Business strategies for uncertain times

CT156-35Richard O’Brien

Manager of nzbizbuysell

COVID-19 has brought swings in global and local economies, changing business models and complex geo-political influences. This means that businesses are increasingly facing difficult and uncertain times.

In this environment businesses need to resist the impulse to just buckle-down, cut costs and hope to ride-it-out. Instead, they need to adopt actions that will help position their business for tomorrow and their future success.

It is human nature to go to ground under uncertain or threatening conditions. Unfortunately, this often leads to an unhelpful defense strategy of cost cutting, little investment, releasing staff, reduced marketing and withdrawing from pushing into new markets.

By having the right mindset and adapting your plan and business, you can develop some practical strategies that will help you successfully navigate your way to a successful tomorrow.

Embrace change we all know change is inevitable. So best embrace it and harness it to help get ahead of the competition. Firstly, your business must survive, so work with your bank and review your big cost items, noting it will be important to stay in the market and maintain your relationships, brand and profile.

Be informed – sense the context of your new business environment and stay informed so you understand any emerging trends, threats and opportunities in your industry. Do research to increase your knowledge and reduce your risk.

Be adaptive and dynamic – ensure your business can quickly shift focus and resources to meet the changing circumstances. An adaptive and dynamic business model will help you be more resilient to sudden changes. It will enable you to make the most of your resources and help you innovate and more quickly recover from setbacks.

Innovate – while your profits might initially take a hit, look for opportunities. Adaptive businesses will look at the bigger picture and work on the long-term value of their clients. Maybe there is an opportunity to redesign the business model, or perhaps a market or service/product innovation is required.

Communicate with your customers and team – think longterm. There may be value in simply surviving the crisis to emerge and find you have less competition. Stay engaged with your customers and employees.

Risk management in uncertain environments we feel uncomfortable, cautious and unsure because it is difficult to predict what is coming. But at some stage you have to make a decision to move forward. By making small and reversible decisions, you can better manage your risk and can back out if it is not working.

Like it or not, change is inevitable—some will embrace it and harness the changes to get ahead of the competition.


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