Adapting Rapidly to a Crisis (The ARC Model) 



Sometimes something unexpected comes along. Something you may not have planned for. Something new, dare I say the word: unprecendented.

The coronairus (COVID-19) crisis has impacted and continues to impact businesses in ways we have never seen before in our lifetime.

In this BizWizdom special we’ll take a look at the Adapting Rapidly to a Crisis (ARC) model you can use to work through next steps for your business at this critical time.

Watch this short video below…


SIX Questions to Ask Yourself First...

A crisis can too easily force people to make knee-jerk reactions that might not be the best for your business.

Remember that even though the effects may stretch for months or years in some cases, this current crisis is temporary.

Think short term, medium term AND long term when responding. 

As well as challenges there are opportunities to not only survive but also thrive. 

Mindset and leadership will be especially important now. Keep calm, composed and reach out for help if you need it. Practice self care and remember you have all the resources you need to succeed.

Research and claim any relevant financial support you may be entitled to from local or national government or other sources and conduct a cost audit, minimising non-essential outgoings if cashflow is an issue.

The following 6 questions are designed to frame your thinking in terms of your unique situation.

1. Do you need to do anything?
…and if so, when? Some businesses might be shielded from effects, perhaps for a period of time and ‘doing nothing’ is a valid option. In the current crisis this is unlikely for many businesses and if you’re reading this I’m going to make an educated guess that your business is being impacted or at least you expect it to be very soon. Mapping out various potential scanarios is useful here and the timing of when to enact any actions if needed will be important. Planning is your friend and remember you’ll need to communicate effectively even if your plans remain largely unaltered.

2. Can you deliver differently?
Sometimes a switch in the mode by which you deliver your product or service to meet your customers’ new needs can keep continuity in cashflow. For example, can you conduct appointments online? Piggyback product delivery infrastrutures? Reschedule events and use the extra lead time to maximise revenue?

3. Can you offer something new?
What is the true essence of your business’ purpose? Perhaps there are new or previously retired offerings that fit with this purpose that would now resonate with market conditions. Maybe you have ideas or developments on the backburner that can now be brought to the fore. Or maybe this is time to review your purpose and vision.

4. Can you pivot?
Can you switch to a related (or evern unrelated) market that is less affected or a new market that has been created or propelled by the crisis?

5. What do you actually want?
A clearer diary and time away from the coal-face gives you time and space to evaluate want you really want for your business and life. Maybe you’re ready for a change and this crisis has presented the perfect transition point for you. Maybe you want to permanently drop elements of your business or completely tansform your business model to give you the lifestyle you’re looking for.

6. What’s your personal situation?
This model is about the survival of your Business as a separate entity. Any actions will also depend on what personal financial buffers and support you have in place so you can survive whilst all the adjustments are happening. If financial survial is an issue for you, research government help, reach out to your network and consider other income options too.




The ARC Model

If you’ve decided that adapting rapidly is needed for your business…

The ARC model acts a framework to condsider the capabilities in your business and the changing needs of the market we now find ourselves in. Identify how this applies to you. The intersection of these is a starting point to develop an action plan.

 1. List out your current business capabilities: what can your business do right now (even if it’s not currently actually doing it). Now add things that you have done historically and things that you could potentially do.

  • Consider the expertise and skill sets in your business and what strengths are particular to your business
  • Map out your current and potential market, identify what customer data you have (maybe information you’ve forgotten you have at your fingertips).
  • Revisit, reconnect and refine your vision.
  • Remember your brand loyalty and culture are big assets right now.

2. Identify current and future market needs: things can change very fast in a crisis and different needs might emerge as things develop. These needs might be short lived or even become long standing. If your business is matched to meet these needs, you have an opportunity to serve your market.

  • What pre-existing needs that you haven’t yet tapped into are still current?
  • What needs have been newly created or have expanded rapidly?
  • How have customer behaviours changed?
  • What are people’s priorities now?
  • Where is there an urgent need or necessity?
  • What technologies are being used? What can you leverage?
  • Are there niches or microniches that now fit?
  • Can you serve new customer profiles?

You may realise that you have potential capabilities you can add after exploring the market needs.

3. Action Plan: At the intersection between capabilties and market needs is your source of action. Identify and prioritise actions for adapting. Remember to test, evaluate and and be flexible. Which will you take forward?


Some Examples of Adapting Actions that Businesses Have Recently Made

  • Online delivery of services
  • Delivery of physical products
  • Productising services
  • Online and contactless payments
  • Delayed delivery of services / products
  • Deposits and payment plans
  • Flexible terms
  • Temporarily holding subscriptions if services can’t be delivered right now
  • Switching production 
  • Changing marketing to resonate more with existing or new markets
  • Team working from home
  • Furloughing
  • Using the time for planning / product and service development




No Matter What...

Whatever you decide to do or not do in your business, things are changing and change needs leadership.

Here are some action points, regardless of your business decisions:

  • Understand what’s happening, how this is affecting your core market generally and specifically and how people will be feeling and thinking.
  • Communicate. Now’s the time to increase relevant, sensitive communication to customers, your target market, your team, partners and any other stakeholders about what you’re offering, how you’re operating and any other changes happening that might affect them.
  • Give people a reason (or reasons) to buy or stay as customers in your communications.
  • Lead the Change: understand how people repond to change (denial, shock, anger, rejection, frustration, low mood, feeling of loss/hopelessness, acceptance, exploration, seeking support, direction, integration with new reality) and give them the information, tools and skills they need as well as supporting them through the transition.
  • Look at your business assets – what are they worth to you or someone else. How can you ensure you protect and leverage these.
  • Scenario planning – identify what could happen next and the responses different scenarios would need so that you’re prepared.
  • Review cost-effectiveness of your operations. Business improvements now can reduce negative impact and strengthen your business resilience for the future too.

A crisis, can provide an opprtunity to work smarter and make business better. If you can thrive in these times, imagine what you can do next.




What’s your next best move?


See you next time!