The Four Rs — Survive to Thrive

I think I can confidently say that we’re tired of hearing about “Unprecedented Times” and “The New Normal.”

The truth is that things are always in flux, and there are always businesses that are making money hand over fist while others are struggling to get by. Sure, a global pandemic and economic meltdown has caused more to suffer than in a normal business cycle, but even right now, some companies are having historic years in 2020.

If you’re in a company that has been fortunate enough to be doing well, I give you my permission to stop reading now and go count your cash. You’ve earned it!

However, if you’ve felt the pandemic pinch over the last four months, then this blog’s for you. If you’re wondering how to go from surviving to thriving as the light becomes visible at the end of the tunnel, I give you the four Rs.

survive

Retract, regroup, reinvest and reinvent.

Retract

If you’ve made it this far, odds are you’ve tightened your business’s belt, which was smart. You may have paused purchases of new equipment, reduced marketing or advertising outlays, or even furloughed some employees. It was a hard decision that you most likely deliberated long and hard about, but it freed up the cash needed to buckle down for a few months, so it was necessary and justified. Retraction is instinctive, heck, even turtles pull their heads into their shells when under attack, but while in a retracted state, it’s important not to freeze up altogether. After you retract, it’s imperative that you move on to step 2.

Regroup

Resist the tendency to lock up and wait out the storm. The best time to tackle that new initiative or revenue stream you were contemplating may be when things are slow. Many times, when our businesses are moving fast and furious, it’s nearly impossible to get out of “production” mode long enough to shift or innovate. Take a hard, honest look at your business. If you’re struggling, ask yourself what may have helped you be more durable — diversification, service revenues, better margins, cash flow, etc. Then ask yourself: If I were to start this business from scratch today, what would it look like? Create a new vision for the ideal model and then compare it to the structure and assets already in place to determine how you build a bridge from the old to the new.

Reinvest

Once you have regrouped and created your map, use that as a guide to reinvest once revenues start flowing again. The natural reaction is to get “back to normal” and just recreate what you had before in the quickest way possible to restore revenues. This may be a huge mistake. The old model is what landed you in retraction mode when the wheels fell off. Take the 6 million dollar man strategy, don’t just sew the old parts and pieces back on and hope the new reassembled version can still perform like before.

We can rebuild it
We have the technology
We have the capability to make the worlds first bionic company
Our company will be just that
Better than it was before
Better, Stronger, Faster

Reinvent

Now that you’ve reemerged like a butterfly bursting forth from a chrysalis, it’s time to reinvent your company. Part of that reinvention is living out the mission you’ve newly invested in. Another key part of that is marketing yourselves properly and establishing your new identity.

Some of the best stories are those of people who survived hardship, turned disadvantages into strengths and then assured a victory. Be vulnerable. Be transparent.

Tell the story of how you were forced to retract but wouldn’t lie down. How you were determined to regroup and create a new vision. How you reinvested in that vision, exercising the discipline not to revert to the old model and how you’ve now emerged with a new perspective and value proposition that meets tomorrow’s challenges.