The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes to the way business was done across the globe. For weeks, industries were at a near-standstill because of widespread lockdowns. But as economies are starting to reopen, businesses need to be more mindful and more deliberate than ever about their next moves.
NetSuite’s Brainyard research team put together a white paper that summarizes the seven essential actions that organizations need to take now in order to be agile and competitive in the new normal.
1. Assess your business model.
Pause, and ask yourself: Because of the pandemic, what has changed in your business? What has remained the same? Focus on the elements of your business that withstood the shock of the disruption and note which ones were adversely affected.
On a weekly basis, measure your results against key performance and business indicators – then again, look at the indicators themselves, because they may have been changed in the aftermath of COVID-19.
2. Check your finances.
Cash flow has always been a good gauge of business health. But in a pandemic-hit environment, good cash flow has become a critical indicator. It is good practice to “hope for the best but plan for the worst” while running multiple scenarios with different scenarios. You can assume that your revenue shortfall in the past few months would stay constant for the rest of the year. Or only until the end of June. You can imagine how it would be if your revenue continues to decline for the rest of the year. Or if the situation improves during the second half of the year. Make sure you are agile enough to adjust to any of there potential scenarios.
Pay attention to your payables and receivables, or, if you are a backed by venture capital, talk to your investors.
3. Make health, safety and legal issues a priority.
Look closely at the health, safety and legal issues that were highlighted by the pandemic. As your employees return to work, open up for customers and engage anew with partners and suppliers, there are bound to be numerous concerns that you might not have encountered, or even considered, before COVID-19.
Take the time to identify these issues, understand each, and craft an adequate policy to guide your organization.
4. Plan for various post-COVID scenarios.
By itself, forecasting is difficult and challenging. During and after a pandemic, the difficulty is magnified numerous times. You and your tea should huddle and draw up scenarios based on reality, assuming a wide range of outcomes. Look again at forecasts you made for sales, expenses and cash flows, because they are bound to change drastically.
In readjusting your scenarios, build into it further risks – for example, if your employees get sick, if supply chains continue to be interrupted, if your most loyal customers themselves face closure, or if there are secondary health outbreaks. Remember that your models will only be as good as your risk assessment.
5. Focus on your customers – both existing and potential.
Every organization seeks to keep their existing customers satisfied; the established relationship assures you of steady revenue. Acquiring new ones, especially during this time, could be trickier. Ou may have to plan to execute low-cost, guerilla marketing strategies for both business-to-business or consumer sales.
To do this, you may look at industries or segments that are considered essential or only minimally affected by the pandemic. IN talking to them, highlight your value as a partner and the fact that you care for your employees, customers and community. Reassess your pre-COVID messages, and consider the sense of uncertainty that the customer may feel.
6. Take a fresh look at your 3PS – Packaging, Pricing and Payments.
What goes into the bundles that you are offering? Are you willing to give promotions or discounts to encourage demand? Finally, does your payment scheme provide flexibility to your customers?
Remember that all these decisions will tell your customers that their needs and situation are important to you, and that you are responsive to what they are going through.
Your own constraints may prevent you from providing the terms your customers want, and it is important not to make unrealistic offers and promises. At all times, however, show empathy and make them understand that you are willing to help as much as you can.
7. Finally, align and focus your organization.
COVID-19 shook all our foundations and made us uncertain about what we can expect in the future. There remain many external issues to face, and many things are beyond anybody’s control.
Despite this, there are certain foundational things that will help you navigate the next few months and years. Your business can have clarity in its strategy, tactics and objectives. Communicate frequently with your employees and present a clear vision to both customers and partners.
The pandemic hit all economies, industries and businesses across the globe, but each organization can respond to it differently. As your partner, Cloudtech Solutions is on hand to help you make your business resilient and able to take advantage of new opportunities under the new normal.