The chaotic pandemic has unleashed on the economy, millions of jobs lost and many businesses struggling to stay afloat. Businesses have been trying to stay open and keep their employees. How? By changing the ways they work, by restructuring their processes, to provide a safer and more cost-efficient method of product or service delivery. However, the outlook for many businesses such as those in the travel, food & beverage and retail industries still remains uncertain (view more from MTI’s economic survey).
The short-term shocks to both the supply and demand sides have left business heavily relying on the short term cash injections and subsidies from governments. Cash subsidies and injections, however, do not help in the long-term prospects. If the virus is going to be around for a long period of time, the ways to truly adapt to the situation would be to look deeper into the business operating systems and structures.
Here are three key steps you could take to turn your business around during COVID-19:
1. Reorganize Business Operations
- Be human-centric and have a higher standard of consideration towards how your team is coping with changes in the world. For instance, how to ensure that they are comfortable in the new environment to perform at their optimum productivity.
- Understanding what customers will value post-COVID-19? What will help businesses to set realistic goals? And tailored experiences based on those insights.
- Making sure your revenue opportunities are identified and understanding the risks involved (this includes digitizing sales channels, launching strategic campaigns to retain loyal customers; reallocating spending to proven growth sources; and of course revamping customer journeys with an emphasis on health and safety)
- Building operations resilience by modifying operations and supply chains to protect against potential shocks.
2. Accelerated Digitalization
- There is an accelerated need for digital technologies across almost every industry. More companies are diving into tech, analytics, and software, some going further by enhancing and expanding their digital channels. The integrations of technology (both hardware and software) can help you gain an advantage and make use of this period as an opportunity to look into efficiencies of existing systems and procedures in place, and perhaps use technology to scale up processes and boost sales.
- A challenge businesses will face during the opening up phase is that consumer behavior and demand patterns have changed significantly and will continue to do so. It has become important to analyze demand signals in real-time. By adapting quickly to supply chain needs in order for businesses to successfully navigate the recovery.
- Leaders need to set an ambitious digital agenda and deliver it quickly. Certainly, this would include refocusing digital efforts to reflect the changing customer expectations. The quick adaptation of digital solutions and rethinking of the customer journey is necessary to maintain competitive advantages. Solving this requires integrating business processes, incorporating data-driven decision making, and implementing change management.
3. Rethinking the Organization and Structure of the Business
- Adaptability is essential due to the constant disruptions in supply chains and channels. That could mean changing the ecosystem and considering nontraditional collaborations with partners up and down the supply chain.
- Moreover, it is important to make sure employees are well-versed with the company’s identity, how work is conducted, and how the company aims to grow.
Company Identity: Having a strong sense of identity during a crisis can help clarify what really matters. Start by setting up, or reinforcing shared goals and ideals. In consequence, employees will know what the company stands for and understand how to get things done right.
How work is conducted: As many of us are isolated in our homes, we tend to be working in smaller teams. Therefore, emphasizing the importance of a stable chain of communication as a key to operational efficiency and helping to ensure that the important decisions are made and executed swiftly. Being able to effectively decentralize in such times can ultimately mean jumping ahead of the competition.
How the company aims to grow: Post COVID-19 will create new opportunities as well as challenges in terms of companies’ scalability. Some important factors to account for are; the incorporation of data and analytics into decision making and planning, creating educational platforms to support individual and institutional experimentation; and setting up an organizational culture that encourages and values creative partnerships.
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