Navigating business change through challenging times like these


With the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic being felt across the globe, most business owners have found their businesses affected to some extent and have found themselves trying to make sense of it all.

How do you navigate this change to give you the best possible chance of success?

So, as a business owner, you would have experienced a direct impact on your business as a result of COVID-19. Some have found themselves with more business opportunities and some with less, but how do you navigate this change in a way that gives your business the best possible chance of success, now and into the future?

As a business coach, my work is typically around helping businesses grow, and to do that strategic planning is essential.

In times of change like this, planning isn’t just helpful, it’s critical.

So, where do you start?

Use a planning framework

A useful framework to start using is our NOW, WHERE and HOW process.

So often in times of crisis, it’s easy for us to think about where we are in the present moment, and with this information, put our heads down and work really hard to develop a workable plan without really taking the time to make sure all our activity is joined up, relevant and likely to lead to success. Let’s take a look at how you can use this framework to help you navigate business change.

Firstly, what is your NOW?

The “NOW” element of this process can take into account all aspects of your business but will give you a great snapshot of exactly what’s going on and will highlight key issues in your business that will need addressing quickly.

Elements you might consider are current cashflow, products and services, customers, suppliers – in essence as many of the ‘working parts’ of your business as possible.

Next, what is your WHERE?

The “WHERE” will give you a good awareness of what the business will need to look like to be successful in the future.

This will include elements already considered in the “NOW” analysis as well as other elements you might have always wanted to consider, like diversification in your products and services, potentially new overseas markets, and similar growth opportunities, as examples, but whatever seems relevant.

It will also help you decide exactly what you do next (priorities and key actions) as part of your “HOW” activities. This approach will result in a more effective plan and will ensure you don’t waste time and money unnecessarily, both commodities you can’t afford to waste, especially at this difficult time with COVID-19.

Finally, let's look at the HOW.

By taking a little time to determine your true current situation (key burning issues, problems, immediate dangers) – what we call your “NOW”, and thinking carefully about “WHERE” you need to be in the future to guarantee the best possible outcome (even if it’s a short time period like the next 90 days), you’ll be in a better position to see the steps you need to take to make it happen – this is your “HOW”.

In times like these many businesses adapt rapidly and spot opportunities that potentially didn’t exist previously. Your business will probably be no different and with some awareness and adaptation, could find similar opportunity, but sometimes it can hard to find. But if it is there ( with the right support ), you need to find it.

Take action!

Like all great plans, they are a waste of time if not backed up by effective action. For maximum accountability, use a ONE PAGE PLAN to document your plan.

The objective is to collect all of those core objectives into a clear ONE PAGE PLAN to get you through the next 30 days.

Accountability between you and your team around all the planned activity is key in helping you navigate through these coming months, both to execute your plan of action effectively, but also to show your support for each other through this uncertain time – keeping morale high.

Repeat the process

Once you’ve planned the first 30 days, you can repeat this every 30 days, involving the necessary people (potentially employees, customers and suppliers), and be prepared to pivot or modify your plan as you get more insight, information and data around your key issues.

By using the process, you will have a forward-focused approach to your business growth and to making it through these challenging times, greatly increasing your chances of success in the future.

Get your one page plan template!

For a ONE PAGE PLAN template to use in your business, email and put “OPP” in the subject line.

If you would like to discuss Canoe supporting you with a One Page Planning session through a Zoom meeting, email and put "Zoom OPP" in the subject line.


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If you’re looking to make some positive changes to your business, let’s talk. Book an appointment with Richard for a chat and let's start to tackle the issues that are holding you back.

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