Business development · 24 April 2020

Three ways to create a plan of action during COVID-19


Future Retail Consulting founder, Catherine Erdly outlines three major ways businesses can create a plan of action to steer them through the uncertain waters of COVID-19…

Weare living in extraordinary times. The impact of coronavirus on people’s lives has been immediate and dramatic. It’s leaving many business owners completely lost and, to a certain degree, feeling real grief for what has happened to their business.Whateverthe situation, there are always some businesses that do better than others.

There are two choices right now. You can choose to stay frozen in fear, or you can see this time as a chance to re-evaluate and come back stronger. No prizes for guessing which typeof businesses do better.

Step£1 – What is happening in your business right now?

Startwhere you are. What are you still able and willing to do? Take five minutes to think about all the elements of your business and write down what’s still functioning and what has to be put on hold right now.Evenif you are still able to operate, think forward a few weeks and try and identify any bottle necks or issues that might be coming up.

For example, you may still be able to dispatch products, but are your packaging suppliers still operating?

Berealistic – how much can you currently achieve given the time and resources that are now available to you? Many of us are now juggling extra responsibilities with children home from school, so even if you technically can keep trading, do you actually havethe capacity?

Steptwo – What do you need to work on?

A’sWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) is a powerful and simple way for you to run through your business. Identify what has been working well, then list out areas for improvement.Tocreate a SWOT, fold a piece of paper in half and then in half again to give yourself four quadrants. Start writing down whatever comes up in your mind, don’t try and edit your thoughts as they go down on paper. Just let them flow out and put each one into
the appropriate section as you go along.

it’simportant to take the time to reflect back on what has gone well and look at your strengths. Starting with the positive will help you remember how far you have come.

Withweaknesses, this is not an opportunity to beat yourself up, instead it’s about putting your finger on the areas of the business that need fine tuning. Separate out the weaknesses in to the things that you have known for a while needed more work, and the issues
that have come up as a result of the coronavirus.

Opportunities?- these are often the opposite of your weaknesses. So if you know that your website needs more work (a weakness), improving your website is an opportunity.

Threats?- this section is a great place to capture all of those niggling fears that have been bothering you. Writing down any concerns that you have about your business is a great way to put them in to perspective.

Stepthree – Where do you want your business to go?

Imagineit’s two years from now and you are being interviewed about how your business came out of this time. What would you tell that person? Did you pivot, or did you take the time to re-group but your original model was unchanged?



Catherine Erdly has over 19 years experience working with product businesses of all sizes from high street names (such as Paperchase, Laura Ashley and Coast), all the way down to brand new businesses with just a handful of customers.