Is Zero Based Thinking: The Route Out Of COVID-19?

zero based

Is Zero Based Thinking: The Route Out Of COVID-19?

The world has changed a lot over the last six months. And, as we continue to see parts of the economy struggle, consider this. Has your company changed more or less in the environment you operate in?

If you knew COVID-19 and the inevitable fallout was going to happen, what would you do differently?

The UK economy shrank by a massive 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020. Did your business shrink more or less than that?

Zero Based Thinking asks: “Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently, start, or eliminate in your business?” This principal comes from Brian Tracy, CEO of Brian Tracy International.

ZBT is incredibly helpful when making hard decisions. It gives you the opportunity to start over. The concept puts all of your previous decisions on trial. It requires you to examine all of your current activities, and ask the question “knowing what I know now, would I still make the same decision?”

The best indicator for a ZBT situation is feelings of stress or frustration. More often than not, if you discontinue the activity which is causing you stress, you will find the problem disappears.

ZBT is a great decision-making tool when it comes to money management. If you know that a particular investment is simply eroding your wealth now but you’ve had difficulty facing up to this realty, don’t waste a single second more, and ask yourself the hard question: “Knowing What I Know Now… would I make the same decision?” If the answer is no, it’s time to make that hard decision and cut your losses.

But ZBT can be used in a much more condensed way. As a business leader, COVID-19 represents a chance to return to zero.


ZBT is an objective way to make decisions. Lockdown was an incredibly emotional time for many people. But when it comes to business, there isn’t much room for emotion and sentimentality.

The loss of sales for many businesses has forced them to make many difficult decisions regarding personnel and resources. COVID has intrinsically changed how businesses operate. ZBT allows for business leaders to objectively reflect on what they would do differently and how they can move forwards.


Your first priority is establishing cash flow and balancing the books. If you don’t do that, there might not be a business for you to lead. Many business leader’s priority for the third financial quarter of 2020 is to survive.

In a recent episode of the East Anglia Business Webinar, Gary Frear, Director at Price Bailey LLP, outlined that moving into the final financial quarter of 2020 “cash is king […] the more you have set aside the quicker you will potentially recover”.

To do that, you have to decide what is a priority spend. Will your business function without this person? Will your business be able to operate without that Adobe licence? You need to take everything back to zero and rebuild from there.


ZBT may seem harsh. But it is the only logically and objective route forward. Ultimately, you need to review what is and isn’t working to ensure optimal recovery.

Hear more about how you can plan for your business post-COVID from Hayley Murfitt, Gary Frear, Jo Evans and Jeremy Reeve on our latest webinar: