How are you preparing for a recovery? What is your market readiness? For some, it may feel too soon to ask those questions. But I’d rather be ready. So, we have a team dedicated to market readiness that has been in place for the past month. Shortly after the orders to close nonessential businesses and stay-at-home policies were being implemented, our team began focusing on what happens next.
Like most leaders, this is my first pandemic. But it’s not my first crisis. We can avoid future consequences by making good decisions today. Learn more about that here. While our primary focus is on how we remain sustainable now, we also need to consider the future and how we position our organizations for recovery.
This week, we hosted a virtual forum with some of our clients to hear what they’re thinking and what they’re doing. I appreciated their insights and perspectives. What I know for sure is that we’re all impacted by the coronavirus pandemic differently, and our recoveries will look different, too. But the questions we ask ourselves and even the steps we take likely are quite similar.
Here are a few questions for leaders to consider while planning for recovery:
- What can our organization do now to accelerate our efforts?
- What can we avoid doing that would set our organization back?
- What are our key performance indicators?
- How can our organization capitalize on what we’re doing during this time?
- What are sustainable new opportunities that could present themselves?
Part of your recovery is what you’re doing now. In my opinion, the most important thing you can do is to align your costs with your revenue streams and forecasts. Consider what you can phase, what can be deferred and what cuts you need to make to promote future vitality. It is important to take care of your organization so your employees continue to have a good place to work.
Key Steps to Prepare
Here are a few steps to take to foster market readiness:
- Form a team focused on market readiness.
We actually formed two response teams: a Business Continuity Team and a Market Readiness Team. Our Business Continuity Team is focused on real-time events relating to communication and action steps for managing the situation. Our Market Readiness Team considers what our customers may need during and after the recovery and how we can prepare for them. This team also explores new possibilities to implement forward-thinking plans to address the changing dynamics of the marketplace.
- Create a daily tracker.
This dashboard of key performance indicators should track the pace of your recovery and trigger phases of your recovery efforts. Monitor your key data points (accounts receivable, incoming cash, sales funnels, proposals, etc.) that will support a phased comeback.
- Develop new plays.
Some of the practices that businesses have been forced into may be a part of their recovery. I imagine we’ll be seeing more remote workers, virtual meetings and curbside pickup even after the restrictions have been lifted. What did you adapt to now that you should continue? Be open to shifting your model and preparing for new opportunities that your organization can capture during a recovery.
- Be cautious about debt.
While it can be leveraged effectively, especially with the current low interest rates, debt can also set you back long after the recovery. Many organizations may need to take on debt to cover operating costs during an extended downturn. Obviously, it’s better to use debt for infrastructure that grows your sales and output. This is why it’s so important to keep costs aligned with your revenue.
The key to market readiness is the ability to respond quickly. This is not the time to be a procrastinator. Planners who can execute will prevail. The more flexible and agile you are, the better. Often times the most challenging scenarios can actually make us better in the long-term.