Paradoxically, Rishi Sunak announcing that the furlough scheme will be extended until March creates more uncertainty, not less.

Yes, we now have greater financial stability for our team, but all this tells us is that there’s every chance that lockdown 2.0 will be continuing indefinitely – or at least, beyond the original end date of 2 December.

We really have no idea when it will end or what that end might look like. More often than not, we can feel completely and utterly at the mercy of this virus and un-chartered path of destruction.

Lisa Eaton,  founder and Managing Director of strategic communications agency, Unwritten Group and professional marketing academy, Fabric explains that, we are not completely powerless – there are invaluable activities we can do during this time to really strengthen our business in the longer-term. We just need to recognise the importance of breaking our routine every now and then.

The combination of this extended furlough safety net and longer-term uncertainty means that now is an especially good time to take your foot off the core ‘business as usual’ activity to re-consider and develop both your business and your marketing strategy.

I know it probably feels counter-intuitive – how can you plan ahead when you have no idea what the future holds? But strategic planning could in fact be one of the best uses of your time right now.

We know that markets and consumer behaviours are constantly changing, and whether we operate in B2B, B2C or the third sector, we all need to review what we are selling, who to and how they might want to consume it going forward. One other thing that is quite likely to change is our key competitor landscape. With so many businesses evolving in order to survive, you could find your corporate toes are unexpectedly trodden on if you don’t keep your eyes open. Just because your future competitors are not currently operating in your arena it doesn’t mean they’re not going to break down the door…

During times like these it’s easy to become overwhelmingly reactive – you may be focused on desperately trying to stay afloat and of course we absolutely do need to focus on our immediate survival. However, if we don’t take at least some time out to fully consider the external environment and look at ways of re-purposing our offer, we’ll become stuck in day-to-day panic mode until our business finally gives up the ghost and we emerge burnt out, battered and more than a little bewildered.

We say this about self-care so it makes sense to say this about business-care too – we need to prioritise time today to take care of our future health and wellbeing. Right now, that means scheduling time to pause, reflect and be as creative and disruptive as we can in that space. We need to do the things we often put off doing for fear of neglecting more ‘urgent’ problems – looking around us, taking note of what others are doing and going off-script will unlock so much more potential than simply reacting to the day’s news and our existing customer demand.