4 Steps to Move Your Business from Defense to Offense in Times of Disruption

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we’ve all been punched in the mouth recently. What’s your new game plan? Since COVID-19, the annual or quarterly one you had is now irrelevant.

You have two options:

  1. Sit and wait for the world to go back to the way it was, a place where your plan may have worked (and let’s face it, that’s not happening).
  2. Create and act upon a new game plan. One that’s built to overcome disruption and transform your business into something better and stronger.

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Option two it is!

I know all of this disruption hurts. It’s painful. I’m an entrepreneur and have been feeling the pain, too. But, it’s not all bad. It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to adapt, improve and transform. You just need the tools to do so. You need to take the necessary steps to face disruption head on and evolve into something stronger, leaner and ready for the upturn.

For my own businesses and for the business leaders we coach around the globe, my team and I have developed a method to move businesses toward an offensive position amid disruption: we call it D.S.R.O.

It stands for Defense, Stabilize, Reset and Offense. It’s a four-step process for mitigating loss in your business and planning for intentional action that will ensure your business overcomes the disruption and prepares for the upturn – better and stronger than before.

Let’s dive in.


A powerful offensive strategy hinges on a strong defense. Identify actionable safeguards you can put in place. The right safeguards act as the backbone of your company, giving you a foundation you can count on.

In the Defense phase, you must obsess over cash. Reduce where needed. If it’s not providing value, get rid of it. Comb through your credit card charges, find those miscellaneous $32 charges you ignored previously and get rid of that app you don’t use anymore. Those vendors that require more work than they’re worth, negotiate a better deal or cut them. Get lean. Cut out the things that don’t make you stronger.

Related: 3 Ways I Shifted My Startup Strategy During the Pandemic


The secret to stabilization is relentless communication with everyone. That includes internally with your teams and externally with your customers. Streamline communication and eliminate bottlenecks through a visual dashboard.

As far as external communication, in a crisis, there’s no such thing as too much communication. Find a way to be most helpful to your members (clients, prospects and general audience).

When it comes to members, a good format for discussion is employing John Dijulius’s F.O.R.D. concept, which is a strategy to connect on a deeper level. It stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.

When you’re talking with someone, zone in on these aspects of his or her life. Truly listen and remember what they say. You might find that out of these conversations comes the next great idea for how you and your company can become even more valuable to the people you serve.


By completing the first two steps, you’ll get the freedom you need to re-prioritize and focus your efforts on the most viable opportunities for growth. Start by picking a date. In COVID times, this looks like determining how much longer your business will be in disruption mode based on when you think the upturn will begin. For example, let’s choose August 2020.

The date doesn’t have to be right, it just has to be your best guess. Pick it. Set it. Start crafting a plan that moves toward that target.

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Don’t leave your cards in the hands of fate. Shifting to offense mode gives you the power to define the future of your business. Equip yourself with the tools and knowledge to outlast any storm.

And hey, remember, this should be fun! This is why you got into business to begin with: to build, to Innovate, to offer the world something that will make it better. If you’re a true entrepreneur, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Buckle up and get to work.

I’ll leave you with this statement from top leadership thinker, John C. Maxwell. It’s a quote that always rings true but is crystal clear in today’s landscape: “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.“

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