Navigating the Crisis | Plan a Return to Scale

2 minute read

With 30 million people having filed for unemployment, businesses and individuals are in dire circumstances. But despite the difficulties many are facing, the crisis will pass. When businesses are able to reopen, how will they return to operating at scale? Businesses need to manage the increasing amount of work skillfully and efficiently while keeping costs at a reasonable level.

To manage this transition back to scale, businesses should identify their key capabilities, assess their options, and create a detailed plan. Here’s how. 


Identify Key Capabilities

According to the SCORE Association, “Scalability is about capacity and capability. Does your business have the capacity to grow? Will your business systems, infrastructure and team be able to accommodate growth?”

As important as those questions are in stable economic times, they are even more important in times of economic crisis. Chances are, your business has the capacity to grow to where it was before. But are your systems, infrastructure, and teams ready to handle the growth? That’s where ServiceNow workflows can give you a boost, helping you trim inefficiencies and keep everyone on the same page.

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Once you’ve identified whether returning to scale is possible, it’s time to identify the specific capabilities that will help you get there. What sets your business apart from a customer’s perspective? What core strengths can you focus on? What key activities will move your business forward?


Assess Options

In times like these, it’s helpful to look to companies that successfully weathered crises in the past. Crossfuze CMO John Ryan compiled research from Bain & Company, McKinsey, and Harvard Business Review to see what could be gleaned from these companies’ strategies. Some of the results were surprising.

“One may think a company focused on cutting costs would benefit the most after the recession,” Ryan says. “Not true. Companies that cut back more than their competition . . . had the lowest odds of being stronger in a post-recession market. The companies with the highest odds of flourishing after the recession . . . had reduced COGS [cost of goods sold] but hadn’t cut employees more than their peers and had also allocated more resources, relative to their competitors.”

If you’ve already done the opposite of what this research found, don’t panic. There are still options for allocating resources where they will be most helpful. For example, you might consider dedicating them to one of the core strengths you identified in the section above.

Moving forward, companies can implement some of the strategies Bain and McKinsey suggest:

  • Restructuring costs
  • Cleaning up financials to allow for flexibility
  • Reinvesting selectively and focusing on growth, even if it means incurring costs
  • Looking out for M&A opportunities


Create a Plan

Now that you’ve identified your company’s key capabilities and assessed your options, it’s time to make a plan for getting back to operating at scale. The plan should start out flexible and become more detailed and concrete as the scope and impact of the crisis becomes clearer. Keith McFarland, an entrepreneur and former Inc. 500 CEO, suggests starting with lower-risk steps and working your way to higher-risk but faster-growth steps as needed.

As you’re making your plan, be clear about exactly where you want to end up, advises entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss. The big picture is crucial. Zoom out, identify exactly what you want the company to look like in a certain amount of time, and then work backward from there. 

It may not feel like it at the moment, but the crisis will end. Once it does, businesses will have the opportunity to move forward and make themselves the best they can be. To manage the transition back to scale, businesses can identify their key capabilities, assess their options, and create a detailed plan. 

Learn how ServiceNow can help your business return to full function.

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