The 4 Ps of Business Relevance to Survive and Thrive During a Pandemic

Right before one of my Advanced Marketing classes, I was struck with inspiration. As the seminar discussed the key principles of marketing, I was relating case studies I shared in another talk with an association of companies who were able to bring themselves out of crisis during the beginning of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. I thought of my research and experience with the topic so far—especially my and our Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA) winners’ mentoring experience giving advice to SMEs struggling in similar situations.

Out of these experiences came a new framework: the 4 Ps of Business Relevance to Survive and Thrive During a Pandemic.

The framework is divided into a square with four quadrants.

  1. Protection – Progressive companies have a heart for protection. They ensure every one of their employees is safe, and they try as much as possible to save jobs.
  2. Product – Businesses must have a solid, relevant product to keep protecting employees’ jobs. Those who have a product they cannot deliver or serve during a pandemic must pivot. Another alternative for those who cannot pivot is to create a dual business, which means setting up a temporary second business that can continue as an additional offering post-pandemic.
  3. Payoff – It is necessary to be operationally efficient during a pandemic, which requires cutting fat such as excess funds out of regular operating costs.
  4. People – You may need to retrain or recruit to adapt to the new situation.

How do these four interact with each other?

On the x axis, 

  1. Combining PROTECTION and PRODUCT is MISSION CRITICAL: Necessary for your business to survive.

On the y axis, 

  1. Combining PAYOFF and PRODUCT nets you STRATEGY: Giving you the ability to identify underserved or unserved markets you may have missed pre-pandemic while ensuring operational efficiency.
  2. Combining PROTECTION and PEOPLE should be the priority for HUMAN RESOURCES.

A business who wants to emerge out of the other side of a pandemic unscathed, and sometimes even better than before, needs to strike the right balance with their choices based on the four Ps in this quadrant. 


Josiah Go is Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. The above article is part of Josiah Go’s 19th book, #EntrepRescue, available as a free download in for a limited time. 

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