Editorial: Make business plans now to leap ahead when pandemic ends

Keywords Editorials / Opinion

Some of the best advice we’ve read so far about getting your business through the pandemic came from local venture capitalist and attorney Matthew Neff, who argued companies must be developing their restart plans now.

In a column in last week’s IBJ, Neff argued that, when government officials ease up on the restrictions that have kept us out of stores and restaurants and many workplaces, the economy will restart more like the Kentucky Derby (in other words, from a standstill) than the Indianapolis 500 (where there’s essentially a running start).

So the question is: Will your company be ready to sprint forward?

It’s a question we encourage companies across the region to try to answer right now. Although it seems as if this pandemic is going on and on, it could actually end fairly quickly. And your company’s readiness to leap back into the fray will determine how well you recover from the hits you are likely taking during this economic freeze.

It matters for all of us, because how well individual businesses react will determine how well our regional economy recovers.

The folks at Circle Kombucha are good examples of leaders who are looking beyond the immediate crisis to what’s on the other side.

When restaurants either closed or went to takeout only, the manufacturer of fermented tea lost about half its sales. So it has shut down its manufacturing line and reduced other expenses.

But CEO Matt Whiteside told IBJ he’s not taking his eyes off the company’s 2020 goals, which were set well before the pandemic took hold in Indiana. In fact, he and other executives at the company are using the time to push those plans forward, among them to become a certified B Corporation (B for benefit), expand to additional markets and introduce a new product.

“Even though the world is in a bit of madness right now, we’re trying to find ways that we can continue to be a positive influence both in our community and on the health of those around us,” Whiteside said in a story in the April 3 issue.

At IBJ, we’re so interested in this topic that this week we introduced a weekly podcast called “Beyond COVID,” with the goal of helping local companies get to the other side of the coronavirus crisis in a position to thrive.

The first episode features Neff, who goes into more detail about how business leaders can use a 90-day sprint to reset their key performance indicators and figure out how to achieve them. Each Tuesday morning, we’ll have a new episode with advice from experts about steps to take now to help your companies get stronger for the coming weeks and months.

Look for new episodes weekly at www.ibj.com/beyond-covid. You can also find the podcast each week at www.ibj.com/coronavirus, which is our page that rounds up all of our coronavirus-related coverage.

In the meantime, email us at ibjedit@ibj.com to let us know how you’re doing.•

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