I’m a bit obsessed with how to make better decisions and I guess you’ll see that theme pop up again and again in this blog. From navigating a dilemma to leveraging intuition, I try to be conscious about what tools I’ve used when I’ve gotten the best results from a decision.

Enter “calculated risk”. Dictionary.com defines this as “a chance of failure, the probability of which is estimated before some action is undertaken”.

Taking calculated risks isn’t quite about weighing options, it's about "weighting" risk. It means giving a value to each risk and deciding if you’re willing to handle it if it materialises.

So of course, asking great questions is the bedrock of this process. Questions like:

  1. “What is likely to go wrong if I do this and what is the extent to which it can go wrong?” i.e.

  2. “What is the absolute worst that can happen?”

  3. “If the worse does in fact happen, what can I do? What will I do?”

  4. “What else haven’t I considered here?”

  5. “Who else will be affected, how and to what extent?

If they’re people who stand to be negatively affected it may be a good idea to run your intended action by them before you hit the “go” button. But in the end, as a teacher of mine used to say, “If you can deal with the worst-case scenario, go ahead and do the deed.”

Updated: a day ago

I think this title is contentious because obviously you could answer, “Well it’s already proven. Others have tried it and it didn’t work. Science has proven it doesn’t work. Why would it work for me?”

I’d find your answer reasonable. After all, the probability of you making it work after so many others have failed is arguably small. But get this. The possibility of YOU being able to do it remains. No one else is YOU. Can you argue with that?

American engineer, physicist and inventor Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945), who is credited as one of the founding fathers of rocketry that would usher in the space age is quoted as saying:

as in the sciences we have learned that we are too ignorant to safely pronounce anything impossible, so for the individual, since we cannot know just what are his limitations, we can hardly say with certainty that anything is necessarily within or beyond his grasp.”

How will you know what is within your grasp until you test it, make a real effort, and prove it for yourself?

Do it.

So just like that, the world has changed. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, caught us all off-guard didn’t it? In all our wonderful analogies of 20/20 vision and the year 2020 being one for sharpening our individual and enterprise visions, never would we have imagined we would be so singularly focused on a global pandemic. And in our part of the world, this is while also having to prepare for another hurricane season shortly.

Many brands and businesses all over the planet including Barbados, of course, are in a lurch right now. In the latest episode of the Backstage with Bajan Brands podcast five (5) previous interviewees shared what the pandemic has meant for their businesses.

Below are excerpts of their responses or a summary of what they shared.

Multimedia Consultant and Owner of Mayers Media Inc., Rachelle Mayers

“Obviously, for video production, and the type of work we do, we travel quite a bit and we do a lot of event coverage. And since COVID-19 started, all of those types of activities have basically been at a halt.

But what it did do is push me in a direction of marketing myself more, my company more to stay relevant. And I would say indirect marketing because I always wanted to create a show. And I love to talk to people and have them share their stories. And so I started show called Zoomed In. And it wasn't perfect; I didn't set up a whole heap of cameras and special audio or anything like that. I just used the Zoom app and I just stepped out of the perfectionist zone that I am usually in which usually also keeps me from moving forward with ideas. And I just created.

If COVID-19 taught me anything, it taught me that you know, you just need to do it. You just need to start. Indirectly that is how I've kept my brand visible virtually until I'm able to meet up again with potential clients."

Co-owner of Street Food brand Cobz Street Corn, Rachael Kennedy

Cobz had implemented a WhatsApp ordering and curbside pickup system for their customers back in March before the first curfew and closure of most businesses in Barbados. But Rachael told me that they quickly made a decision to close operations for a while.

Some of their family members are active in the business but are also part of the vulnerable population and more at risk of complications if they were to contract COVID-19. So Rachael and co-owner and partner Halley prioritised the health of their family and they are waiting it out.

Owner of Astrape Finance, Melinda Belle

Melinda says she's taking the time to reset, research, explore new markets, adapt, and discover new ways of doing business. And with many workers being laid off suddenly and others being put on short-time, Melinda has been busy continuing to offer financial advice through her online channels and via consultations.

Founder of Dawn By Nature Organic Skincare Brand, Dawn-Dew Thompson

Thompson launched the dawnbynature.com website during the quarantine period. The expanded range of products can now be found on the website along with prices. The e-commerce features are currently being tested to ensure that purchases can be made on the site.

Owner of Naturinda’s Foods (health-focused teas and beverages), Nichole Murray

“We've kind of scaled back on the variety that we've been producing, and also instituting the physical distancing measures. And one of the things that I've done is that I've decided that what product I have already made, that's it when that’s sold out. That's it for now so that I could reduce my self-interaction with the public as I focus on the farming aspect of Naturinda’s.

You respond to what's changing, and what's changing is that we will very soon have a challenge with the importation of vegetables and fruit. And so we're focusing on hatching seedlings so that we can put them down on the farm - some short crops, some medium crops, some long term crops."

Those responses reflect a few significant areas that many Bajan businesses have been wrestling with during the crisis - the adoption of e-commerce, being nimble with content creation for marketing channels, and re-strategizing and re-prioritizing at the product level.


Listen to the full episode of the podcast click here. I also share a few areas that I think brand and product marketers should have their eyes on during this period.

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