How to Help Your Business Come Out of Covid-19


It goes without saying that pretty much all businesses around the world have been and/or will be affected by Covid-19. Whether that’s a significant, positive, negative, short-term or long-term effect will obviously vary from one to another. However, while the immediate impact on the revenue and operations is a significant challenge in itself, it’s the impact on the very nature of the business model that’s more sinister, difficult to identify and fundamental to the future of any organisation. So what do CEOs need to know and could a Fractional CMO help you identify the information you need and create a strategy to move forward?

An article in this month's Harvard Business Review discusses a framework for identifying business-model risks and opportunities in a crisis. It’s based around three key steps:

  1. Look at the four core areas of your business: customers, value propositions, value demonstrations and capabilities.

  2. Analyse the connections between those areas

  3. Create realistic objectives during and after the crisis based on different scenarios

This all sounds straightforward, but as with so many things, the magic is not so much in the what as the how. So much of this depends on taking an unapologetically stark review of all areas of your organisation and the market in which it operates. Sometimes, that means coming to terms with fairly sobering truths. That’s not always easy to do from the inside, which is why an external marketing expert, like a Fractional CMO, can provide valuable input.

How a Fractional CMO can help you work through these stages

Central to creating plans for the future is customer behaviour. Consider whether demand has changed? Have consumer habits changed? Does that indicate a need for a seismic shift in what you deliver or how you deliver it? Are there new potential customers? Has a particular pipeline of work dried up? And crucially, are there safety implications to what you do, caused by the virus?

This leads seamlessly into a review of the value proposition. Is what you do still relevant? If so, has the way in which it needs to be accessed changed? For example, students still need to be educated but there’s a need to access more classes and materials online rather than in person.

While we may have thought the digital realm was important before Covid-19, the virus has added enormous value to the way we interact with it. More than ever it’s a necessity rather than optional. People have more time to read and review information, for example, which may mean revising your messaging so that they get a more in-depth and reassuring understanding of what you do and how you do it, in lieu of going into premises and asking a reassuring brand representative in person. A marketing consultant, like a Fractional CMO, will provide invaluable support when assessing your value demonstration processes in order to attract and retain potential clients.

Finally, reviewing your capabilities is integral to making all of that analysis work. It could provide opportunities to save resources as well as highlight areas of investment most likely to create significant ROI. For example, could you downsize your offices now that so many people are working from home, but invest more in marketing technology to improve your service as well as your customer experience?

Bringing it all together

Having done all of that work, the most challenging part is bringing it all together into an informed strategy. If you have identified new markets, how are you going to reach them? If you have identified redundant areas of your organisation, what are you going to do about them and over what time period? If you have a shortage of one capability how are you going to limit the risk to the quality of your own product or service?

The exciting thing about having done this type of analysis properly is that it isn’t about focusing on crisis and how to plug the proverbial leaks to weather the storm. It focuses on finding new opportunities, which any CEO and their organisation should be doing on an ongoing basis anyway. After all, markets change and evolve even without global pandemics. 

This year’s events have forced changes in all markets, some of which we could not have foreseen, but many of which were already underway. In doing so, it has driven changes to business models (like increased working from home), that we have all been nudging towards for some time, and it has forced our hands. In themselves, many of these are not crises, they are simply changes to business models. Importantly, those organisations and CEOs that are already familiar with a forensic approach to self-analysis know, this is the key to helping them stay ahead of the market and their competitors at any time, but they also happen to give them an edge when coming out of a crisis as well.

Find out how a Fractional CMO could help you review your business model with gigCMO