It was Winston Churchill who first told us to “Never waste a good crisis.” Amidst the sting of COVID-19, there are still opportunities available for those brave enough to seek them out. These five questions will help.
Do we need to change our business strategy?
Ask yourself this, does your strategy still make sense? If it doesn’t then you need to change your approach. An effective strategy looks at the competitive landscape in which you operate. It assesses your advantages and weaknesses and plots a practical course to move forward and overcome any challenges.
COVID-19 has challenged most businesses; what worked well before may not work in the future. The job of a business leader is to evaluate the situation and make the required changes — a daunting but cathartic process that will open your eyes to the opportunities that a crisis creates. Use this time to think about how you can restructure your offerings to suit the changing industry.
Is it time to change our offering, or offer something new altogether?
If you have thought about how the pandemic has changed your customers’ needs, the answer to this question should be clear. While competitors face the fight of their lives, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve your product offering. Understanding your customers is essential to do this as it will allow you to identify what they will want after the pandemic.
This development will depend on what market you operate in, and the extent of the disruption you are facing. Certain industries are finding it much more difficult to adapt, whilst others are thriving in these conditions. Businesses are also exploring new distribution channels — witness the explosion of online delivery services.
Price, inherent value and add-on value will no doubt become more critical once businesses start returning to work. View the need to improve your business model as an opportunity rather than a threat.
How do we boost our marketing team’s efficiency?
Marketing isn’t an optional extra. It may not seem like a priority right now with everything that is going on, but you can’t drop your marketing strategy. You’ve spent years building your reputation and forming lasting relationships with customers. Without maintaining your marketing presence this work will unravel.
Rather than cutting marketing, there is an opportunity to build your customer base. Put simply, people are bored, sick of the paint by numbers COVID-19 adverts flooding their screens. Few brands are communicating with their customers like adults. This is an opportunity.
Whether in words, video, social media, your website or the press; find something positive, real and exciting to say to your customers. They will appreciate it.
Can we reduce risks by cutting out the middleman and bringing manufacturing in house?
The majority of businesses will be aiming to ensure continuity, whatever decisions that they are making during these times. Many business owners will be considering whether supply chains can be shortened by bringing functions or manufacturing in-house.
Bringing more elements of the supply chain in house reduces the risk of your business being effected by what happens to a supplier. The advantages of taking more control of the supply chain, beyond ensuring stability, include potentially improved quality, the potential to customise your product, and the ability to capture profits further up the supply chain.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do everything. But it’s worth asking the question.
Has working from home improved my team’s efficiency? How do we harness this after COVID-19?
Despite increasingly difficult circumstances, our team have rallied together to support each other and the business over the last few months.
Companies across the country are similarly doing the same thing. With fewer resources, we are all achieving more than anyone thought possible. In particular, I have taken two lessons from the crisis that we can use in the future:
Firstly, you need to give your team a goal to get behind and watch them fly. This is just as much about what you don’t do as what you do do. Once you’ve established a clear goal, everyone will be able to identify the tasks that are worth continuing and the ones that aren’t. Working this way has enabled my team to work coherently and avoid distractions as we aim to get the business back on track.
The second is to make clever use of remote working. While I don’t believe the office is going to disappear entirely after COVID-19, remote working can remove distractions, improve efficiency and provide time for meaningful projects. It may be something worth considering when things return to normal.
Alan Jenkins is founder and CEO of Quadrant2Design, an exhibition design and manufacture contractor that operates throughout Europe.
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