The Elephant In The Room

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

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Posted by Jessica Nutt.

All businesses, big and small, will most likely have to deal with some kind of crisis management at some point along their journey.

One distinctive feature of our current situation with COVID-19 is that all businesses are managing the same crisis, at the same time. Therefore, it is crucial to work with each other, to lean on each other, provide support and help where possible, so that we can all successfully navigate our businesses through this change.

At TTIH, we had just launched the business right as the pandemic hit our shores, and we were forced to re-think our strategy and come up with a new action plan focusing primarily on helping our community. Richard came up with the idea to host a series of webinars with experts from the travel and tourism fields, in the hope of starting open conversations about how to survive the crisis and revive our businesses while doing so. In our first Facebook Live Session with Mark Carter, we were provided with incredibly valuable insight into how to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and how to take advantage of the recovery. Here, we have unpacked the main steps for you.

1. Retain a Sense of Normality

Right now, our emotions are running high. We are reacting to every breaking headline, statistic and of course the initial negative impacts on our businesses. Often when we react with the hot emotions of anger or fear, we make rash decisions. But, if we want to last and become better in the long term, we need to maintain a sense of normality in our personal and work lives. This starts by taking care of ourselves; trying our upmost to remain calm, even practicing meditation or yoga, working out or writing a gratitude list now and then… everything we can do to remain in a positive headspace. Once we achieve this, we can start to imagine how easy it is to make rationalised decisions again, and think critically. By doing so, we are able to get back to our normal mental and emotional processes, and our normal routine prior to COVID-19. We have to think of this first step as self-preservation because without you, and without a rational you, where will your business be months from now?

2. Regain Control

Instead of watching, waiting and reacting as a passive bystander in the midst of a crisis, it is imperative to regain control of your business. Although this may seem impossible, we can start by planning, re-strategising and creating contingencies for the future. To stay in a position of empowerment, we must be on the front step; remaining active, up to date and educated and consequently more capable of creating effective strategies. More losses will be suffered if we keep drifting, but being realistic and pragmatic will be essential traits of successful business traders during this time.

3. Innovation Thrives on Disruption

This is something people may forget. We’ve discussed managing crisis through rationality and strategy, but now we’ve come to the creative step. Disruption almost forces our creative juices to flow, and this is how we revive our business to match the market post-crisis. The new demands and gaps in the market will guide the ways we choose to add value to our products and services. This may include repurposing assets or constructing new business models to ensure we capitalise on the opportunity to produce something relevant and valuable to the new market. An example is the rise of Uber and Airbnb after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. The disruption birthed a new sharing economy, and with it, the opportunity to market fresh and ground-breaking services. We should visualise this process as re-entering the market on rich soil. By planting relevant business models, we are preparing for the consumers who will be ready and waiting for change.

4. New Opportunity to Connect

Now more than ever, is a time to be visible to our consumers. It may not be a time to promote the latest and greatest gadget, but it is vital to remain in the foreground. Be tactful, use discretion and be strategic with your image during the crisis in order to maintain positive relations with your stakeholders. We should also filter information to ensure it is relevant to the current climate, otherwise our businesses will be drowned out.

Obviously, there is no quick-fix to a management crisis, but these steps will make the process easier and help you reach your long-term goals.

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