The rapid escalation of COVID-19 into a pandemic has thrown many established sectors of the economy into disarray. The global nature of the virus has upset international supply lines and disrupted manufacturing the world over, meaning even well-resourced organisations are having their ability to operate restrained.
While the short-term focus of your organisation should be responding effectively to the crisis and ensuring the continuity of the business, it would be a mistake to neglect longer term planning. Start thinking strategically and ensure you emerge from this crisis as a stronger organisation.
Start with where you are
Effective long-term decision making grows out of an awareness of your business’ current position in the market. While the temptation may be to dismiss this period of time as an aberration, the universal nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant economic pressure means that the conditions for success in a post-coronavirus market must be built now.
With projections for how long Australians will be required to social distance changing daily – with some projecting the continuation of the policy into 2022 – it would be unwise to assume a rapid end to the crisis and a quick recovery. The first step is the same as ever: make sure you have the data. Conduct a rigorous audit of your finances, productivity and client satisfaction during this period and compare it to past reports. Gain as much information as you can about how your competitors are faring, what they’re doing to respond and – above all – what your customers are looking for. The closure of many smaller businesses is negatively impacting household spending and consumer confidence, limiting cash flow across sectors of the economy. In addition, businesses are having to contend with reduced foot-traffic and an overloaded postal system and courier network. Listen closely to what your customers need in the moment and they’ll reward you now and after the end of the crisis.
Look for future success in past responses
While it may be intimidating to have to consider this current environment as a new normal, many businesses are discovering that they can quickly adapt to new ways of working with minimal disruption, and that their initial responses to the crisis had the potential to be quickly adapted into longer-term success.
Many businesses that have had some of their core operations disrupted or disabled – that could mean staff working remotely or the closure of specific locations – are taking this crisis as the opportunity to examine long-held assumptions about how their organisation should be run. For example, many businesses who had never previously considered implementing a work from home policy have been forced into allowing remote work for public safety reasons, with surprising benefits for productivity.
This is not to say take the path of least-resistance – collect feedback from workers and team leaders throughout the process and compare productivity and output with data from before the crisis to ensure that you’re truly making a clear-eyed decision.
Get the right guidance
If you’re looking for assistance throughout this unprecedented time, we want to help. For more than 50 years, Bentleys has helped businesses overcome seemingly insurmountable problems, delivering the strategic guidance and operational assistance they need to not just survive, but thrive during a crisis. Take the long view for your organisation and start laying the foundation for future success by partnering with our experienced consultants. Contact us today to learn more.
We, at Bentleys, are doing everything we can to help businesses come out of this challenging time in good shape.
We will continue to update our COVID-19 resource hub with important developments, so please return soon.
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.