Build business resilience to overcome modern challenges

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Skyscrapers appear to stand firm, but in actual fact allow for a small range of movement. If you go to the 163rd floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, you would feel the building sway about two metres!

This swaying does not mean the building is unsafe. They run a much higher risk of damage from winds and earthquakes unless they are able to bend and move.

I recommend taking a similar approach to your business: aim to be resilient rather than unwavering. When external factors threaten to tumble your business, be sure you change rather than break.

Building business resilience means examining where you have become rigid and then allowing for change. Perhaps you found old technology to be your biggest weakness in the latest crisis and need a plan for implementing new technology. Or, maybe you had not accounted for the impact a crisis would have on your business operations and were forced to consider new ways of operating.

No matter where you found rigidity, change ensured your survival. You will need to analyse all other aspects of your business to prepare for future events.

Analyse your financial resilience

Financial resilience is your ability to rebound after experiencing the financial shock of a global crisis. It measures your ability to withstand a crisis by ensuring that cash flows remain stable during low and high revenue periods.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a significant and recent event that has tested the financial resilience of even the most successful businesses. Even if you have recovered well from the pandemic, you still need to ensure resilience for future economic instability, natural disasters or market changes.

Some approaches you might take to maintain financial resilience include:

  • Analyse the revenue you expect in the coming years and highlight what you can do now to secure it.
  • Forecast your cash flow and ensure you have the flexibility to allow for increased spending through decreased revenue.
  • Look for possibilities of consistent revenue, such as loyal customers or products that garner a lot of attention.
  • Prepare for revenue to slow down in the event of a crisis by compromising growth with stability during these periods.

Responding with financial flexibility in a crisis means quickly building short-term resilience to sustain long-term survival.

Leverage technology to improve resilience

We have seen the impact of technology on business continuity. Cloud solutions supported us when the pandemic forced us to work from home, and digital transformation allowed us to serve customers more efficiently than before. Today, how your company leverages technology can become your competitive advantage and ensure your survival in the event of a disaster.

For example, cloud technology improves business resilience by maintaining data and application access from anywhere and at any time. Your business continues operating during outages or disasters even if your place of business is inaccessible.

Backup and disaster recovery plans also enable business resilience by allowing you to recover quickly in a crisis such as an outage or natural disaster. Earthquakes, floods, and fires can happen without warning. When these events happen, disaster recovery plans allow your company to react quickly and bring your business processes back online before losing too much time or money.

Build agility into your organisation

If you want your company to be resilient, build it with the ability to adapt and respond to challenges quickly. Enterprise agility refers to the ability of a company to adapt to changes in its environment.

You can improve your agility by:

  1. Creating a flexible structure: Your company structure should accommodate changes and allow for different divisions or teams to work independently where needed.
  2. Making decisions quickly: You should design a decision-making process that allows you to make fast decisions.
  3. Focusing on your customers: Deliver to your customers’ wants and needs to stay afloat in a crisis.

By implementing these strategies, you can increase agility, which will help you survive in a crisis.

Crises move fast and might catch you off-guard. They also disrupt businesses worldwide, which could include a supplier that is a vital part of your supply chain. The bottom line is: build agility into your organisation from the start so that a crisis cannot blindside you.

Ensure you have operational resilience

You need to ensure your business can withstand a crisis from an operational perspective when one strikes. Operational resiliency is your ability to implement solutions that ensure business continuity. Such solutions might be systems, protocols or tools that get your business online fast.

Recovering from a crisis is often a lengthy process. But,  you may avoid some pain if you build operational resilience into your business. If you cover all bases for enduring a crisis before it happens, you will be much more capable of handling an event when it occurs. Without operational resilience, you may struggle to recover when things go wrong as you do not have the right resources.

Operational resilience includes planning for various possibilities and ensuring you have the resources to execute them. You should collaborate with your team and train them on their roles during a crisis.

Technology will also be one of your greatest enablers for operational resilience throughout a disruptive event.

Reinforce your organisational purpose

Organisational purpose is your company’s reason for existing. It is the reason you created the business and the value you deliver to customers through your products and solutions. Your organisational purpose should also drive everyone working within your organisation to ensure your teams work towards the same end outcomes.

Your organisational purpose becomes particularly useful in a crisis. When your company experiences a low period, a strong organisational purpose can help your team stay focused and motivated during difficult times and provide a shared sense of direction. When people work together under a shared goal, they often perform better than teams without a clear sense of purpose.

If your company is going through a crisis, take some time to reflect on your organisational purpose. Why does your business exist? What are the business’ values? What do you aim to achieve? 

Once you clearly understand your purpose, use it as a guidepost to help you make decisions during a difficult time.

Become a resilient business with Resonate

How confident are you in your business’ resilience? How well did you weather the onset of the COVID-19 crisis? Do you have the systems in place to survive a disaster in future?

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.

My aim is to work with business leaders to help them make sound business decisions. I find more often than not, 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.

RK is the CEO & Co-Founder of Resonate.

RK is Resonate’s chief strategist, thought leader, and IT industry veteran. Our clients depend on RK to advise on their business strategy, channel strategy, and sales strategy. 

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