Business Natural Selection
Business Natural Selection

Maybe “Darwin” is right this time!

The most powerful weapons of mass destruction, the most terrible natural disasters, and the most vicious terrorist attacks; have all failed to inflict upon 21st-century humanity the disruption caused by a single, tiny virus.

Medical researchers have expressed it clearly and directly; as long as there is one person with COVID-19 in the world, the possibility of another pandemic remains.

Pandemic that is risking not only human lives but also business lives. The more days in lockdown, the foggier the sight is, resources are drained, and survival is a quest.

The virus severity on human lives depends on the level of individual immunity; an infected person can survive it; even without the need to be hospitalized. It depends on his body immunity. The survival here is for the fittest.

Same in business; it will be affected; or infected it does not matter; your business survival depends on the strength of its immunity. It seems that Darwin is right this time with this disruption dynamics. The business survival is for the fittest too!!

Maybe “Darwin” is right this time!

Some businesses could not survive the first few weeks, started with releasing workers, running out of cash, business shutdown, business which could not embrace working remotely, with no ready infrastructure and agility could not hold on. Some are in denial; dying slowly waiting for business to get back as usual.
One the other hand some businesspeople are complaining less and acting more, and are shaping their business for the future, even unclear one.


Economic Equilibrium Theory describes economy as a simple stable system that is always forcing reaching to Equilibrium, now with the density of disruption caused by COVID-19 this simple stable system is questioned.
Darwin Theory in Biology was proven wrong; In economy it makes more sense.
The economy is a complex dynamic system based on three core concepts of Darwinism: Variation, Selection and Inheritance.

Businesses are established, many of those businesses will not be naturally selected to continue in this tough competitive world and few will evolve to survive and nourish; and the cycle goes on.


The Myth is that most startup fails in the first year; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this is not necessarily true. Data from the BLS shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. (Source BLS Feb 28, 2020) https://www.investopedia.com/

“There is vicious natural selection going on right now, those who are not on top of things are gone or going.”

There is a differential capacity to survive amongst a population of entities and how to manage the current mess and find way out. It is all about adaptation. There is no denying that even the most cost-conscious business cannot survive without innovation and adoption in areas that fuel revenues. Peter Drucker said, “Cost control is not a matter of cost cutting but of cost prevention”

One might assume that organizations typically devote the bulk of their resources to their core competencies, since those are the areas responsible for top-line growth. However, it is just the opposite. In a classic case of the Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule, noncore functions consume the lion’s share of resources, stunting!!

Business fit for the natural selection.

There is no easy recipe, survival mindset is a must; structure of thoughts and actions; to force calm into the situation and focus on the task.

I am not 100% sure it will work, no one is. All I know that I am bringing to you here a compilation of experiences gained passing through many crisis; late 90s recession, Dot-com bubble, Energy Crisis in 2003 with oil prices bubble, 2008 Financial Crisis, Arab Spring revolutions, 2010, Egypt Revolution 2013, Currency Floatation 2016, Lebanon liquidity crisis; of course now one is as big as the Corona virus outbreak. I believe that my entire professional life was a preparation for this one.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker 1909-2005 an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. Wikipedia

Survival tips:

  • You get yourself fit first:

Before I go into business considerations for surviving the current situation, I want to talk about self-care.

We all know what the issues are. To analyze, plan, and get on top of this, we need to ensure that we are healthy, safe, and in a good mind space. talk to as many people as possible and make the most of the current situation. Most importantly, focus on things you can control.

Empathy and decisiveness are the two key qualities that a crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak needs. Your ability to empathize with people in your business and your key relationships will ensure support and loyalty. Decisiveness towards survival, and later investing, will move the needle forward.

  1. Lose the Negative people and thoughts:
    You do not need this kind of negativity around you, you need to run to catch the train, carrying those people on your shoulder will slow you, tough luck, you are both on the train station, not able escape catch the train.
    Some people in your business are always giving you just negative criticism of all what you do, and in each step you take until you lose faith in yourself; tough words and slaps on the face with words that are not helping you focus and innovate.
  2. Seek feedback from trusted experiences and Subject matter experts. As my first point does not mean you do not open your mind for constructive criticism.
    Choosing who you listen to, is critical for your success, you need affirmation and confirmation with more ideas to develop and succeed in what you do; and in case that what you do is complete failure, the right people will find the right way to give you the feedback.
  3. Fact Base thoughts: and this is how you fight your negative thoughts; it will eat your mindset and bring you down. Writing down the facts, analyze it and think it over instead of surrendering to your negative thoughts. Stay on top of things, read news, what you need of it, talk shows and panic news are not useful; it will turn into “Panicemic”.
Survival tips
  • Get your business fit:
  1. Cash is Everything

Cash is everything right now, and there are seven places where you can look for cash in your business:

    1. Price,
    2. Volume,
    3. Cost of goods sold (COGS),
    4. Overheads,
    5. Accounts receivable,
    6. Inventory,
    7. Accounts payable.

