Whether your business has been positively or negatively affected by the impact of the pandemic, it has been impacted, and your business is not the same as it was in early March. Hopefully, during the last six months, you’ve taken some time to create a contingency plan that accounts for additional closures or restrictions based on what we experienced earlier this year and also accounts for the real possibility of a second wave.
Over the last little while, I’ve been working closely with my clients on making their businesses agile to help them run their operations better today and also in the unknown and very unpredictable future. This is why business agility needs to be at the centre of every business decision you make.
To help you overcome challenging times in the future, I’ve outlined 3 different ways that can make your business more agile.
Adapt to market changes
There’s no doubt that this pandemic has exposed weaknesses for many businesses. Although some businesses started making their digital transformation prior to COVID-19, others were slow to start. While I’m sure you’ve made some adjustments to your digital sales channels and infrastructure, now’s the time to safeguard it and ensure its scalability to support an influx of online traffic. Make sure you have the right teams set in place to support you in the coming months, for example, your I.T. team.
Part of agility is also ensuring you have options in your operations. I spoke with several of my clients who had customer delivery issues due to the manufacturing of goods in China. Not only did this impact their customer relationships, but cash flow and operations as well. You’ll want to consider securing alternative suppliers and other key providers should your supply chains become disrupted. Since innovation has become a key driver to business survival, take this time as an opportunity to think outside the box by considering new vendor relationships, partnerships, or acquisitions of competitors.
Lastly, focus on preparing what’s “essential” for your business. You should’ve already gotten a glimpse of what your customers’ demands were early on in the pandemic. I recommend using this as an indication of how to better prepare your business for the long run.
Respond rapidly to customer demands
If it weren’t for your customers, would you have weathered the latest storm? As business owners, we can become so focused on growing the businesses that we sometimes forget about the people who are keeping our businesses running. Moving forward, I recommend keeping your customers at the heart of every business decision. By taking a customer-centric approach, you’ll ensure that your customers’ voices are heard and acted on. If you neglect to consider your customers, you risk losing them to the competition. Additionally, now is a good time to invest in understanding your customers’ needs and wants to help drive innovation. For this reason, I recommend reaching out to them on a regular basis to make a more personal connection. I’d also advise hiring a marketing agency to conduct unbiased market research to help you better anticipate your customer’s needs.
As difficult as this pandemic has been, it’s provided an opportunity for businesses to reinvent themselves. If you want to thrive during this time, I encourage you to consider streamlining your operations or looking for new opportunities. Consider pursuing new revenue streams via new products or services, and look at new ways of operating. The businesses that succeed the most will be the ones that use a forward-thinking mindset.
While many business owners went into “survival mode” at the onset of the pandemic, now’s the time to plan for longevity and the future. To keep your business successful in these times you’ll need to think about being nimble, which starts with business agility. You don’t have to prepare for this alone.