The world has changed. We don’t yet know how much, but we do know that some things will never be the same.
For businesses, change is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it creates risk and uncertainty. Old strategies often falter in the face of new challenges. But on the other, change also creates opportunities.
Companies that can adapt to a post-pandemic world, readjusting their models to meet new demands while leveraging unrealized opportunities, will find themselves in the best possible position to not just survive after coronavirus, but to thrive.
In this post, you’ll learn about seven practical ways to ensure business success as you head out into an unknown future.
1. Rethink Any Assumptions About Your Market
The long-term ramifications of coronavirus in terms of market mood and sentiment remain to be seen. Some commentators argue that things will return more-or-less to normal. Others, that the world will alter in ways we can’t begin to imagine.
As a business, you can’t wait for changes to become apparent before formulating a plan. It’s your job to discover shifts in your market before they’re obvious. And this means conducting market research and building out your buyer personas.
What new needs, wants and expectations do your customers have? How might you expand your value proposition to cover ethical, environmental and safety concerns that have developed in your core market? Have any new market segments arisen because of coronavirus? All of these questions are worth asking.
2. Leverage New Opportunities
While developing a strategy to bounce back after coronavirus will be of primary concern to your company, you should also think about how you can take advantage of new opportunities.
Here are some of the main points to think about:
- Gaps in the market – It’s likely that many businesses won’t be able to survive as things finally get back to normal. Nobody is suggesting that this is a cause for celebration. But it’s important to be aware of any gaps in the market that you’re well-positioned to fill.
- Advertising opportunities – As a growing number of companies have focused resources on essential tasks, ad spend has decreased. This has generally resulted in lower ad costs, creating potential marketing opportunities.
- Hiring – With companies closing and many people out of work, talent will be more readily available. If you have any job openings, now is a good time to fill them.
Survival should be your primary concern in the short-term. But it would be a mistake to sideline situations that could be advantageous to your business in the longer-term.
3. Make a Full Transition to Digital
Coronavirus has highlighted the benefits of remote working. These include, but are not limited to, higher levels of employee productivity, lower office costs and improved mental wellbeing.
It’s likely that at least some of your competitors will choose to leverage remote working for these benefits. So it’s important not to get left behind.
If you haven’t already put infrastructure in place to provide your team with greater flexibility that allows them to work from home, make it a priority. You should have a comprehensive tech stack in place, encompassing project management software, video conferencing, time tracking, paperless workflows, cloud storage and so on.
4. Ensure You’re Prepared to Implement COVID-19 Safety Measures
This is a simple but essential point. Going forward, don’t overlook the necessity of preparing your offices and customer premises to meet new safety regulations. Companies that fail to do so will likely run afoul of customers and may even face legal ramifications. Familiarize yourself with all the relevant regulations and guidelines as a priority.
At EU Business School, we have put in place a series of measures to ensure the health and safety of our EU community, from rigorous cleaning and disinfection to new signage and safety screens.
5. Be Prepared for Short-Term Changes to Your Messaging
The term “brand” refers to the way people perceive a company. It’s important to remember that your branding covers every customer-facing aspect of your business, not just your logo and marketing visuals.
Your customers’ short-term expectations will likely have changed because of the pandemic and it’s essential to cater to these new needs with your overall brand message. This will ensure that you don’t lose out to competition in the immediate-term.
Customers may want to know, for example, that you’ve implemented safety measures on your physical premises. Or that you’re providing delivery services to vulnerable people stuck at home. Companies that are protecting their employees will also create a more positive impression.
6. Think About Your Safety Net
When coronavirus took hold and lockdown measures were introduced, a significant number of businesses found themselves unprepared for a major crisis.
Even if you’ve managed to come through relatively unscathed, you shouldn’t take it for granted that this pandemic was a once-in-a-lifetime incident. Going forward, ensure that you’re prepared for every eventuality.
Build a genuine safety net made up of cash reserves, contingency plans and a post-crisis strategy. The world is an increasingly complex and unpredictable place. Threats resulting from climate change, political disruption and even further pandemics are very real prospects.
Taking the time now to develop crisis plans will ensure that you’re able to weather any storm you might encounter.
7. Create Supply Chain Contingencies
Travel restrictions have disrupted nearly every global supply chain in some way, either directly or indirectly. Huge swathes of product-based businesses, from online retailers to small-scale manufacturers, have been affected.
As lockdown measures begin to ease, now’s a good time to start rebuilding affected parts of your supply chain while considering contingencies to protect against any future disruptions.
Many retailers, for example, are considering suppliers of in South American and African countries instead of China. Some have shifted their focus to local producers, thereby insulating themselves against many of the risks associated with long-distance delivery networks.
Are You Thinking About a Career in Business?
The world needs forward-thinking, creative leaders more than ever before. A career in business is fast-paced and exciting, with ample opportunities to make positive change.
EU Business School offers a range of programs for would-be innovators, entrepreneurs and business managers. Take a look at our Bachelors in Business Administration and our wide selection of MBA programs.