The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise. Businesses around the world have been affected and as we experience the second wave, you may be wondering whether your company will survive. While most owners believe cutting costs to match their sliding revenues is the solution, I’m here to tell you that there’s another way!
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
Right now, you could be forgiven for having a fixed mindset about the future of the economy. This likely means you’re taking a conservative approach that includes cost containment measures, laying off surplus staff, and avoiding any risks until we reach a more stable point in time.
While that sounds like a good plan, according to research, the companies that do well during recessions and other disaster periods are the ones whose management teams take a more growth-focused approach.
This mindset includes focusing on existing strengths, searching for new opportunities, and preparing for future growth so you can make a strong comeback when things ease up.
Do you have the psychological resilience you need to survive the pandemic?
What It Means to Have ‘Psychological Resilience’
When a person or team has psychological resilience, it means they can cope mentally or emotionally during a crisis and move on after it passes without lasting damage. Stanford psychologist and professor and author of Mindset, Carol Dweck, claims this kind of resilience is a learned skill.
She says it is part of a mindset grounded in the belief that hard work, dedication, intelligence and ability to overcome challenges can result in great accomplishments.
How Companies Performed in Previous Recessions
The last recession we had was 2008-2010, so we need to look back at companies that survived to see whether the resilience theory works. A March 2010 study of 47,000 public companies published in the Harvard Business Review studied businesses that survived the three previous recessions (1980, 1990 and 2000).
The 9 percent that thrived had a growth mindset that led them to balance the economic challenges with sharpening their skills and improving efficiencies. It also empowered them to grab available growth opportunities by keeping and increasing their staff numbers, recommitting to their marketing programs and investing in assets for long-term growth.
These companies ultimately kept their brands alive, sent signals to their employees and clients that they were strong, and finished noticeably ahead of other companies.
A Tall Order?
You might feel like it’s a tall order to try and stay positive, adopt a growth mindset and invest more rather than less during a time like this. I’m not suggesting you do more than you can or incur major debts to do so. Some of the options small business owners can tap into, however, include:
- Maintaining a positive outlook. This helps you show leadership to your employees and keep your customers happy, both of which are vital for keeping continuity when things level out.
- Looking out for small business resources offered by government and financial institutions. From stimulus packages to wage subsidies, taking advantage of these options can help keep your business afloat until you recover.
- Making short- and long-term financial plans for your business and yourself. You need to have the reassurance that you can pay your rental and your staff – this month, next month and the month after – before you can logically consider growth activities.
- Continuing to build your brand online using an omnichannel strategy. It costs a fraction of other types of marketing and with the pandemic’s digital shift, it’s the place to be. You can find some suggested ways to do this here.
- Seeking out opportunities caused by COVID-19. This might sound ghoulish, but every cloud has a silver lining. Even though people are hurting is so many ways, if you handle it with grace you can pivot your business offering to one that has increased demand because of the pandemic. The current quiet period is also a good time to roll out any digital transformation projects or shopping options.
- Providing upskill and cross-skill training opportunities for your staff. As far as possible, you should try to keep your staff. They rely on you and a good team will support you and appreciate knowing that you are taking care of their jobs. We’re all in this together, so stand with your people and know they will stand by you in the future.
Believing in your business’s potential to re-energize and reinvent itself is the most important thing you can do, but it’s not enough to just feel that way. Take steps today to start developing your psychological resilience, and the positive approach you need to ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to the coronavirus.