Business owners and managers are faced with “bend or break” scenarios almost every day. The COVID-19 pandemic showcases the substantial advantage companies can gain by utilizing this learned flexibility when facing an unprecedented situation.
This may also be referred to as dedication to the ongoing development of Plan B and Plan C, because history has abruptly reminded us that uncertainty endures in love, war, and business.
How has a flexible business model enabled some industry leaders to thrive, even through times of economic crisis?
The Great Telecommute
Prior to 2020, telecommuting was viewed as a luxury item for employees. At the onset of COVID-19, employees throughout the world stepped away from company headquarters and reported to work from makeshift home offices.
Although in our everyday working lives, on-site collaboration often feels essential, it isn’t always possible for everyone. Telecommuting channels were originally explored by employers to accommodate employees temporarily unable to make it to the physical workplace due to illness, family, or travel.
In the event of a crisis, it was forward-thinking employers like these that were prepared to thrive amidst the chaos of a global pandemic.
Development of an emergency telecommuting protocol was key to the success of these companies in enacting such an impromptu change. Such a protocol could only be developed with strong group cohesion, quick thinking, and ample business flexibility.
Telecommuting is not available for many positions, but for those working in administration, information technology, education, and finance, among others, it is certainly a valuable possibility and worthy investment if and when the tables turn.
Multiple Scenario Analysis
We don’t like to entertain the idea that things might not go as planned, but in business, it is most often the unfortunate truth. As a general rule of flexibility, be prepared for the best, the worst, and the most likely . . . simultaneously.
What this means is mentally preparing to take appropriate action should a less than likely event occur. Think of the worst possible events that could impact your business, then ruminate on your potential response to them. Do the same for the best-case scenario.
If you continually run through multiple scenarios in your mind, subconsciously you will develop solutions that can be implemented quickly should the need arise.
Capitalize on Opportunity
Approaching day-to-day business with an open mind, prepared for the unexpected, will heighten your senses when new opportunities come your way. In fact, most opportunity arises from the unexpected.
Unprecedented situations breed unprecedented ideas. Innovation will always emerge victorious.
Keep your mind open to new ideas that may not fit into your current business plan. In the same way you prepare for unexpected events, use times of uncertainty to develop new channels through which your business can grow in unprecedented ways.