so let’s use it as a catalyst for sensible, positive change in our businesses.

I’ll drink a nice pint in my sunlit Lancashire beer garden to that (one day…).

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