Tuesday Morning Focal Point

It is not time for SOS, it’s time for SAS

Many business owners are looking for a lifeline right now.  We know of many businesses that are not making it through the current pandemic reality.  So many businesses are sending out SOS signals and expecting someone / something to come to the rescue.  To a certain extent, the government investments in keeping our economy going are needed, and will be the saving grace for some entities.  However, reality is these relief measures will cost someone at some point, as such, doing an SOS right now is not enough.

Reality is, if your business needs an SOS call in order to survive, there is a good chance your business will not be sustainable in the future without significant changes.  This is actually not the time for SOS.  You should avoid SOS measures as much as possible.  Rather than sending out an SOS (Save our Souls), I am calling all business owners to engage in SAS (Survival and Strategy).

You may be worried about what is next and how your business is going to survive.  As such, you may need to undertake many initiatives aimed at survival.  However, I challenge you that for every survival decision or step you take, take a corresponding strategy step.  Survival is about today – stopping the breathing and prolonging life a little longer in the short term.  Strategy is about your rethink, your reposition and your pivot.  You may be needing to do survival, but if and as you do, you simply have to be thinking longer term.  If not, you are delaying the inevitable.

What are survival moves?

Survival moves can be anything from layoffs or salary reductions to office closures. It could also be putting a hold on some business lines and profit centers that you don’t believe can make it right now.

What are strategy moves?

Strategy moves are things like utilizing resources for new market value, acquiring businesses that are not pivoting, building infrastructure and systems so you can hit it hard in the recovery and moving into brand new markets where need is increasing.

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If you are focused on SOS and SOS alone, you are a lame duck and your business is just slowing. You are not stopping the bleeding.  You are slightly delaying the inevitable.  SOS is a race to the quit line…   SOS is giving up and saying we quit.  SOS does not look good on you.  SAS is what some of the largest businesses we know today did during the last economic crisis.  They smelled and chased opportunity.  They did survival indeed, but also did strategy.  Or, better yet, some did strategy exclusively and didn’t even consider survival, as they were so confident in their strategic direction given their ability to anticipate the market trends being revealed.

Cameron’s Call to Action

  1. Make a list of all of the survival moves you’ve made in the last month.
  2. Do you have a corresponding list of strategy moves?
  3. Sit down with your senior team and make sure you have at least as many strategic moves as you have survival moves. If not, get into strategic thinking and plan your moves.
  4. Get ready to make your moves to adjust to the new market reality.

SAS not SOS – don’t fall for SOS, that is a quitter’s mentality.

Cameron is an Executive Coach and Consultant specializing in business growth and creating psychologically healthy workplaces.