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What is your exit strategy?

Everyone knows that there’s a global pandemic currently happening, right? Yes? Ok, good. 

It seems like the only thing we can think or talk about these days. As hard as it seems to believe, the wild circumstances we are in right now caused by Covid-19 won’t last forever! 

When it does come to an end though, what’s your plan?

In all the years of building brands and growing businesses, we have learned that it takes a different mindset and set of skills to be in survival mode and to be in vision/growth mode. It takes a different kind of energy to focus on the NOW than to focus on the 5 years from now that is required in vision/growth mode. Being agile and being able to switch between the two modes is a skill in itself because it requires a different energy and adaptability. 

Right now everyone is in survival mode. 

We’re all trying our best to get through this difficult time caused by Covid-19. It’s time to get gritty, put your head down and focus on how to get to the other side of the minefield that is currently wreaking havoc on the business world. The good news is that it IS possible, even though it might not feel like it right now. If you look very very closely, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re in the middle of something, it’s easy to feel like it’s the only reality that exists, but that is not true. Keep going, and you will come out better than you went in! You can think of any problem in business as a math equation that you have yet to solve. There is an answer to the problem, you just might not have it yet. This particular moment might be more in the realm of advanced algebra rather than simple arithmetic, but it is possible. 

It’s hard to have an abundance mindset in the midst of scarcity. 

However, to grow a business far beyond where you’re at currently will require an abundance mindset and vision beyond current circumstances. I know a lot of people are thinking about how to survive right now, but I wonder:

How many people are making a plan for once this is over? 

The visionary plan you wrote down at the very beginning before you were in the middle of the journey.

We thought we would put together a few lists. The first list is of the mindsets and skills needed to make it through Survival Mode. The second is a list of the mindsets and skills needed to win in Growth Mode. These 2 lists will be followed by 2 lists of prompting questions. We hope these lists and questions help you build a plan, both for now and for when we exit this crazy time.

Here are some of the attributes of Survival Mode:

  1. The Tyranny of the Urgent: Have you ever heard of the term triage? It’s mostly referenced in a medical context, but can also be used when it comes to business needs. You can look that word up for yourself, but basically what we’re saying is take the time to identify your business’s greatest needs and worst problems and give those things your best attention.
  2. Conserving: We’ve mentioned the word gritty at least twice already. You may not be able to allow yourself the little luxuries you would normally enjoy. Tighten the belt a bit and know that’s it’s only for a time. Short-term loss for a long-term gain. Ration the resources you do have. Downsize where possible. You’ve got this.
  3. Reaching Out For Help: One of the most important aspects of building a business is good relationships. If you’ve built a business, there is a good chance you have people all around you willing to help where they can. Don’t be afraid to ask, but beware of opportunistic people in this time, and be careful not to become opportunistic yourself. That can be a fine line during a time of scarcity.
  4. Fight to Survive: During a time like this it’s easy to go into hypermode. The fighting spirit is fully activated. Long crazy hours, little sleep, skipping meals, high levels of stress – those things are not sustainable. Don’t forget that part of survival is rest, and you will have to fight for that too.

Attributes of Vision/Growth mode:

  1. Observe the Trends and do Your Homework: Unless you’re tapping into a completely new market that doesn’t even exist, there is information and resources all around you to take advantage of. Take your time, make a plan, follow the plan.
  2. What is in Your Hand?: All of us have gifts. All of them different but all of them meaningful. A lot of times we see something and decide we want to do that thing without really diving into our gifting. We were all put on this earth to thrive and do great things and a process of self- discovery and self-honesty is the best way to inform that vision.
  3. Do Great Work and Let That Speak for Itself: Don’t get caught up in over-marketing yourself and trying to be louder than the next guy. Gimmicks will only get you so far, and in the end you won’t be happy with your product if your focus is all about selling. Build a base of enthusiastically satisfied customers and let the word spread organically.
  4. Plan your work and work you plan. Catch the clearest moments and be disciplined to capture that energy on paper. Don’t plan your low moments out…. plan your high moments when you are feeling clarity, energy, and life!

So, what is your exit strategy?

As you are starting and growing a business, it’s not always about how it started, it’s not about the bumps you hit along the way, what matters is how you finish. This pandemic will come to an end, do you have a plan in place to finish strong? It would be insane to play a great game with lots of drama, and fumbles, and tackles, but then loose in the 4th quarter.

So to take stock in your resources use the outline provided by this graphic:

Now that you’ve seen that graphic and have taken it in, use the following questions to take you further into the ideation space. Hopefully these help you craft your plan.

Write answers to these questions: 

  1. What are you willing to struggle for?  
  2. What did your 8-year-old self love doing?  
  3. What makes you forget to eat?  
  4. How are you going to impact the world?
  5. If you knew you were going to die one year from today, what would you do and how would you want to be remembered?

Now that those questions have got you going, you should be starting to have a much clearer path about what your resources are and where your passion lies. Now begin to think of ways you can take action now…

  1. Face the fear. When you’re ready start to something new, there’s so much that can inspire fear.
  2. Be realistic. You can—and should—dream big and bold.
  3. Make it a priority. Sometimes you need to finish something else before you can start something new. 
  4. Get started. Having one ginormous to-do is daunting.

Steve Weigel

I am a Partner and Brand Strategist at Honest Media. I love Brand Building, Travel and Motorcycles. Forever Curious.

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"Honesty is the Revolution."