Real-Time Product Development Courtesy of COVID-19

Real-Time Product Development Courtesy of COVID-19

The current Coronavirus pandemic has created a major case of heartburn for many businesses, but it has also provided opportunities. If you have done a SWOT analysis, this will certainly help test your assumptions and challenge your ability to rapidly develop new products and services. Before I go any further, please allow me to say I do not mean to make light of the current crisis, nor am I advocating opportunistic exploitation. Rather, I hope to help you figure out how to best pivot your business and thrive in spite of it.

The key to making it through all of this is where you focus your attention. As Tony Robbins would say “Energy flows where attention goes.” If your attention is on the deficits and hardships – the weakness part of your SWOT – guess what? That’s what you’re going to see. But if you are attending to the opportunities and are being creative about it, you should be able to pivot and at least stay afloat. Right now, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the negative news, the losses and the hardships. If you can get beyond that and look for the opportunities, you will be more likely to make it through this challenging period.

Go back to the basics and your SWOT if you need to. Reexamine your strengths in the marketplace. Be honest about your weaknesses – and remember that this situation will generate new weak points in your strategy as well as new opportunities to apply your strengths. You may need to collaborate with people you would otherwise not collaborate with and be more creative. For example, a local limo or transportation company may need to offer their services to rides to people who normally use mass transportation (which is typically a pot of virus-soup), but that means repricing at the least and likely forming alliances with commuter organizations. You will also need to figure out who – and what – provides the greatest threat to success under these conditions. The term “frenemies” may take on new significance.

Think of new or innovative ways to apply your strengths to leverage opportunities this crisis has created. An IT Managed Services firm might, for example, offer remote tech support to multiple locations and a platform for virtual meetings, solving several issues for companies that suddenly have home-based employees. A restaurateur may offer special lunch menu and delivery options for families whose children are learning from home, solving several possible issues school closings create for families.

The key here is to focus on your customers’ needs and ways you can fill those needs, not on your revenue problem. When you get right down to it, this is not really any different than normal operations – assuming you really did that SWOT and have a customer-centric product development strategy. If not, now is a great time to get to those in place.

Need some help? We are currently offering a special, limited opportunity for smaller businesses that need some assistance creating a road map to get past the challenges of COVID-19. Contact us for details.