It is crucial that you work out your scenarios and establish a path forward to optimizing cash.

Without knowing your runway, it is so hard to manage and so hard for your mental health and mindset. Please focus on Revenue-centric spending.

2. Digital Transformation

I will begin with the meme circulating these days that asks: “Who is responsible for your company’s digital transformation?”

    1. CTO
    2. CEO
    3. COVID-19

As this joke shows, most entrepreneurs and businesses are struggling in the current environment, but every crisis offers opportunities, and this one is no different.

If you do not have solid plans now to transform your business into digital and online; you need to act now, and you are so late. And get a consultant to do it for you … you no time to think!

3. Focus on growth and innovation

Yes, in the time of crisis you need to focus on Growth and innovation; As Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” A good crisis is an awesome time to rethink some of the basic concepts and assumptions about your business. A crisis opens your mind to doing things in new ways and frankly just opening up one’s mind to new possibilities is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to radically improving the performance of a business, especially a small business.

But, before elaborating on the innovation, are you clear about your business’ purpose? If you don’t know why you do what you do, the rest of this article may not make sense. (please let me know and I can help) If you are clear about the why, the what and how can adapt rapidly!

Redesign your products to fit for what your clients think about now. make your product and services relevant for what is today and when you say the magic word of what your product or service do for your clients, they invite you to a virtual meeting.

Increase customer life-time value (LTV)- meaning, can you increase how much they spend with you over time, and can you create new leads for your business? There are a range of marketing channels that cost money, and there are many that do not. You can use the time to optimize your owned media, such as social media, newsletter, blogs, or to even start new content channels like webinars and podcasts. You can pay for ads through Google and social media but focus the spend on customer acquisition as much as possible.

For the future, focus on business model innovation. If your business has taken a beating given the sector that you are in, is it possible to innovate out of this crisis? Primarily, there are three levels of innovation:

    1. Incremental,
    2. Sustaining,
    3. Disruptive.

Incremental innovation can be as small as using what you currently have as products and services and focusing on sectors that are doing well.

during this time. A range of essential services sectors like healthcare, telecom, gaming e-commerce, networks, and so on, are thriving right now. how can you adapt your products to fit what these sectors need? A good example is virtual show room for car dealers; and hotels giving some areas for quarantine period. Netflix and its watch party. 

Sustaining innovation is around adding a product or a service that complements what you do but is not part of your offering right now.

This is where you pivot your business towards serving a market need that you see that you know how to deliver. and that will need to make business changes. For example, for example, launching online training division and transform F2F into virtual classroom.

Disruptive innovation. That usually turns your business upside down. Think about what can you do today that will kill your own business model? The pill will be less than being killed by your competitors; there has never been a better time to do it. The opportunities for disruption often don’t just hurt your business but disrupt the market on the whole with a completely new product service. We have many examples of existing businesses that have achieved this such as with Apple iPhone and Netflix amongst others as good example. Polaroid with digital cameras on the other.

Please remember that not all innovation is technological one. It is business model innovation as well.

Fundamentally, the change is about delivering value. The transformation can also be in the through a range of experiments, until you reach the desired working outcome. If you make a habit of change and adoption in your business, you will gain a lot.


Hit by the Covid-19 recession followed by social distancing and a nationwide lockdown, businesses are experiencing major impacts no matter how established they are and are having to re-look at how they manage and operate their business including revisiting business plans.

In Pinnacle, our Strategist consultants have helped big, small and medium business, setting up their strategies and plans in different markets, regionally and globally, we base our planning modules on the famous Balanced Scorecard and we are ready to help you readjust your plan for the rest of 2020.

It has become challenging for most businesses to keep their financial wheels turning during the lockdown period due to less revenue churn and the general uncertainty in the global financial environment.

In Pinnacle, our financial consultants will be able to help you chose the right model for the rest of the year adjusting the plans and cashflow to match the expected revenue disruption weather positive or negative.

Your Mindset as a leader, wherever you are in the hierarchical organizational chart, we have the right training programs for you and your team to be always motivated and focus on the task, Pinnacle Virtual Academy offers you range of modules and coaching sessions that will keep you on top of the change.

Pinnacle IT Infrastructure team will be designing, setting, managing the implementation of your digital transformation. And we are geared up with the solutions that will measure your digital presence against your competition.

Pinnacle is a multi-countries consultancy firm, our consultants are spread around the world; we have built our organization on modern business model with agility, diversity, and resilience to the business dynamics, we have chosen our technology platform to support our modern mindset thus we work from anywhere …. As work is not a place anymore.

Please use contact us and one of our business development managers will be calling you to support.

This article is written by:
Mohamed Mounir
Mohamed Mounir
Pinnacle MD
Pinnacle Ltd.

Pinnacle Ltd. is a multi-countries modern consultancy firm, with offices around 11 countries in 4 continents, and 28 consultants working remotely and virtually managed.

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