Keeping your company afloat has become the new goal of far too many clients these days. It seems like ages ago that my January calendar was populated with excited entrepreneurs. They were looking forward to 2020 being the year they launched the next great business. It’s still possible to make 2020 your year, but the focus for many folks has changed. Now, on the minds of many business owners is how to keep their company afloat. Even law firms are struggling to cope with the new economic atmosphere.
Yesterday, HBR had a good article by Steve Blank with a 5-Day Plan to Keep Your Company Afloat. Blank’s formula to survive,
Survival = (speed of your understanding of the situation) x (the magnitude of the pivots/cuts/lifeboat choices you make) x (the speed of your time to make those changes)
What’s the 5-Day Plan?
Blank’s article offers good assessments for you to examine your internal and external environments before you get down to planning. Once you’ve done the assessment, his plan starts with that assessment,
- Day 1: Prepare an assessment of the internal and external environment.
- Day 2: Iterate the assessment with your investors/board.
- Days 3 and 4: Prepare new business model and operating plan.
- Day 5: Iterate with Investors/board.
These aren’t fun steps to go through. Especially as you get started on Day 1, the answers may surprise you. Then you are facing your board and investors. They aren’t likely going to be in a gregarious mood during those meetings. You own a business and have been in charge of growth. Now is your biggest challenge.
As you make it to Days 3 and 4, it’s time for your business to see if it can pivot and embrace a new business model. This can include many growing pains and even possibly layoffs. You’ll need a new operational plan to draw on and will need to make sure to manage your cash very carefully. One of the major lessons Blank discusses is if you have to do layoffs, how many you should do. The other concern is how to address the new company culture as you move forward with your new operational plan.
Whatever you choose to do as this new week starts, assessing where you are and if you can pivot should be part of this week’s plan.