COVID-19 Schock - A Strategy to Recover

Corporate Survival in the Age of COVID-19

When is a good time to start a strategy session?


If you are like most of us, you probably did not have a strategy for COVID-19. Not even in our wildest dreams, could we have imagined something like that to come and change our lives and businesses overnight.

According to Christian Rangen, founder of Strategy Tools and global strategy and innovation authority on dealing with near-term scenarios, there are three types of transformations:
three types of transformation

We believe COVID-19 puts most of us in the “shock” stage, which is triggered by outside events or outside pressures that force the company to transform. Transforming means that you are forced to rethink and change part of or your entire business model.

Where and how should you start?

We recommend starting with the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas.

If you have done them for your business already, it is a good time to revisit and review them. Some things may have changed, e.g. now that most of your customers and partners working from a home office, how you communicate and deliver your services and products to them would most likely change. How can you overcome this? Can part of your service or product be turned into a digital solution?

You will often notice that you have several business models in your business - not only one. If you have a second customer segment, you might want to map it with a different color Stattys Notes. If you notice that your business model is “too colorful” and complex, pick a new Business Model Canvas and map your second, third, ... business model separately.

Adapting to newfound needs of your customer base

Just last week I heard about an impressive project in Germany: the community website

Originally, it was founded to connect you with your neighbors, so you could share things or tools with them, and reduce the need for everyone to own something that you use just every other month, e.g. a hammer. Due to the increased help needed thanks to COVID-19, they’ve now added a new functionality where you could offer or request help from your neighbors. This could be grocery shopping for those that cannot do it themselves or for whom it would be too risky to go outside. Great idea and fast execution.

Start with Your Business Model

Make sure to practice your skills by mapping business models of other companies to learn and become better. It looks so simple, but it does take practice.

You know that you have practiced enough, when you later meet a new person and ask them what they or their company is doing, and you might notice that you try to map the answers this person gives you to a virtual business model canvas in your mind. Good job! With a few additional questions, you are able to get a good understanding of what the person and the company is doing. 

Okay, what next?

At the time I’m writing this, early April 2020, those of us who are fortunate enough, are mostly working from home. Never before have we faced lock-ins, shutdowns and such radical restrictions to move.

Those of us who run a business are now in survival mode – new orders are abruptly declining, and even worse, existing orders are being increasingly cancelled. If you feel overwhelmed, desperate and are in a panic, I am afraid this is the new normal – for the time being. Now is the time to keep going and start planning for the upturn!

There are some obvious actions that can be taken:

  • Safeguarding your liquidity is now the most important.
  • If governmental or regional subsidies are available, apply for those immediately.
  • Some governments provide other means as well. Google to find them.
  • You need to estimate how long your business can exist without running out of cash.
  • Stop advance income, corporate and other tax payments and VAT payments. This is now possible in Germany. Check the options in your country and region.
  • If you have rented office space, consider starting to negotiate with your landlord. Harsh reactions, like from Adidas, might not be the best way.
  • Apply for subsidy loans, but only if you think you can pay the loan back within a few years.
  • Start honest and transparent communication with employees, suppliers, customers and partners. Negotiate deals and consider a fair solution for both parties.
  • If possible, start creating digital services or products, which also work when people are working from a home office. And yes, I know, easier said than done.

Our partner, Strategy Tools, has created two new online courses that we felt are especially relevant now:

Startup survival in time of crises

Startup survival in Time of Crises – free

This is for a startup founder, board member, investor, cluster manager or even accelerator programs. It is also relevant, for investors of all types, angel clubs, super angels, VC firms and family offices. If you are a business coach who helps and supports startups, you should also find this useful. You can complete this free mini-course in 2+ hours.

corporate survival in the age of covid-19

Corporate Survival in the Age of COVID-19 - € 9.99

"We have the biggest crisis any of us ever will experience”, says Christian Rangen. This course is built to increase the odds of your business's survival and get you thinking about the upturn. It is designed for business leaders at all levels and we consider it equally relevant for business coaches. You should be able to complete this mini-course in 2 or more hours. Just make sure you do all the exercises. This is a “take action course”. Start now!

Both courses include a download of the new specific Survivability Canvas, which makes it easier for you to start now and see visually how you progress. You can download the canvases, when you enroll in the course.

I hope this helps.

Stay healthy!

Mikko Mannila
Entrepreneur and founder of Stattys