Post-COVID-19 Business: Three Stages of Preparing for the New Normal

by Calvin on March 14, 2021

in Articles

No matter how strongly the pandemic has personally affected you, underestimating its impact on all areas of human life, including business, is at least silly. In one form or another, restrictions have affected almost all countries, and while the crisis continues to gain momentum, the leaders of the world’s largest organisations are trying to maintain a balance between communicating in the present and preparing for the future in a new reality. We know that pandemic probably affected your business too, but there is a solution. Here are 3 main steps to rebuild your small business.

Step 1: Re-Meet Your Audience

The pandemic will affect brands’ relationships with consumers in different ways. The audience will be disappointed in someone, it will demand changes from someone, it will love someone as before, and have respect for someone. But one way or another, most industries will face changes, both internal and external, related to consumer behaviour.

Obviously, even the basic needs of the audience in the world of the future can be strikingly different from what we are used to. Talking about the “average customer” will become much more difficult: brands will need insights by market, by category and by social group. In an effort to gain new insights, companies will not only conduct market research but also speak directly to their consumers.

Step 2. Understand complex strategic and organisational issues

Many successful executives view the coronavirus crisis as a dress rehearsal for a “new normal”: a world with global warming, a rapid digital revolution, a radical change in political sentiment, and so on. They know they won’t be able to return to work in the same format as before COVID-19. Therefore, they are introducing updates that will help them become even stronger and more resilient to potential difficulties. To do this, leaders ask themselves the following strategic question – what does “risk management” mean now?

The components of risk management include:

  1. Forecasting requires an answer to the question: “Did we manage to correctly determine the scenarios for the development of events and develop suitable scenarios?”
  2. Adaptability requires an answer to the question: “Have we established breakpoints that will help us move from one scenario to another if conditions change?”
  3. Resilience requires an answer to the question: “Does our plan take into account the likelihood of unforeseen situations?”

No matter how carefully you build your forecasting models, you cannot completely avoid risks. This, in turn, means that you need to maximise the company’s adaptability. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen how some brands have managed to adapt to new conditions within a few weeks or even days. But we also saw how many big players were practically paralysed by the spread of the virus. 

Brands should look back at the events of recent weeks, analyse their actions and their results. Reflection like this will help increase the agility of the company. For example, many brands are building their value chain on low costs and on-time production, with little regard for back-up resources.

Leading companies also include adaptability-related metrics in their accounting reports. This will help to achieve several goals at once: to ensure a more stable cash flow, to ease the burden on the company in the event of sharp fluctuations in supply and demand, and also to recover faster after the crisis.

Step 3. Accept that every action you take is viewed as a message to your audience.

Wise leaders are already talking about new customers, strategies, and organisations. Very wise leaders also understand that every decision they make, big or small, during or after a pandemic, will count as an appeal to the audience. Your actions show the values of management, its priorities, the presence or absence of interest in the well-being of all employees and consumers.

Of course, in times of crisis, many leaders will have to make difficult decisions: from reducing the range of products to laying off some employees. However, what matters is how these decisions are made and how they are communicated to workers and consumers. It is by these parameters that the company will be assessed and what it seeks to become in the future. Many leaders admit that their employees are not aware of their every decision, but they believe that the entire team – led by the leader – is moving in the same direction.

As you prepare to re-familiarize yourself with your audience and refine your company’s operating model, remember also that it is communication that determines your future. You must be prepared to make difficult decisions and explain your motives and goals to your team and audience. Think about webinars, good quality video on demand, pictures and presentations for your customers. After all, every company starts with communication and grows through it.

Conclusion

Don’t expect this path to be easy. You won’t be able to predict exactly what your audience will want once they return to normal. Be prepared to adapt to the situation and respond quickly to changing consumer needs. At the same time, remember that companies that start preparing for course corrections in advance are more likely to survive and succeed.

Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several websites.

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