In the last of the current series of Firestarter Forums, we tackled the elephant in the room and asked our audience of business leaders ‘what does your business need to look like to survive?’ Somewhat surprisingly, the conclusions we arrived at were extremely positive, with a philosophical view on the challenges and changes that we’ve all faced over the last few months and over 80% having an optimistic outlook for the future.
In fact, one of the strongest themes that has come out of the last few weeks’ forums is that the current COVID-19 crisis has accelerated change and businesses are now doing things that they would never have thought possible before. For some, this has come out of a necessity to pivot and adjust their business model or proposition in order to survive, but for others it has provided an opportunity to review the way we were doing things before and make some positive changes for the future. Whilst the UK economy still stands on a knife-edge and there are millions of people on the government furlough scheme, we do have to put things into perspective, but we are all learning valuable lessons about ourselves, our businesses and how we should be operating in a ‘new’ trading situation once this is all over.
Looking back over the last 10 weeks
So, if we cast our minds back to early March 2020, just 10 weeks ago and quickly reflect on how business leaders felt at that time, there was a clear sense of trepidation and concern about what COVID-19 would really mean for businesses. During a really intense 10 days or so, uncertainty was the most common feeling in the conversations we had with our clients, colleagues and network partners, as they attempted to grasp the potential scale of this crisis. Everyone was going through the same emotional process as they realised that they were going to have to make some difficult decisions and potentially big changes to their business. As discussed in our first forum session, this can be clearly highlighted by the change curve as demonstrated by our guest speaker, Lisa Zevi, with people at different stages in the curve.
On March 18th, after many conversations we came to the conclusion that Firestarter has an obligation to put our collective skills to good use and share our thoughts to be of practical help to businesses who were struggling. To begin with, we made a video (still available to watch on the website here) and came up with a five point plan for ‘staying calm in a crisis.’