After steering your business through unprecedented uncertainty to maintain continuity and strengthen financial resilience, it’s now time to set your sights – and strategies – on achieving success in the New Year and new reality.
These 6 strategies will give your business a leading edge.
1. Talent strategies
To drive business success in the new ‘now’, take the opportunity to change the way you lead people, manage and develop them as they work their way through complex, transformational change.
Continue to focus on the safety and wellbeing of your employees through hygiene programs, restrictions on travel and congregation, flexible and remote work policies and healthcare. Conduct a frequent assessment of these measures to minimise virus transmission in the workplace and harness a safe environment.
2. Growth strategies
Develop a mix of strategies that are resilient to market changes, and take advantage of new growth opportunities. Consider your customers’ preferences and behavior's as they shift from physical (e.g. bricks and mortar stores, bank branches, medical centres) to digital (e.g. ecommerce, call centres, tele-consultation).
Business is still going on, but more of it might need to happen online. This may involve simplifying product portfolios to reflect your current customers’ needs and introducing end-to-end digital operating models, or developing new service offerings that address unmet customer needs and open up new fee revenue streams.
3. Financial resilience strategies
Preserve cash balances by restricting payments to only the most business-critical vendors as contingency plans are mobilised. When planning scenarios for the future, give attention to financial risks and factor in duration, severity and longer-term dislocations.
Assess your business’ capacity for short- and medium-term loans, and its vulnerability to third-party (vendors, suppliers) exposure to debt. Consider deferring planned capital expenditures and assess the impact of commodity and procurement costs.
Related: Cashflow is the lifeblood of your Business, especially during a pandemic such as Coronavirus
4. Operational resilience strategies
It’s vitally important at this time to understand your key operational risks. Your location may be free of COVID but your suppliers could be in an area still in lockdown, adversely affecting your supply chain. Look for alternative short-term suppliers and support existing ones, if possible, with a capital infusion or loan. Do a thorough inventory of your stock as there may be enough stockpiles to mitigate a shortfall in products.
Your employees and key executives may still be vulnerable to virus outbreaks, either personally or through contact with others. Remote working for staff may have previously resulted in drop-offs in productivity and/or delivery and you will need to factor in the implications of this for the future. This may result in the need to modify job descriptions, performance objectives and organisational structure.
Ensure that your technological capabilities, and access to information is still readily accessible to all wherever they are working, and that it is robust enough for peak periods of customer demand. Do not neglect cybersecurity training for all employees – it is a must for all.
Related: COVID-19: How business can manage Cyber and Data Security Risks
5. Commercial resilience strategies
The coronavirus outbreak began in China but the good news learned from Chinese businesses is that the post-coronavirus economic recovery might be faster than we expect.
Now is the time to lay a foundation for a more prosperous future. As well as steadying the day-to-day operations, put more energy into lead management. If you have a few big prospects in the pipeline, cultivate those longer-term opportunities. Keep checking in with your leads, reassuring them if needed, and let them know that you are planning for contingencies and you’re ready to help. Keep nurturing your business leads with the long view in mind, even if the short-term headlines feel manic and the situation feels uncertain.
6. Changes in customer behaviour – adaptation strategies
During the lockdown, consumer behaviour adapted with a mass adoption of digital channels and buying preferences moving towards a back-to-basics approach. As customers are now collectively facing financial hardship as they emerge from the peak of the restrictions, these newly learned behaviours may change.
Depending on what industry you’re in, your customers might be having some specific new pain points. Think strategically about how the pandemic is affecting your customers, what is keeping them up at night and how you can help. Then you can adjust your sales pitch and design your marketing around how to address these specific challenges and worries. All of these business challenges can be exacerbated by a crisis like coronavirus.
As a business owner, put yourself in their shoes and figure out how to re-position your products and services to be helpful and address the specific pain points that your customers are confronting now.
Related: Do Tech Startups need to re-evaluate and adapt due to a shift in customer behaviour
Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #CoVID-19: Cashflow Forecasting
“There is no denying that COVID-19 will have short and long-term effects on the economy and your business. It’s imperative by now that you have a long view Cashflow forecast in place that deals with both good and worst case scenarios so you are ready to react swiftly. Speak to us today if you need help."