Even as the dust begins to settle from the COVID crisis, many small and medium sized business owners continue to absorb the aftershock. Some have closed their doors permanently. Others are adopting strategies to recover, rebuild and thrive in this new world. The business landscape has unexpectedly and forever changed – there is no returning to a pre-COVID normal. With the dramatic shift in social attitudes and consumer buying behaviours, traditional business models are simply not sustainable. To navigate this new business environment, we need to act now. There is no time for complacency if we want to survive and flourish into the next millennium. Business leaders around the globe are beating the “future-ready” drum, but what exactly does it take to become a future-ready company?
Although there is no “hard and fast” formula for every business to employ, we’ve listed a few key suggestions below. However, to develop a strong future-ready strategy, it’s always best to seek the advice of a trusted business advisor or business consultant. Find a business consultant that is a perfect match for your needs, free on Vexxit.
Now for some key considerations to future-ready your company.
Reassess, rebuild & reinvent.
Begin by assessing and reassessing the impact this COVID crisis had on the business. Evaluate the state of your finances and determine the damage to cash flow, sales and profits. Review your current business plan and business model. Next, evaluate your company’s strengths and weaknesses. What’s working? What needs to be tweaked? Are your pre-COVID goals still viable in a post-COVID world? Once you have a clear understanding of your situation, then launch into rebuilding and/or reinventing strategies. Learn to adapt to changing market needs and find opportunities through brainstorming with business advisors, employees and other trusted business associates.
Embrace the digital economy.
The COVID crisis catapulted the digital economy and online-shopping to new heights. Mandatory lockdowns and social distancing measures also transformed most interactions with customers, suppliers and employees into a virtual, contactless world. Any remaining doubts about embracing digital transformation have quickly faded. In a post-COVID environment, if you are not online, you simply don’t exist. There are plenty of advantages for embracing digital solutions, including offering your business greater resiliency in times of crisis. You can harness digital solutions to streamline your business, leverage virtual collaboration and enhance productivity. Digital solutions like AI and others can be used to manage customer interactions, analyze consumer behaviours and provide data-driven insights to enable faster, informed decisions.
Adapt to changing social attitudes & consumer behaviour.
There is plenty of evidence that this pandemic has permanently altered social attitudes and consumer buying behaviors. These changing behaviours span all areas of life, from how people shop, work and entertain themselves. More people are shopping online or using curbside pickup options. Countless employees are working from home to better manage work and family obligations. Companies that can adapt by accelerating the move to intelligent, data-driven solutions, reshaping how they interact with consumers and employees will be better positioned for sustainable, long-term growth and profitability.
Be a people-first company.
Throughout this pandemic, people have faced health concerns, job insecurity, financial and family stressors. Companies that will thrive in a post-pandemic environment know that it’s more important than ever to treat their employees well and to build a culture of trust. When you put people first, they feel motivated, supported and empowered to be their best selves. Successful, future-ready companies know that putting people first ensures happier employees and happier employees translates into happier customers. Motivated and engaged employees are also more likely to advocate your brand and go the extra mile. People-first companies invest in training and career development programs and provide employees with the tools they need to succeed. They give employees the autonomy and flexibility they need to do their jobs and meet deadlines. They regularly seek employee feedback, demonstrating that they value employee input and care about employee concerns.
Diversifying enables greater resilience, especially in the face of unanticipated disruptions, including another pandemic. Diversifying isn’t just for larger enterprises and it doesn’t have to involve drastic measures such as purchasing another business or changing your core business. Every business can find ways to diversify by looking for and seizing upon new opportunities. Examples include expanding product lines, offering delivery and ordering options or forge alliances with complementary businesses. To build and nurture a future-ready company, it's crucial to pay attention to changing consumer behaviour, trends in your industry and on emerging applications that drive the digital economy.
This pandemic was a wake-up call and taught all of us that the unexpected is more likely than we once thought. Some of us are still reeling from the aftermath and some have been lucky enough to flourish despite the devastation created by this pandemic. Future-ready companies prepare, adapt and learn to emerge from this crisis (or any other crisis), stronger and more agile than before.
Seek the expertise of a trusted business consultant to help develop your own future-ready strategies. Match with a business consultant that is perfectly aligned to your needs, free on Vexxit.