COVID-19 Recovery Plan: Imperative Actions for Every Business

A three-stage recovery plan to help your business return to its new normal

Photo of Terrie Ard

Terrie Ard

Chief Operating Officer and President

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

While we remain very much in the grip of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s clear the conversation is changing. Civic leaders may disagree on the details but are nevertheless discussing timetables and best practices for return to a new normal. Observant business leaders are realizing they may not get a true “all clear” signal. And while governors may opt to reopen states, businesses know that customers are the ultimate gateholders: Commerce will only happen if people agree to engage in it, and they will engage much less if they feel it is unsafe.  

With so many external variables, as business leaders, you can feel like your fate is out of your control. But it is essential to remember that you are not powerless! In fact, your success will depend on learning how to drive change during a crisis more than you let it drive you. In the early stages of this crisis, Moore created a three-stage COVID-19 Recovery Plan to help us manage this crisis both for our company and for our clients. It has worked so well for us that we would like to share it with you. 

With directives to “Engage,” “Emerge” and “Elevate,” this framework will help you maximize your opportunity to arrive in a position of strength as the economy reopens. As you work through each phase there are prompts to help you anticipate the needs of your two audiences — internal (your staff) and external (current and potential customers) – as you move through the crisis into recovery and on to prosperity. Let’s begin.

Engage.

This phase focuses on stabilizing the impacts of COVID-19 for your employees and external audiences. Your business has probably already done strong work here, but these efforts are dynamic and ongoing. The duration of COVID-19 is still being determined, but we’re placing the “Engage” phase in the Q1 to Q2 section of this timeline. From providing relief to your staff to preparing for all potential economic scenarios, this has been our journey to date in this crisis. Questions you should be asking yourself now include:

  • How do you address the current crisis while also preparing for long-term growth?
  • What additional actions are needed to ensure you are appropriately responding to the crisis?
  • What is the new message to each target audience?

We can already see the impacts of some of the business decisions made in this phase. Companies that show they care about the financial and physical health of their employees, customers and community are not only doing the right thing, they’re also preserving their brand (or even raising it). Studies show that most people want companies to do everything they can to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and suppliers — even if it means suffering big financial losses — and many individuals say failing to do so would erode their trust in a business forever.

Emerge.

The key to this phase is restoring confidence to all audiences in order to drive your company to pre-crisis levels, where possible. Based on the current analysis of economists, we put the Emerge timeline in Q2 and Q3, as different industry sectors will emerge at different times and with different levels within the recovery. Questions you should be asking yourself and your teams include:

  • How can you stimulate demand, in this new day, of your products or services?
  • What challenges/opportunities will be at play when the economy reopens (understanding it may be in stages) for your audiences?
  • What strategies are needed to align to the new mindsets and perceptions of your audience and conditions of the marketplace?

While the work of “Emerge” remains to be done, you can build a strong infrastructure now for this element of recovery by prioritizing communication with your internal and external audiences. Communicate frequently, perhaps even daily, with your staff, with a factual and transparent message. If you set a tone of optimism, your team will feel that tone and will be more likely to carry it forward to each other and to your customers.

Elevate.

This is your opportunity to embrace the long view. You should be ideating and planning for these opportunities now, with an understanding that this planning should surge even bolder in Q4 as you start building your strategic plans for 2021. “Elevate” is the true silver lining for our businesses. Just consider some of the great companies that were born out of economic recessions: General Electric, Apple and Netflix come to mind. Because of COVID-19, we can reimagine new opportunities that would not have ever been possible before. Questions to ask now include:

  • How can you transform your company through new ideas and bold action?
  • What new business lines or services can be imagined for your company?
  • How can you capitalize on new ways of engaging with your audience?
  • With a marketplace engaging at levels never seen before on digital, what new opportunities exist in digital marketing?

Some of the innovations we are seeing right now are reminiscent of the inventions of World War II, when the first digital computer and rocket technology came to the fore. Once again, our nation is working together under an abrupt new set of rules, with a heightened appreciation for the values of self-sacrifice, endurance and creativity. Business leaders who sacrificially care for others, embrace resilience and creatively focus on the horizon will position themselves to seize business opportunities and incite the innovations that will define tomorrow.

Watch this latest webinar that further explores the Moore COVID-19 Recovery plan framework.

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