Concentrate on fighting this battle – not the last one
The Art of War is consistently one of the best sellers in the business section and there’s hundreds of more books about adapting and implementing successful military tactics and strategies into a business.
Some ideas might be more appropriate than others, unless your business is shooting people in which case they could be lifted wholesale but we digress.
Sometimes business tactics and military tactics converge – other times they are poles apart but there is something to be learned about leading a large group of people towards a common goal that appeals.
The ironic thing is that even some of the best generals are guilty of one of the most obvious and costly mistakes any leader can make – deploying the same tactics against a new tactical situation and expecting the same results.
The first week of July sees the anniversary of two such tragic examples.
Two great leaders – General Robert E. Lee of the Southern Confederacy and Field Marshall Douglas Haig of the British Army – both did what they’ve always done but because circumstances had changed, didn’t get the same results.
Lee recognised his error but the damage was already done and the Confederacy was defeated less than a year later.
Haig doubled-down on his mistake and sent thousands more men to their deaths in sadly predictable circumstances before changing tack and tactics later in the war.
You’re probably not about to command an attack on a defended position so what does all of this have to do with you reopening your business as the Covid-19 lockdown eases?
It’s because the situation on the ground has probably changed for your business and if your approach hasn’t then you too could be looking at an expensive and possibly terminal defeat.
The new rules about social distancing, PPE and cashless payments have fundamentally altered the ground for any physical business. Even online companies might find their supply chains compromised and stretched beyond breaking point, assuming they have enough funds to pay suppliers on time.
Businesses in the hospitality sector are suffering even more, assuming they are allowed to reopen this month and some headline-grabbing recent announcements from the Chancellor aimed at the sector including a 75% VAT reduction for six months and a discounted midweek meal scheme for restaurants and cafes.
These measures are all temporary and there’s also the spectre of local lockdowns being reimposed anywhere across the country, so even if you make a promising start to your post-Covid-19 trading, it could be halted at a stroke.
Fortunately the weapons at our disposal have changed too – giving us more scope and options to help a business dig-in for a long campaign and restructure their finances to become more resilient to any more downturns in finance or fortune.
Once they understand your circumstances and situation, they’ll be able to draw up a strategy to help you navigate through the current environment and return to positivity and profitability sooner than you might think.