How Entrepreneurs and Startups Should React to the Coronavirus


With the global outbreak of the coronavirus, many entrepreneurs and startups are collectively holding their breath, waiting for a positive outcome. Before I jump in, it is important to note that I am not a health expert and have no insights on when this pandemic will end. What I do have is over 30 years of business experience as an entrepreneur and investor. During that time, I managed to survive everything from terrorist attacks, recessions and even virus outbreaks without losing my business or experiencing revenue declines.

After learning from these experiences, I now follow a three-part process that ensures my businesses thrive during these times of uncertainty.

Part 1: North Star Optimization

The North Star is the first phase of BOSS and is the most important phase because it aligns your company towards your end goal, including your acquires and stakeholders and sets the stage for your company’s strategy.

I recommend revisiting your North Star 2-times per year and especially during times like this. The specific areas that I pay most attention to are the What, Why and Who. Buyer behaviors change constantly and even more so during times of turmoil. Having the ability to reframe your messaging and value propositions through the lenses of:

1. What is your service and how do you add value to your customers?

2. Why should they engage with your company product or service now?

3. Who are your target buyers and what are their new motivations?

Part 2: Go-to-Market Shift

With the progress made in the North Star Optimization, I now turn my attention to the GTM approach and how it should change as a result. No matter how strong your GTM was prior to the pandemic, the reality in most cases, it will need to be adjusted. The amount of adjustment depends on your industry and offering, but nevertheless, when the market changes you need to adapt.

There are 3 key areas I revisit during the GTM shift.

1. What to sell?

2. Where to sell?

3. How to sell?

Part 3: Kaizen

Perhaps you’ve heard of continuous improvement or Total Quality Management. Both of these are based on Kaizen, a philosophy that originated in Japan and is all about encouraging change for the good. The overall notion is that it’s better to make smaller, continuous improvements rather than bigger, sweeping major changes. It’s all about tweaking the process if you will.

There are two general types of the Kaizen Loop: The Kaizen of Strategy and the Kaizen of Standards.

1. Kaizen of Strategy:

Kaizen of Strategy focuses on the flow of materials and information and is often identified with the reorganization of multiple departments or the entire company.

Specifically look at how you can improve internal and external communication and data loops. Is your company able to transmit information out and then receive data in while deciphering and distributing to the appropriate person or department?

2. Kaizen of Standards:

Kaizen of Standards means focuses on the improvement of individual departments workgroups.

Are your internal departments aligned and efficiently working together? Do you understand where, when and how departments intersect during the customer journey roadmap?

If you have questions on the blog or the BOSS Methodology & Framework please click here.

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