Seize the Opportunity: Prepare for Post-Pandemic

By: Lou Quinto, Leadership Speaker & Executive Coach, Executive Development Associates, Inc. 


Seize the Opportunity: Prepare for Post-PandemicIn this time of uncertainty, businesses have a unique opportunity to retool their operations, refine processes, change their workplace culture, and refocus on their products or services to prepare themselves for business post-pandemic. 

If there was a time for a change, the time is now. Let’s hope this opportunity to implement significant change is a once in a lifetime event. Gone is the organizational change limiting mentality of; “Well that’s the way we have always done it,” because when we come out of this pandemic, the way we have always done things will be outdated or obsolete. 

Those businesses which lean into this crisis and take the time to prepare their business models, organization, services, and products to adapt to a changing marketplace, changing customer demands, and a changing workplace will be able to hit the ground running and be the most successful. However, the window to make these changes will be short. Those businesses that wait until we get back to some sense of normalcy to make changes will be left behind and struggle to regain their place in a post-pandemic world. 


Here are three things you should do now to start getting your business ready. 


  1. Reach Out and Talk to Your Customers

In most instances, you won’t be taking orders, booking future engagements, or prospecting for new business because, like your business, your customers are thinking about today, this week or this month. Most aren’t thinking about three to six months from now. Instead, take this time to talk to your customers to gather data. Ask questions about how they are and what kind of messages they are getting from their upper management. Be prepared to be depressed. In most instances, the news probably won’t be good if you are looking at it through a lens of future business opportunities with them. They are as uncertain about the future as you are. You’re going to hear about “cost savings” and “expense cutting.” Prepare yourself for this before you make the call. But remember, that’s not the purpose of your call. Discuss structural changes they might be making such as reorganization, “right-sizing,” and delayed purchasing. Inquire about future needs and changes they have identified, and what plans they have developed for when the end of this crisis comes about. Remember, you’re gathering data as it relates to your product or service. This information will help provide you the knowledge to make decisions when you adjust the plans and goals that were in your original 2020 business plan. 


  1. Revisit Your 2020 Business Plan

Now is the time to pull your business plan out and start adjusting, knowing that whatever goals and plans you had at the start of the year are no longer realistic. The future is cloudier than ever, so focus on the basics of your business and those things you are most certain about – your products or services. Approach the planning of each product or service with the following questions: 

    • How can we deliver our product or service more effectively?
    • How can we make our product or service more convenient and accessible?
    • How can we deliver our product or service more economically for both my company and the customer?
    • How can we provide better customer service?
    • What is the best way to market our products or services?
    • How can we prepare the sales staff to hit the ground running?


Approach each product and service as an entrepreneur who is new to the business. On paper blow things up. Be creative. Take your business apart. Identify your business’ existing driving forces and make them the key leverage points on which to build your new plan. Identify and refine your strategic competitive advantage – or take this time to create one – to help your business stand out when this crisis is over. Approach your products or services with the following problem statement, “How can we do it better?” 


  1. Get Buy-In from Your People: Let Them Help Create the Future

Now is the time to engage your employees and get them to start thinking about a bright future. Like you, they are confused, scared, and depressed. Your efforts during this time can serve as the beacon of hope that the future will be bright and their open-minded approach to the business is vital and valued. 

Break your business down into parts and prioritize them. Work on one part at a time – starting with the most significant part. Allow different groups to work on individual parts of the business based upon their disciplines. This technique is an important process of sound critical thinking. It’s called “separating and prioritizing.”  It’s like a mechanic that wants to improve the performance of a car’s engine. The mechanic takes the engine apart and repairs, updates, and cleans individual parts before putting the engine back together. You and the people with whom you work will become the mechanics for your business’ engine. Give them ownership. Allow them to make decisions. Allow them to identify processes that may have gotten gummed up over the years, suggest necessary refinements, and eliminate non-essential or redundant tasks. Give them the responsibility to develop action plans with assignments and milestones to gauge progress. By doing this you will find that you are creating a culture of ownership and accountability unlike any you have ever witnessed in your organization. Remember, people tend to support what they help create. 

This is a scary time we are living through and giving your employees a part in creating a bright future for their livelihood will help everyone get through this time in the most productive and forward-looking way possible. But most importantly it will help prepare your business for success in a post-pandemic world. 


About the Author: 

Lou Quinto has over 20 years of experience in employee development, management training, executive coaching, and consulting with expertise in teaching managerial skills, critical thinking skills, professional presentation skills, and motivational speaking. His style of training and consulting is described by clients as engaging, motivating, and productive, making him a popular choice for conducting seminars, management retreats, and executive coaching sessions. 

Lou is also the co-host of a weekly video blog and podcast called Q&A on Breakthrough Leadership that provides leaders with the latest insights on leadership, business planning, critical thinking, communication and developing teams. He is a graduate of Purdue University and resides in Indianapolis, IN.