© istockphoto.com/Topp_Yimgrimm

Coming to the Rescue in a Crisis

Steinbeis experts help companies realign business with “Rescuers in a Crisis”

There is usually little time left in everyday business to invest in moving the company forward. Day-to-day issues take precedence; thinking about long-term priorities is put off for another day. Once again, something like the current pandemic highlights all too clearly how important it is for business leaders to rethink their own companies and consciously make preparations for potential crises or disruptions. Without considering such issues, no company can develop a future-ready, crisis-resistant business model. Ulrike Staudenrausch, entrepreneur at Management Moves, Brand & Innovation, the Steinbeis Consulting Center in Bönnigheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, uses a method she calls “Rescuers in a Crisis” to help firms steel themselves for the future.

“Going ‘digital’ seems to be a panacea for all sorts of things at the moment. Sure, it’s one possibility, but conventional, analog business models will do just as well,” says Staudenrausch. Her Rescuers in a Crisis service helps clients pinpoint a suitable positioning and an appropriate business model for generating value-added for the customer. The aim is to encourage business leaders and companies to actively spot trends and make them central to their business development. This is because the current situation makes one thing totally apparent in this respect: A crisis can hit any industry and a company of any size.

Emerging stronger from the crisis

The Steinbeis experts have been able to use the Rescuers in a Crisis business model to help in a number of areas under particular pressure at the moment – such as the travel industry. Not only has this helped firms make it through the current crisis, they have also continued to earn money with the business model. One example comes from a startup in southern Germany, which would like to offer travel services for business leaders to visit innovation hotspots in all corners of the globe. Since travel will continue to be subject to tight restrictions for the foreseeable future, it was time for some lateral thinking. Business modeling addressed a variety of requirements. One was of crucial importance and entirely understandable given the circumstances: making money. To help the startup, the Steinbeis team came up with two measures: The founders should visit destinations themselves and create interactive content that is to be made available on demand. This would make it possible to quickly launch a scalable model. In parallel, a sophisticated hybrid congress was set up. As soon as travel is possible again, the startup will revert to offering conventional trips. To scale up the model, however, it is continuing to expand its interactive, asynchronous content. The Rescuers in a Crisis method thus makes it possible to scale up the business model under normal operating conditions without creating extra work.

Adopting an anti-cyclical positioning can also be a useful way to attract custom. The Steinbeis team demonstrated this to a wedding photographer, who was wondering how to raise his profile. There are already so many competitors out there beating their drums, and it feels like there are even more wedding photographers. The solution? Sharpen the pencil. Supported by Steinbeis, the photographer has developed a positioning based on same-sex weddings. In doing so, he is not playing to classic clichés, but is concentrating instead on the individual needs of the target group. In keeping with this, he never posts wedding photos on Instagram, which is his main communication channel. Instead, he posts images designed to pique interest and show the value he adds for the target group.

Finding a safe business model in three easy steps 

Staudenrausch brings a great deal of experience to her Steinbeis Enterprise: “We’re emerging from a crisis-ridden industry ourselves and are currently experiencing the third wave of disruption in the same number of decades.” She has only survived as an entrepreneur because she has kept reinventing herself. At the same time, she has also steered numerous other companies through troubled waters.

The principle behind the Rescuer in a Crisis method revolves around three fundamental steps:

  1. Safeguarding what works
  2. Building on lucrative areas
  3. Developing something new

With these three steps in mind, the team at the Steinbeis Consulting Center for Management Moves, Brand & Innovation is also keeping floundering companies afloat through its website: krisen-retter.de. The team helps company directors, entrepreneurs, and manual workers with sustainable ideas, systems, and processes aimed at creating crisis-resistant business models – one set of entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs.

The CASHIU model: six warning signals that urgent action is needed

  •  There are no customers, or not the right Kind of Customers
  • Nobody is interested in your Assortment, even though the company has a lot to offer
  • You’re not at all sure how the company can even Survive
  • There are no signs of qualified Human resources
  • There are no new Ideas
  • Your business can’t Scale Up


Ulrike Staudenrausch (author)
Steinbeis Entrepreneur
Steinbeis Consulting Center Management Moves, Brand & Innovation (Bönnigheim)