As a business owner, you must answer to unexpected problems that affect your business. But make sure you are responding, not reacting to these situations. This article discusses the critical difference and why it matters significantly in an economic downturn.

How did Covid affect your business?

Covid may seem like “old news” to many people, but when it rocked the world in 2020, businesses scrambled to adjust to new restrictions. While some businesses pivoted and came out on the other side of the pandemic, others had to close their doors permanently.

It’s important to revisit this situation because if we look at how the economic landscape of the country suffered, we can still see that many businesses still aren’t prepared for another economic shift like we experienced.

In fact, statistics say that 25% of businesses won’t open again after a disaster. (

The difference between the businesses that fail and those that survive is response versus reaction.

The Difference Between Response and Reaction

The difference between response and reaction generally refers to deliberate preparation, prior planning, and intentional action.

This starkly contrasts with simply doing something from a place of fear or panic.

Instead, we must be confident and flexible enough to pivot in unexpected situations – big and small.

Think about emergency response organizations that drill and train for the inevitable. When a fire erupts or a traffic accident happens, firefighters and police officers typically view the situation as another day at the office, because they have already planned to react in an intelligent, effective, and professional manner.

They have the resources on hand; they understand how to deliver them best, and they confront the situation from a position of strength, not in a weakened state of distress.

Similarly, when a business is planned with proper contingency solutions in mind, it can avoid missteps and poor judgments while capturing a greater market share. Experiencing an economic downturn only strengthen it – by allowing it to put into action the concepts that it has been practicing all along, it refines and strengthens its approach.

How to Create an Emergency Response Plan for Your Business

The key here is to be both prepared and flexible to be able to pivot no matter what the situation.

“A pivot means fundamentally changing the direction of a business when you realize the current products or services aren’t meeting the needs of the market” (Agrawal, 2020).

Looking at situations like Covid or even the 2008 recession, the needs and wants of the target audiences change drastically.

Here’s how to stay ahead:

  • Create systems and processes in your organization that will allow you to track and be proactive to disruptions on the horizon.
  • Have employees that are risk-takers and innovators. Those that aren’t stuck in old ways that could hold you back.
  • Remove unnecessary complexity in your business, and you must remain open to new possibilities

Solid planning and establishing milestones for your business is not only crucial, but it is a cautionary tale as well. Remain diligent and flexible. Use the disruption or disaster as a pivot point for your business to grow. No one said that growth would be painless.

Do you want to expect the unexpected and be prepared for every situation?

Talk to a business coach to help you uncover the areas in your business that are most vulnerable. Visit our website at to get connected.