Press Pause – Opportunities That May Not Come Again

The shutdown of economies around the world has devasted many businesses, large and small. There are some who have been uplifted with a surge in demand for their products, and many others who have pivoted into alternate product opportunities. Most, however, are struggling to just survive. Wherever you may sit in this season of economic pause, there is a Plan B that should be actively pursued in addition to surviving.


Active Knowledge Question:

Where is the focus of your key team members – survival, hibernation or business thriving? Is anyone considering how this economic pause may provide opportunities to change the way things are done in your business?


Stunned Mullet

There is one response that you must ensure does not exist in your business, and that is the ‘stunned mullet’ effect. Now for those who are not Australian, the expression refers to someone who is dazed by what has happened and are unable to respond.

There are business leaders who are so unsure as to how to respond to the current market shutdown, that they are doing nothing. But I would actually reframe their response and say that they are at a loss as to what can be done to save their businesses. And regretfully they may be right that there is nothing that can be done, as they no longer have any customers, and nowhere to turn, for example, the City-based coffee shop.

These are the instances where hibernation may be the only option. Close everything down now, take up whatever government support may be available, drawdown whatever reserves may exist and wait it out. And maybe there will be a light, an opportunity, as economies open up again to restart.

Honestly, you won’t know until we see how such a restart may occur, what will happen to costs and debts that may have been suspended during hibernation, and how quickly customer demand will pick up. But acting quickly to hibernate may be the action that will save your business.

The key point is to act and if unsure how to reach that point, then this digital and free guide may assist – GBSSSO.2020.


Plan B

Whether you are moving into hibernation, thriving from surging demand (medical industry) or pivoting to keep some revenue flowing (re-tooling to manufacture in-demand products – masks, ventilators etc.), there is a real and present opportunity that should not be missed. One that would otherwise not exist or could not be achieved. And that is to re-make your business.

Pause and think for a moment, it’s likely:

  • New ways of working and connecting are being formed, staff:
    • Are now working remotely.
    • Not having to travel in and out of the office, and have more time for family, exercise, health and themselves.
    • Have set up dedicated spaces at home to work.
    • Are learning how to connect, communicate and be productive online with teammates, bosses and customers.
    • Are no longer jumping on planes and staying at hotels for sales visits or to connect with interstate offices, again these skills are being enhanced. And time not invested in sitting at airports and on planes.
  • Agility is being developed exponentially:
    • Manufacturing lines are being re-tooled, and new products produced faster than you thought possible.
    • Logistics is becoming more efficient.
    • Supply chains are being rethought, and security over cost is now more important.
  • Creativity and innovation abound:
    • Need is driving creativity and innovation across entire businesses.
    • Ideas and opportunities are emerging, which never would have been thought of before.
  • Purpose is now prominent and has become a glue to unify a workforce:
    • Customers and employees are now questioning corporate ethics and purpose.
    • Contribution to the community is now vital.
    • Worthy leadership is now in the spotlight.
    • Profit is a weakened voice.
  • And Customers are developing new habits:
    • The preferences and buying patterns of customers are changing globally.
    • New needs are emerging, which will stick.
    • National borders are being re-established and globalisation weakened.
    • What is important to communities is shifting from what was evident in the previous decade to a new agenda.

So while your team A may be working in your business simply to ensure survival, or reap the opportunities that are there for today, you must have an exceptional team B, led by your mavericks, who are redesigning your business for tomorrow.



You may have placed your business in hibernation or not, whatever your status, you must look to what is happening in our workplaces and our communities. You must look to tomorrow because it won’t re-emerge the same as it was yesterday, no matter what business you are in. If you think it will, you are likely on a path that will not end well for your business.

Two key outcomes must be pursued:

  • Ensure your business re-emerges fit and designed to meet the needs of customers as they will be, not as they were.
  • Lockdown and secure all the opportunities that are presenting themselves for improved efficiency and effectiveness, that the new working arrangements are offering.

There is a ‘present opportunity’ to re-make your business for this new decade and beyond, making it more customer-focused, more efficient, more agile, more people-friendly and effective, and through all that more sustainable, profitable, and valuable. The opportunities present during this pause will likely, hopefully, not arise again in the distant future.

While pause has been pressed, use the time to set your business up to be stronger and better than it ever was or could have been under the old ways of doing things.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel