If the phrases “we just have to get through this next quarter” or “we just have to stabilize until the customers return and it goes back to the way it was” enter into the conversation when you’re about to make business decisions, you should realize that you’re already starting your decision making process from the wrong place.
Many music companies and newspapers thought their customers were coming back and in order to survive all they had to do was “hold on” until things turned back to the way they were.
The customers aren’t coming back, it’s never going to be like it was, and the things affecting your business aren’t going away.
Relying on things to go back to the way they were is short term thinking. It’s easy to fall into that trap because the answers to short term problems are easy (layoffs to make a number for wall street, cutting R&D or relationship building expenses).
The challenge and opportunity is to focus on the real issues and plan how to survive long term. Long term thinking presents hard problems and forces harder conversations because it demands that you challenge what has made you successful in the past in order to thrive in the coming future.
You’ll only be in business for the long term, when you start to think and design for the long term.