Recent years have accentuated the need for preparing and strengthening your business in the face of uncertainty. Economies change, markets shift, and world events can disrupt your plans.
Amid the uncertainty, there are some questions that you can ask of your business to ensure resiliency and place it in a good position for survival. Here are eight important questions to ask in uncertain times:
1. Is there enough transparency from the leadership team?
Transparency from the leadership team is essential for maintaining morale during uncertainty. A lack of information can lead to feelings of insecurity and frustration and, ultimately, an erosion of trust in the company. People will feel more at ease when the leadership team explains what is happening within the organisation and the external factors influencing change. Everyone must have visibility into decision-making processes, objectives and financials to stay engaged with the company. Leaders should also work to inform their teams of any big decisions that may influence the organisation’s future.
2. How effective are internal and external communications?
In addition to transparency, communication is key during uncertain times. As economies and markets change rapidly, your team needs to maintain steady dialogue internally so everyone is on the same page about the steps needed for the business to succeed. This can include discussing changes or adjustments in service offerings, shifts in staffing, and staying current with industry trends. Similarly, businesses must also stay connected to existing customers. From engaging content on social media platforms to delivering quality customer service via email or phone calls, relationships must be nurtured, not neglected, if a business wants to be positioned properly in an unstable economy.
3. Have we invested wisely in IT?
Investing in technology is an effective way to support the business’ survival. So, you must examine your IT initiatives and ask whether you are getting the most from the tools you already have and if they are the right choices for your business. When deciding on technology solutions to invest in, you must ensure that it will positively impact your bottom line and enable you to continue operations as usual. This means analysing all available options carefully, researching new technologies, and assessing where and how current IT solutions can be modified or upgraded when needed.
4. What is our point of differentiation?
When navigating uncertainty, one of the most important things to focus on is creating a point of differentiation from competitors. Thinking outside of the box, pivoting strategies and focusing on customer-centricity are all ways to ensure your business stands out from the crowd and remains competitive during these times. A differentiating factor can incentivise customers to work with your business over others in a crowded marketplace, allowing you to remain profitable. Striving for innovation during times of uncertainty will help your business maintain relevance and profitability.
5. Do we have the resources for profitable growth?
Many business leaders are intimidated by economic uncertainty and may look for ways to significantly cut costs across the organisation. However, this can detriment the business by reducing the number of people and tools available to keep it afloat. In uncertain economic times, you should ensure you have the resources needed to keep the business profitable and growing. When you find areas to optimise your costs, you increase your chances of increasing market share during tough times and even emerge stronger at the end of a market shift.
6. Have we created a robust strategy for reducing risk?
In times of uncertainty, leaders must develop a robust strategy for reducing risk to safeguard their team and organisation. A plan to respond quickly and decisively to rapidly changing circumstances can help your organisation minimise economic disruption during turbulent times. To do this, designing solutions that are well thought-out, adaptable, and keep the organisation’s goals in mind can be invaluable. Taking proactive steps to assess vulnerabilities, such as identifying potential risks and developing mitigation strategies, can also help strengthen your organisation’s ability to move forward despite obstacles.
7. Are we using old-school approaches to new challenges?
In times of economic turbulence, your business cannot afford to rely on old-school approaches to address new challenges. While time-tested methods are important and can provide valuable insight into how a business can move forward, the global landscape is constantly changing. Approaches that may have worked before will not necessarily work now, and trying to make them conform to a new situation could be a costly mistake. Instead, ensuring that your company remains flexible and creative in its approach is important. By taking advantage of available technology and innovative processes or techniques, your business will have the edge over those simply relying on past strategies.
8. Do we have the right company culture?
A strong company culture is essential for building a dedicated team. While the external circumstances may constantly be changing, a good culture ensures that everyone knows your expectations and how to work together productively regardless of challenging times. With good communication and trust being among the key qualities required for creating a positive company culture, you will be less likely to experience negative emotions and anxiety among your staff. This mutual respect and understanding will increase customer satisfaction further while enabling employees to remain resilient even when things become difficult.
Asking the right questions about your business in uncertain times can be critical for identifying risks, opportunities, and areas for improvement. By reflecting on the eight questions outlined in this blog, you can gain clarity and insight into your current position and take strategic action to navigate through uncertainty and thrive in the long term. When you continually ask questions, listen to feedback and learn from experiences, your business can stay ahead of the curve even when the market looks uncertain.
Resonate can guide your business strategy in uncertain times
I help B2B business leaders define or refine their strategies. I provide strategic advice and consulting on various facets of strategy; business strategy, corporate strategy, product/service strategy, functional strategy, go-to-market, competitive strategy, pricing strategy, etc.
I aim to work with business leaders to help them make sound business decisions. More often than not, I find that the issues businesses face are caused by strategic issues.
If you are starting a new role as a business leader, or you have been with the business for a while, and you are initiating new transformation projects, let’s connect, let’s talk. I have extensive experience in guiding business leaders on transformation and change projects. I look forward to hearing from you.