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How Business Leaders Should Guide Recovery Right Now

There’s still no end date in sight for the COVID-19 crisis, and leaders to implement long-term plans for recovery.

As states begin to reopen and businesses once again welcome customers through their doors, there’s a sense of hope and optimism surrounding the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while the global economy is still in the midst of a crisis, it’s more important than ever for leadership teams to have a strong pathway to recovery.

Peter Hayes, principal and co-director of Chief Outsiders, a company that helps brands’ executive teams move their businesses forward through insights, strategies and execution, has had a lot of experience guiding leaders in times of need. Now, that need is at an all-time high as businesses are fighting to come out on the other side of the pandemic. Despite the challenges being faced now, Hayes notes that most leaders are positive about the future.

“We’ve done our own benchmarking as to what’s going on by taking a look at the 100-plus clients we’re working with right now,” Hayes said. “Most of them have been hit negatively, but are confident that they’ll be stronger than ever on the other side of the crisis. We’re expecting that we’ll see the same recessionary trend to last through Q2, and then things will come back. We’re very bullish when it comes to plans for the rest of the year after summertime.”

In order to guide their businesses to recovery and navigate the COVID-19 crisis, Hayes recommends that brands rethink their plans to cut back on spending and marketing during this time.

“Many people immediately turned everything off when COVID-19 began. Now, they’re starting to get more aggressive and they’re realizing that this is the time to show up with relevant offerings,” said Hayes. “Take the restaurant space — just because you have takeout doesn’t mean that people know you’re open or know you have specials. We’re seeing a lot of brands quickly adjust and try promotional offerings they haven’t done before, and consumers need to be made aware. We’ve shared with our clients that it’s the ones who are bold in downturns that ultimately benefit.”

In order for brands to recover and emerge stronger than they were before COVID-19, it’s also critical to think outside of immediate needs and next steps. What will make or break brands is their long-term game plans.

Mike Goldman, business coach, speaker and author of the soon to be released book, “Breakthrough Leadership Team: Strengthening the Heart and Soul of Your Company,” said, “Right now, what I’m finding is that the companies that are reacting well to this are picking their heads up from their plans for the next day, week or month. They’re now looking at mid- and long-term plans again.”

Hayes agrees that success will be dependent on planning for the long-term, noting that it’s time for new plans to be implemented in a short amount of time.

“Business owners need to have a plan and not just wait for the economy to lift their company out of the crisis,” said Hayes. “Be opportunistic in a healthy way, not in a way that takes advantage of the situation. Now is the time to plan so you can go further. The thing that a lot of people don’t read about is the fact that some businesses aren’t going to survive this. Still, the economy will come roaring back. Those that are out in front will be more visible and aligned with the new wants and needs of consumers. So our advice right now is to make a long-term strategic plan — along the lines of those that are typically done in Q4 — and be ready to implement it in a few weeks.”