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“Rethink” is BDO’s global framework encouraging a broad ‘rethink’ around original business models and commercial assumptions, and that can be used to manage business priorities, address issues and leverage thinking:

  1. How to React to the crisis; ensuring that measures are taken to secure business survival in the short term
  2. How to build Resilience throughout the prevailing business environment; safeguarding vital elements of a company where necessary
  3. How to look forward to Realise the future benefits of sensible business decisions taken calmly and pragmatically.

There are no simple answers – and so these three stages can be considered separately to help you deal with the ‘here and now’, or as part of a roadmap to help manage the COVID-19 impact over the medium to long-term.

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Rethink – a framework for re-evaluating the future


“Rethink” acts as an extra dimension for strategic level consideration and discussion regardless of where in the cycle your organisation sits, or the measures already taken.

You will need to anticipate critical changes that will impact your business operations and value chain.

This could be as a direct result of initial actions to ensure ongoing business resilience, as well as planning to recover and optimise your operations in the short to medium term in an effort to achieve some form of normality.

However, it is accepted that the world will change as a consequence of COVID-19, therefore, businesses need to imagine this “new world” as early as possible and “rethink” how yours will be positioned in it.

Rethink – Stages of response


The way in which companies respond to the initial impact of the COVID-19 crisis, minimising the catastrophic effects on its business operations, employee safety, supply chain and ongoing financial viability.

  • Beginning of the downturn. Initial risks are assessed
  • Immediate crisis management actions are required to ensure employees are safe and healthy, capital is adequate, and suppliers and customers are closely connected with the business
  • Planning is based on Government policy, guidelines and support.


Maintaining business operations during ‘lockdown’ disruption using techniques that allow people, processes and information systems to adapt to changing patterns.

The ability to alter operations in the face of changing business conditions preserving the continuity of the provision of “critical functions” to a firm’s customers.

  • Running the business in ‘lockdown’ / reduced demand and supply.
  • Operations are adjusted and optimised based on customer demand.
  • Business is under control and employees are safe. Capital structure is solid.
  • Regulatory compliance maintained and scenario planning is underway using economic and customer data.


Applying the learnings from key ‘React’ and ‘Resilience’ activities and continuing to adapt.

Successfully adapting to new business models and ways of working needed to address essential and obligatory political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological changes.

  • Future state and business needs are anticipated.
  • The ‘new normal’ of demand and supply is established in the business.
  • Areas for transformation are clear and adaptation is underway.
  • Business is meeting or exceeding expectations.


Simon Gallagher, Partner, Head of Advisory


Partner, Head of Advisory

BDO London

020 7334 9191

[email protected]



Tim Foster, Partner <br>Head of Risk and Advisory Services, Midlands


Partner, Head of Risk and Advisory Services, Midlands

0121 352 6200

[email protected]



Mark Sykes, Partner, BDODrive


Partner, BDODrive

BDO Manchester

+ 44 (0) 7791 397544

[email protected]