If we fail to adapt...

If we fail to adapt...

11th January 2021

...we fail to move forward.'

As most of us are getting used to the idea of another indefinite lockdown, home-schooling aside, it can be easy to feel frustrated and slip into 'hibernation mode' both personally and professionally.

As the quote from legendary basketball coach John Wooden above suggests, adapting to the current situation is key, both for ourselves and our business.

With no new Tiger King episodes to occupy our time this time around, here are a few ideas from me on how we can try to make the most of the situation.

From a professional perspective it's incredibly tough to decide what we can do for our business without knowing how long restrictions will stay in place or when we'll be able to reopen.

Whilst it's tempting to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude, we run the risk of losing time, momentum and our competitiveness in a vastly different post-lockdown marketplace.

So what can we do now to gain an edge? Here’s my idea: consider your business –

AS IF time, energy or resources weren’t an issue

AS IF you were open to the public tomorrow

AS IF it’s either you OR a competitor who comes out of this stronger

AS IF it's January 2025!

In other words – remember the AS IFS:

· Adapt – look for opportunities

· Structure/Systems - what needs fixing

· Innovate - do something new

· Flex - listen to the market

· Streamlie/Save - reduce costs


We’ve already seen many in hospitality adding take-away, click & collect, delivery or online sales as an additional revenue stream. Take a look at your business and decide if there are untapped opportunities to grow sales – both immediately and longer term.

Are there other ways you can adapt your business now to prepare for the future?

One unfortunate downside of the current situation is a lot of amazing people have found themselves made redundant – are there roles in your business you could fill (or at least recruit for) now? The longer we wait, the more likely these candidates are hired by our competitors or, perhaps worse, leave the industry completely.

Were you maximising your business and/or premises previously?

If your business is predominantly daytime focussed how can you utilise the space in the evenings? (or vice versa) Pop-ups and residencies can be a great opportunity to drive revenue, raise awareness and help small businesses with minimal risk or outlay.

Events online (or in person when they’re permitted) offer a unique point of difference and the chance to generate sales whilst reaching a new audience.


Does the way your business operated previously work for the future? Where are the strengths and weaknesses in your operation?

Take the time now to revisit your business plan(s) and see what still works and what could be improved.

In terms of systems, now is a great opportunity to ‘fix’ those systems or processes that just aren’t right. Are you happy with your current POS? Inventory system? Payment processing? Payroll set-up? Maybe now’s the time to research and find a better, quicker or cheaper solution?

Even if you’re not prepared or able to make a change, could the POS be tided up or decluttered (likewise your inventory system)?

From what I’ve seen, many businesses are (understandably) still running with the same food and drink offer since they've run since last March or a streamlined/simplified version of this. Is now the time to work on menu development for the year ahead? Speak to suppliers, look at how your business or your customer base has changed and work up menus to fit.


In between cigars (and interns), Bill Clinton once said ‘The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.’

What’s new or different now that you can offer that wasn’t around, available or in fashion last year?

How can you maximise sales even with reduced capacity or other restrictions on how you operate?

How will you get noticed when you re-open?


One of our biggest risks right now is to commit time, money and effort to a task knowing there’s a risk that the lockdown is extended, another lockdown introduced or new restrictions put in place.

Without question things around us have changed and will continue to change.

How can we flex our business to reflect this?

Take a look at your physical location(s) – has the customer demographic changed? (More home-workers? Dog owners? Parents?) Are their needs being met?

Has the competition changed?

Did the café two doors down make a huge success of their takeaway over the last 6 months? If so, can you focus more on this or alternatively tone down your takeaway offer to focus on what makesyou distinct? Conversely if that café has closed down can you capture their customers?


Amongst the uncertainly, one thing we can be certain of is our need to keep our costs under control.

Now could be a great opportunity to review your supply chain, renegotiate some of your fixed costs and create an opportunity for a more profitable business when you reopen.

Finally, don't forget to consider what we can do for ourselves on a personal level, regardless of our work situation, I'd strongly advise to add some structure to your day, make self-care a priority (not a luxury) and use the opportunity to work on your personal development.

During the first lockdown I did a livestream with the great guys at EXP101 - take a look in the videos section of their Facebook page or click here for my take on making the most of our time during lockdown.

So, take the opportunity we have - don't wait until tomorrow to start but JUST START - think of this time as a luxury when we can choose how to move forward and come through this stronger, focussed and ready for a bright future!

In the words immortal words of S Club 7: 'Don't stop movin’...'

If I can be of any help professionally (or indeed personally) please feel free to get in touch.

Stay safe, stay well and keep busy!


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