Brave New World: What's Next?
A clear and actionable business strategy is essential to any company seeking to grow its business in a strategic manner. Simply put, it’s a set of plans, actions and goals that outlines how a business will compete in a particular market with a product or number of products or services. Although simple in theory, even during the best of times its no easy task as it requires the analysis and interpretation of market conditions, competitors and an honest evaluation of your company’s strengths and weakness.
Once your business strategy is established, your company’s leadership must communicate a clear go-forward vision and manifest a supportive corporate culture, failing which nothing will be achieved. Your strategic plan must be flexible enough to handle change. During the pandemic many companies have been able to use technology to re-connect and continue operations quickly and almost seamlessly, while many others have found themselves in a less favorable predicament. Today, the importance of flexibility cannot be over-stated when confronted by the unprecedented current market conditions imposed by a worldwide pandemic. The necessity of proper planning and an actionable business strategy is paramount.
A crisis is an opportunity to define company goals during and post pandemic.
Faced with a global market crisis, business strategies must be put in place for employees and customers alike. A crisis is an opportunity to define company goals during and post pandemic. Reputations are built during hard times, not easy times. Its an opportunity to define leadership and the re-tooling of business strategies to achieve defined objectives. It is important to wear the hat of hope for employees as well as increased communication to your customer base. People want to hear from their CEO’s. Be strong, be calm and be thankful valuing your staff and customers. Failing to deal with or get in front of the crisis will lead people to assume the worst. It is critical to be active and present providing the vision as a transformational leader setting the plan for the “next normal”.
Your business strategy must take three critical elements into account:
1. The depth of disruption. How deep is the drop in demand and revenue?
As a starting point look at your primary trading area. The area that is critical to your business
and pick indicators that will provide a compass for your decisions. Hotel occupancy, office
occupancy, entertainment venues, airline activity, restaurant activitiy, supply chains … etc.
Determine the indicators that are key economic drivers that have a direct impact on your
business. The idea is to measure the anticipated drop in revenue to determine new strategies to
narrow the revenue gap (e-commerce/delivery) or a financial plan to weather the storm.
2. The length of disruption. How long can the disruption last?
Once you have made a damage assessment its critical to determine the anticipated duration of
the disruption. The barometer is to keep a watchful eye on how quickly governments and
policymakers affect the lives and livelihoods of customers in your primary and secondary
markets. On the economic side tracking late payments and credit defaults can provide insight
into a broader impact and the time to reach recovery. These are not perfect metrics, but are
valid indicators to establish a business strategy.
3. The recovery. What will the new normal look like?
It is essential to have a grasp of your industries competitive structure and who will survive. In
some industries M&A will be a recovery catalyst. Market adjustments will occur. It is critical to
determine a flexible timeline to prepare a detailed business strategy post pandemic rather than
waiting until the pandemic has passed and economic activity has restarted, finding yourself
behind your competitors.
It will be up to business leaders to accelerate the development of protocols to keep people safe when the lockdowns lift, creating an engaging environment for employees (lukewarm coffee won't do it) and delivering high customer satisfaction as the transition to the “new normal” occurs.
Companies must consider every possible scenario accompanying business strategy.
Although many businesses have been plagued by government- imposed shutdowns it is critical
to establish an actionable reopening strategy. While governments battle the outbreak,
businesses need to help economies back on line, adapting operations, planning ahead and
getting people back to work as nearly half the workforce recently surveyed are experiencing
significant symptoms of burnout triggered by the irregularity of work-from-home , coined “the
great exhaustion”. It will be up to business leaders to accelerate the development of protocols
to keep people safe when the lockdowns lift, creating an engaging environment for employees
(lukewarm coffee won't do it) and delivering high customer satisfaction as the transition to the
“new normal” occurs.
From a purely economic perspective, Covid-19 is much more severe than the 2008 global
financial crisis and much steeper than the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The pandemic has
created a demand shock, supply shock, and a financial shock all at once creating an economic crisis unprecedented in its scale. Be prepared as governments and economic market forces are at work pushing for the re-opening of the world economy. Policymakers around the world are considering legislating mandatory back-to-work orders to populate office towers and kick-start economies post vaccination. It is a common belief by many experts that if the lockdowns persist beyond the summer of 2021 the impact of the economic shock will be severe, far bigger and far longer lasting than what we are experiencing from the virus itself. In simple terms, the world economy must reopen quickly. Make your business strategy realistic, flexible and avoid being overly optimistic.
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