How Your Business Can Prepare For Life After Coronavirus (Start This Exercise Now)

Dan Sullivan
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If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the coronavirus situation has drastically changed your daily life and business. I’ve been through many scary times since I started out as an entrepreneur in 1974 and, without sounding too alarmist, I think this one may be the biggest yet. This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, as it affects not only businesses but virtually everyone across the globe.

But the question I’m thinking about right now is: How can businesses prepare for life AFTER coronavirus?

Right now, most businesses are focusing on the short term. They’re not prepared for the long term because they have a lot of immediate problems they need to handle right now with regards to coronavirus. And that’s okay.

But we also need to be preparing ourselves for the long term and the “new normal” that we’re going to come back to. That’s where the First 100 Days exercise comes in—because it can be difficult to prepare for the future when you have so much to focus on right now as the coronavirus continues to affect our daily lives.

Why this matters.

When I was first asked, “Dan, how can businesses prepare for life after coronavirus?” my mind immediately went to the First 100 Days exercise. It’s a great tool to help businesses across all industries get prepared for the future after coronavirus—and it’s a great way to start thinking positively about how your business will get through this.

This tool looks at what’s going to happen to our businesses when we enter the “new normal” after the coronavirus pandemic dies down. And I say “new normal,” not “old normal,” because it won’t be the normal we’re used to. A lot of things will have changed—both in our businesses and personal lives—so it’s going to be a new normal. (Which can be a good thing!)

By filling out this tool, you’ll be preparing your business for the first 100 days after the pandemic, when the “all-clear” signal goes out. It’s all about ensuring you have a plan for when you get back into the office, post coronavirus.

I highly recommend you start on this right away. I’m sure you have more immediate problems with the coronavirus situation, but you can still spend some time on this each day to prepare for that moment where your business is able to get back to its full capacity. With this tool, you’re not only preparing for the future, you’re creating it.

Do you know what your team is going to be doing when the coronavirus dies down and you all get back to the office? Download The First 100 Days exercise to start preparing right now.

Using this exercise for your life and business.

The First 100 Days exercise is split into three columns—Morale, Momentum, and Motivation. These are set up as areas of reflection based on three different time zones.

Morale is everything that you’ve done up until now that has prepared you, in both your personal and business life, to be at your best right now. Even though this coronavirus situation is entirely new, we have all gone through many scary times with our businesses—and those have prepared us for this moment. Use this column to draw on that experience and see how prepared you and your business actually are for this situation. (You’re better equipped than you realize!)

Momentum is the second zone, where you take note of all the things that are working for you and your business right now. We all have resources and capabilities at our disposal that will allow our businesses to move through this coronavirus pandemic unscathed. But we often get so caught up in our immediate problems that we forget about the resources available to us. We need to take stock to prepare for those first 100 days after coronavirus.

Motivation is the most exciting column because it covers all the new opportunities that are suddenly possible for your business due to the changing landscape and marketplace. The coronavirus is a worldwide crisis, and as entrepreneurs, we are uniquely equipped to provide solutions to this crisis. Once you recognize these changes, you’ll see solutions popping up left and right.

The final portion of this exercise—in the row at the bottom—is to list five tangible and practical initiatives that you are going to focus on with your team in the first 100 days of being back. The three columns above have armed you with the knowledge of what was normal before coronavirus, what you’re going through right now, and what the future holds post coronavirus. This area puts all that knowledge to use by giving you a clear plan of action for when the new normal arrives.

So, how can businesses prepare for life after coronavirus?

For business owners, it comes down to how we think about our thinking. When we’re confronted with situations that might paralyze or sidetrack other people, we can respond creatively and innovatively. If we can all take this time to think creatively and innovatively, we’ll be able to respond to this coronavirus situation in the best way possible.

How I look at Morale & Momentum.

When I look at Morale, Momentum, and Motivation, there are a few things that come to mind.

As I’ve said, I think the coronavirus may be one of the biggest challenges I will face in my lifetime. But when I look at what I’ve been through since starting my entrepreneurial journey in 1974, I have a lot of experiences to draw on.

Even though the coronavirus is a totally new situation, most crises share a lot of similarities. In total, I can think of around seven situations I’ve gone through just like this—and every time, our business has come out the other side stronger than ever. The 2008 recession comes to mind in particular—and as a company, I am very proud of how we handled that.

It’s important to remember that entirely new experiences are rare. Most “new experiences” are really only about 20 percent new. In most cases, you already have around 80 percent experience with this new situation. The coronavirus might feel entirely new, but you’ve gained tremendous learning and skills from similar situations in the past—so you’re more prepared than you think. That is one thing that gives me morale during times like this.

I look at the Momentum column as the sort of “MacGyver” column because it’s the area where we can take stock of what we have, what’s working, and figure out how to pull it all together to make things work with our business.

As entrepreneurs, we have many resources at our disposal, and our businesses are uniquely positioned to help those in need right now. Sir James Dyson—the famous inventor and vacuum manufacturer in the UK—recently used the resources at his disposal to come up with an entirely new ventilator for coronavirus patients in just ten days. He made 15,000 of them, selling 10,000 to the government and giving away another 5,000 to emergency wards.

That’s just one example of what you can do with the resources available to you, and we’re seeing businesses around the world stepping in and doing similar things with regards to coronavirus.

Putting the pieces back in the box.

Finally, there’s a great analogy that I heard from one of our high-level clients that fits perfectly in the motivation column. Think of this coronavirus situation (or any crisis) as a game of Monopoly. Right now, we’ve just finished a game and we need to put the pieces back in the box.

But we’re getting ready to play another game. And for the next game, we get to change the pieces, redesign the board, and set the rules. This is an exciting time because we’re able to reset and change our businesses in ways that would have otherwise been impossible. We’re truly creating our new future.

So, what will you create? And how will you prepare your business for those first 100 days after coronavirus?

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