It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during a crisis but for small business owners, keeping a level head during COVID-19 and discovering how to pivot their business could be the difference between surviving or shutting the doors for good. YBI reports.

There’s no denying we are living in unusual times. The unexpected fallout from the coronavirus has caused many small business owners to face financial stress as they struggle to adapt in these strange days. With so many businesses forced to close their doors to the public, it’s vital that business owners pivot without hesitation if they want to remain afloat.

Abbie White, business growth expert and founder of The Execution Zone says businesses that have executed with speed to pivot are already reaping the rewards. She cites the restaurants that have quickly set up delivery services, the distilleries pumping out hand sanitiser and the designers making personal protection equipment as just a few examples of small business nous during the pandemic.

While many businesses are struggling to come up with plans to change things up within their operations, White suggests what’s most important is to take action.

“Excessive planning and strategising won’t work as things are changing by the day and that strategic plan will be out of date by the time it is finished.

“This does not mean, do not plan. It means now isn’t the time to overthink it or wait until the plan is perfect in order to execute,” she says.

White believes even taking the smallest step towards your goal will make your feel more empowered and in control of the situation.

“If you’re not sure where to start with a pivot, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask what do they need most from you right now and then take your first step towards this. The rest will follow.

“Small steps lead to small wins and creates momentum, which is paramount to successful execution.”

How To Pivot

Ask yourself these 4 simple questions to plan your next move:

What happens if I do nothing? How long can we sustain this?

What is an alternative?

What is the next best thing I can do?

What is the opportunity if the alternative works?

White says that feeling overwhelmed can lead to a lack of focus so the business coach suggests honing in your sight on two to three tasks at most. Adopting the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) may be the best way to remain laser focused. Focus on the 20 per cent of activities that will drive the 80 per cent of your results.

Finally White suggests it’s vital to stop doing what isn’t working or delivering and start something new, then double down on activities that are already working well.

Australian entrepreneur, business owner, investor, mentor and author Dorry Kordahi, agrees that decisive action is what is needed during a crisis.

Kordahi, who has played an active role in the Australian startup and business community for close to 20 years and is an Advisory Board Member of The Entourage, said making tough decisions early is the only way for business owners to survive these challenging times.

“These are the most challenging times that we will experience in our lifetime, but if you have grit, determination and the entrepreneurial attitude, you can do what you need to do to survive, before it is too late.

“Be decisive, create an action plan, embrace innovation and adapt – it’s much better to operate at 20 per cent than 0 per cent, so be unafraid to make the decisions that need to be made to get through,” he said.