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Reset and Restart: 4 Business Priorities Post-COVID-19

Coronavirus pandemic has upended the world and businesses, laying bare the vulnerabilities of many business models.

The world is on the cusp of a recession, and many businesses have ceased to exist. It gave a huge shock to many sturdy-looking businesses and principles that guided strategic thinking since eons.

How should business professionals deal with the unviability of old business models?

Where do they begin to collect the shattered pieces?

As COVID-19 topple lives and livelihoods, here is an account of how businesses can get back on their feet to deal with the huge personal, social, and economic damage.

As someone wise said,

The bitter truth is, in most crisis, there is never an excuse for inaction. If you wish to survive, you got to act.

4 High-Level Response Actions for Post-COVID-19

Business strategists need to be cognizant of the choices they make in the post-COVID-19 world as that will dramatically impact their market position, and their response will determine their survival.

ACTION 1: Fix

Your immediate response will be short-term. Repair what has been broken and is still needed for the business.

Start with balance sheets. Your efforts at this stage will determine what effect the crisis will have on your business in the years to come. History shows business professionals that sometimes it takes a decade. Think 2008.

As you get on to repair your business, triage. The deeper the wounds, more efforts and time it will take to heal. Address:

  • Weaker balance sheets
  • Steep revenue declines
  • Disrupted supply chains
  • Stressed/depleted employee bases

Make a triage for these issues and focus your resources and time accordingly.

Strategists must bear in mind that while repair efforts can position a firm in an advantageous position, in some cases, they may lead to bankruptcy, or liquidation. For business strategists, a clear know-how and decision making of what is essential for the business in the post COVID-19 world is critical.

ACTION 2: Recast

This action point will give the context to your decision making in the first action.

People across the world are sailing in the same boat. They are having a shared experience of the pandemic, irrespective of their geography, caste, creed, or race. This shared experience will fundamentally change people’s preferences and business priorities.

Business professionals at the strategic level will be critical more than ever to grapple with these effects and understand them for the leaders. Their job will be of ‘reimagining’ what will become the priority going forward (not just for their business, but the market as a whole).

Recasting a ship while bailing out water from it may seem overly ambitious, but it is compulsory to be able to survive.

Business strategists must ask questions such as:

  • How should the supply chains be restored/constructed such that it can remain functional in case of an international shutdown?
  • How should the business model be designed so it can be flexible enough to evolve as the situation change?
  • What will be the new priorities for customers?

ACTION 3: Ready

This step calls for a fundamental reconfiguration of the business process or organization. COVID-19 has brought to light the limitations of businesses and their non-readiness for 21st century.

Business professionals must inquire if, in a practical sense, they are ready.

Those not ready for platform-based economy, must rethink their business. The pandemic has only accelerated the consumers’ move to digital. It’s time that businesses are found on the medium too. Strategists must think over organization’s technology capacity, geographical footprints, and business model.

Businesses face pressures of:

  • Preference for localization
  • Digitized operations
  • Care economy (Businesses contributing to sustainability and other societal ills.)

Readying for the future may seem impossible when you start, but it will give meaning to your existence, keep you relevant, and turn the downsides of the crisis into gains.

Furthermore, the process may be easier than you expect as COVID-19 crisis has lent a moment of pause and time to breathe to business strategists.

ACTION 4: Inform

Finally, it is important for all the stakeholders to keep an eye and ear on the events outside your business. Keep a report on important happenings.

Integrating government policies, and direction with business has never been so important. The steps taken by rule-makers in power may impact pan sized business with:
 

  •  Calls for limiting globalization,
  • US-China trade tensions,
  •  Exposed weaknesses of international supply chains,
  • Retreat of the idea of business without borders,
  • Governments’ move toward self-sufficient domestic industries,
  • Value for homegrown capabilities, and much more.

Business professionals must expect more stringent government scrutiny, especially if they are planning for joint ventures, M&A, overseas R&D collaborations, etc.

As it shuns many businesses, COVID-19 is also reinventing many business models lending open the opportunities for first movers. This once, adversity could hold big possibilities for some firms.

Are you ready to lead in the new world?  Time to find out.
 


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