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Reply To: I am a business owner, and I feel like I am continually fighting fires dealing with different issues that have come up from being locked-out, to working virtually, do wage subsidy applications, to bank negotiations and landlord negotiations – my worry is the time that I am not thinking about the ‘big picture’ – what can you give me as a owner around what and how I should be approaching this time? 

Love the advice from Debra and Scott. Here’s some additional tips I got from a fellow director who recently shared the governance approach he is taking with his portfolio companies:

Start with Winston Churchill (he’s always good for a quote) “Never let a good crisis go to waste” 

And that’s where I start.  The approach we are taking is to ask the following questions: 
1. What will be the shape of our business in future
2. What are the core assets (people and hard assets) we need to have, in that future model
3. How do we protect those assets in the transition, and how do we eliminate the non essential assets as quickly as possible
4. How do we ensure that any decisions we make now are consistent with the model we believe we will have in the future
5. And be prepared to change our mind (almost daily!) about what that future model looks like.
6. How do we, in an equitable way, spread the pain 

The whole basis of this approach is to survive so we can then thrive.  There are some fundamental questions about what society will look like in future. The whole dynamic of society may change –  the big question is, how will it change? This unfortunately is the big unknown.

How can I reshape my business to a future proof model, when I don’t know how society will, over the medium term, react to what is happening right now.  Will we go back to what we did before, or will society have fundamentally different principles by which it operates? 

There will be a lot of SME’s who will fail. Others will thrive. As Darwin once said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

So, keep doing what you are doing and focusing on the important and immediate things that need to be managed including relationships of staff, customers and other stakeholders. Look after yourself AND, when you get a moment to reflect, consider the questions offered above. Where possible, include others in the exploration of these questions (your advisors, directors and staff).