Business owners and managers contemplating the future of their enterprise in 2021 will do well to… first, take a breath.
After a pandemic that held the threat of serious respiratory illness over our heads for more than a year, we now have our eye on getting vaccinated and back to business. It's a good moment to focus on the positive: that Australia has kept its Covid-19 numbers among the lowest in the world as Bloomberg reports.
But as the financial news service also points out, we're struggling with an international marketplace very much still grappling with a pandemic. Much has changed over the past 18 months, among them the lives of staff and some consumer preferences. So it's a good moment to do some reassessments.
How will we emerge from a year of extraordinary circumstances and re-align with our goals and mission? Business owners and managers looking for post-pandemic success will want to create plans for how to deliver value to their customers in this new post-pandemic environment.
Reconnecting with your core purpose should include taking stock of resources, assessing lessons learned from the pandemic and creating a more strategic internal vision for the future of your business. What's your core purpose now? Have you shored up your operations plans? What about marketing?
Pay attention to your own personnel first; your business is only as good as the people in it. The pandemic has been particularly difficult for working moms, for example. Colleagues who worked in health care — or who live with partners who work in a medical profession — have been particularly overburdened.
As we all emerge from a kind of pandemic-induced hibernation, it's a key moment to assess your company's mental health and the particular challenges certain individuals have faced. Assessing how well telework has benefitted your colleagues is a good idea; perhaps there are some who would prefer in-person hours rather than working from home. Also, have new tasks been overburdening one department or worker? A reallocation or reorganisation may be in order.
Finally, managers will do well to pay attention to government benefits for reskilling workers at this time, SmartCompany suggests. If some colleagues aren't equipped with the same digital skills, they won't be as productive. So it's a good time to invest in addressing skill gaps exposed by the pandemic.
Factor in lessons learned in 2020
Consider the supply chains that enable your core business. Were you able to stay supplied throughout the pandemic? A crisis often reveals previously undetected supply chain vulnerabilities. It's worth addressing these now, before memory fades.
If your team hasn't already, building redundancies into your supply chains and operations will help future-proof your endeavours.
Additional considerations in this area include any plants involved as well as inventory needs. If you closed a storefront, did you have to take on storage costs? Perhaps your business supplies the tourism sector and you've got a glut of inventory. How can you pivot to businesses that are opening up already?
What will customers want now?
Some trends are likely to continue even as the pandemic becomes a memory. We've all grown more accustomed to groceries and food delivery services as well as in-home exercise. Telehealth has become more familiar, as have remote work conferences.
The convenience offered by these services may have grown in value to customers.
If you were a brick-and-mortar operation and pivoted to digital — selling online versus in store — you might not want to rush to abandon your web operations. Rather, you may now be in a position to continue with two sales arms: an online store and a storefront. Or perhaps you've seen that a digital store suits you best and will decide to shed the cost of retail space.
Assess the competition
Many businesses shuttered during the pandemic. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in June 2020, the country had 72,000 fewer companies employing people than the year prior. This number included a 12.3% drop for medium-sized companies with a 5% slash in companies with more than 200 employees.
Thinking positively: are there gaps in your local economy your business could now fill? If a key competitor has shuttered, how can you capture that business?
Back to basics
Once you've assessed your personnel, operations, customer desires and the landscape of your sector, it's time to revisit your business plan. Updating internal vision statements to guide your workers forward can help communicate your expectations and goals for the future.
If you haven't written one in a while, now is a good time to refresh your plans.
WMC Accounting prides itself on future forecasting and accurate risk assessment. We're here to help develop a balanced strategy, customised to your needs — regardless of how the pandemic has affected your organisation. Contact us to learn more.