Build scenarios! Be present! Take time to think!
March 24, 2020 – More great advice for those in the travel industry as we wait for things to improve. Build scenarios!
Depending on where you live it has been a week, two or three that your business has been ordered into lockdown. For most of us it feels like months, or even years, when it has really been weeks only. It also feels like you are already late with decision making, and you feel the urge to sort things out as soon as possible. This is understandable, this desire to get things under control. I have the same urge, day in, day out. The idea that you can’t do anything about the current situation can be very debilitating, especially for entrepreneurial minds.
The future looks very bleak right now, so if you are a small business owner in the travel industry, a hotelier, a restaurateur, travel consultant or else you should not look into that direction for too long. It might make your head spin. On top of that, the future doesn’t really exist. There is only the present, and what you do now really matters. So, there are few things I recommend you can do starting now, if you have not done it already:
Work on scenario planning
Scenario planning is not the same as prophesying or predicting the future. It is a very useful tool that you can use to help yourself figure out most likely scenarios taking into consideration the two most important factors for the success of your business. It can be for example the time it takes for the crisis to be over and money you have in your account, it can be time and connectivity, whether the world will remain a global place, or we will keep the new borders indefinitely or money and connectivity. Based on the most optimistic and the most pessimistic outcomes draw the four scenarios and see where it takes you. It might give you an indication of the four possible future directions. Probably much better than what you have now.
Protect the cash-flow to the point where you don’t destroy your chances to bounce back
This is not an easy one. The urge is to protect whatever is left, but don’t jump your guns. Talk to your partners, talk to your suppliers, and firstly and lastly talk to your team members. Create different projections based on the different scenarios you devised in your scenario planning. Keep an eye on the day to day development to see which direction is most likely to occur and follow that.
Look after your teams, personally and professionally
Companies that have not built their teams around a common culture and shared purpose will falter like a house of cards. If yours is built around a common culture and shared purpose, keep it alive. Do not allow for panic to destroy something you have been building for years. Keep the internal communication alive, clear and honest. If you have built the right culture it will not be only up to you to keep the flame alive, others will pick up as well, just don’t put it out. We have been under for a short period of time, but it may last. No matter what, do not add additional and unnecessary pressure by imposing deadlines. Those who come out of this crisis mentally healthy and team-strong will have a head start for a quick recovery.
Look after your partners, you will need them again
Call people. Offer help, ask for help. Just talk to them. Try to share the burden, perhaps financially but also psychologically. There is nobody winning in the travel industry right now. Absolutely nobody, and that is unheard of. Share your scenarios and get their insights. We are in this together, but we are also in this alone as we are the main players only in our own movies. Talk to others to hear how their movies are playing out. The crisis will be over, but a lot of players will likely remain the same, and you will need them, same as they will need you, sane and ready to bounce back.
Stay visible, but be smart about it
You want to keep your visibility, and that is important and understandable. Make yourself visible but be very smart about it. It is the right thing to continue using social media to a certain extent, but use it to promote the importance of mental health, promote life in small communities if you are in one of those, tell the stories of local heroes and support the efforts of people who are putting everything they know into solving this crisis. Or else tell a dream. Tell a heartfelt story.
You can also read more on how to communicate in the time of coronavirus crisis in this article.