It’s a scary time for businesses right now as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the nation and world. There isn’t a sector or industry left unchallenged by this, and it’s forcing many organizations to enable constraints and cut their budgets in many areas. For obvious reasons, this creates many challenges for organizations attempting to survive a tough economic climate.
But there are ways to thrive even in the most challenging of times. While the coronavirus has had untold devastating impacts on the way we not just work but also live, there may also be areas in which we can improve the way we do things. For businesses, this means getting creative to solve problems.
Here’s how constraints can force creativity and potentially make your business even stronger than it was before the crisis.
Scarcity equals re-evaluation
While the COVID-19 response is unique, it isn’t the only time many businesses have faced a change at the same time. The morning of September 11, 2001, changed the way the world looks at national security and led to the creation of the TSA. The emergence of the internet in the 90s and early 2000s revolutionized the way everyone does business, making digital commerce critical to success. The 2008 financial collapse made everyone question the strength of our economy and sowed seeds of uncertainty at many levels of our financial systems.
Anytime a disruption occurs in how everyone does business, it can cause people, tools, and resources to become scarce. This scarcity is certainly tough on companies who have become set in their ways, growing accustomed to habits and routines that may or may not work. They may be so entrenched in the way they operate or market their company, they’re unable to react effectively when money dries up.
What this scarcity can do is inspire creativity by forcing you to re-evaluate how you do business. Take, for example, your marketing plan. How much of it is currently necessary and how much is included because “that’s how it’s always been done?” You’ll need to re-evaluate which components of it actually work, which ones give you the highest ROI, and which ones you can discard.
Examples of companies that adapted during difficult times
In a piece for Medium, entrepreneur Kelly Bertog examined several companies that actually started during a recession. A few of these examples include:
- General Electric: Launched right before “The Panic of 1893,” now worth $95.2 billion.
- General Motors: Launched before “The Panic of 1908,” now worth $137.2 billion.
- Disney: Though it started in 1929 as the U.S. faced The Great Depression, it has now become one of the world’s most powerful companies, valued at over $69.6 billion.
- HP: After starting during the 1937-1938 recession, Hewlett Packard is now worth over $58.8 billion.
What did all these companies have in common? It’s quite simple: no matter what external constraints they were facing, they used extreme creativity to continue to solve their customer’s problems. There may be a shortage of funding available at the moment. What there isn’t a shortage of is problems. If you can still solve these, you can still find a niche even in this most dangerous of economic landscapes.
Look at constraints as an opportunity for innovation
As evidenced by the companies referenced above, constraints on your organization’s systems can be a blessing in disguise. While it’s never comfortable to see cutbacks in resources, it also allows you to “reset” your operations while avoiding constraints. Along with applying laser focus only to the plans and procedures that work consistently, you can also see if there are new ways to do business you previously haven’t considered.
In a piece on the COVID-19 response for businesses for the Harvard Business Publishing’s Corporate Learning website, Larry Clark touched on the impact of innovation in the face of a crisis. He said, “As organizations grow, they harden their structures to create predictability, efficiency, and stability. Crises change all that.” Based on the COVID-19 response, that’s a bit of an understatement. Nothing is predictable anymore and stability’s been thrown out the window.
But this instability can create multiple opportunities for change, growth, and innovation. Clark adds:
“During a crisis, there can be a massive spike in energy present in the workforce. Leaders who can appropriately focus the energy of its workforce toward a clear purpose in resolving the crisis will typically find more than just a deep wellspring of energy and discretionary effort — they will often experience a wave of new ideas, as individuals feel compelled to share insights they normally would keep to themselves.”
He also notes that innovation is borne out of a need for problem-solving. The number of problems your organization is currently facing may vary, but every single one is facing one challenge or another right now. When you introduce a wealth of problems to your system, you also present an equal number of opportunities for your team members to come up with solutions with extreme creativity.
How to apply extreme creativity to your work
As you look for more marketing strategies and practices during the ongoing pandemic, look at ways you can get both more efficient AND more effective. Using extreme creativity to explore new avenues you haven’t used before to promote your business and your mission.
One area where there’s plenty of opportunities to help provide creative solutions for your slimmed-down operational and marketing efforts is in video production. Just consider a few ways in which video can help:
- Use demonstrations to showcase how your business continues to operate despite the shutdown.
- Deliver messages directly to your customers letting them know any changes they can expect.
- Communicate and brainstorm with existing staff, creating internal video prompts that lead them to develop innovative solutions.
It may not be easy, but limiting resources can often bring the best out of your team and its members. By encouraging an open, collaborative environment in which your team members operate within existing budgets, you may find your company even stronger than it was before.
If you’re interested in exploring ways to incorporate video into your team’s extreme creativity, look no further than the team at DigiVid360. We understand how to operate effectively with scarcity and can help your team implement video solutions that encourage creative thinking. For more on how we can help, contact us today.