Assuming the variants don’t keep coming, the worst of the pandemic might be over. Of course, if you live in a vaccine-resistant area of the country, it may still be hovering, threatening to lower the population or at least make it very uncomfortable. Come to California. Wear your mask.
But if you’re CA-based as most readers are, and if you are a director, an owner/operator, or a senior manager in your company, it’s probably time to look at lessons learned from surviving the past year or so. Especially if, as predicted by some scientists, we’re going to see recurrences of such viruses for years to come, this is the time to look at what you’ve learned – or should have learned – that will impact the profitability and viability of your company. Here are some thought starters:
- Which assumptions that you had made before COVID have proven wrong? They might have been valid in normal times, but it wasn’t and might not be again. What assumptions need to change going forward? Do you feel lucky?
- Given the new assumptions you think are appropriate, what are the implications on company liquidity? On enterprise value? Will they require serious repositioning or or reorganizing?
- Have you made changes to your business model in response to your expected future scenarios? Or, do you know you should but have been putting it off because it’s uncomfortable to contemplate?
- In the new environment you envision, will your returns be sufficient to cover your obligations for debt service and distributions to shareholders? This assumes you’ve already made efforts to reposition corporate debt in the very favorable market structure that exists today.
- What is your business plan as the recovery picks up steam? Are you comfortable that it will be implemented effectively – especially if it has major changes from what went before?
- And finally, if this is an opportunity to get ahead of some of your competitors, how will you do that? This is not about benefitting from someone else’s pain but making sure you make all the right strategic moves to advantage your company, just as your competitor will if they get a chance.
Get your board of directors or advisory board to participate if you have one. If you don’t, that would be item 7 on my list of thought starters, or more likely item 1. It’s important to have around you people with whom you can exchange ideas, especially when some of them have experiences you don’t have but could benefit from.
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