Rod Robertson, a partner with Briggs Management, describes a radically different environment in which businesses will sink or swim in the coming year.
How will the world of business change in 2021? “It already has,” says Robertson. “We believe it’s for the better.” Technology adoption continues to accelerate, and management must adjust.
One way to do that, Robertson says, is to rely on the young generation of tech-savvy workers. He describes a situation of “reverse mentorship,” whereby veteran business executives learn from young employees who are already skilled in the use of technology, and have new and innovative ideas for moving forward.
That said, small to medium-sized businesses are facing perilous times. As many as 40% of that category could fail in the months ahead. Many are finding it difficult to obtain working capital, at a time when banks are pulling back and private investors are, at least for now, sitting on the sidelines.
Robertson expects that situation to change in 2021, as venture capitalists and private equity pour resources into acquiring and running agile, forward-thinking companies. Mergers and acquisitions will explode in number, he predicts, as investors look closely at surviving companies’ customer lists for an indication of their long-term prospects. More than $50 billion of venture-capital money is ready to be deployed. “Everyone’s ready to bet,” he says.
Businesses can’t merely wait around for salvation, however. Robertson says they need to be assessing their positions with the help of outside advisers, with a particular focus on their performance in the last three months of this year. Many will need to pivot sharply in terms of their business plans and product lines in order to survive in the new economy, while adjusting to permanent remote work by some employees.
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