COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work. It has interrupted schedules and routine, and the operation of companies across the globe. Industries such as airlines and tourism may not recover for years to come. The pandemic has also caused a worldwide disruption of supply chains, and as a result, current business models have overturned. Many of us are working hard to find a solution for managing this crisis within our own businesses, but it is not only the pandemic that we need to be concerned about: it is what lies after. We must look beyond the imminent threat.
We don’t know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, and how that will play out in different countries. At the time of writing this, some nations (such as Australia and New Zealand) are easing restrictions, as infection rates have nearly stopped; other regions, particularly the Americas, are still seeing increasing rates of death and infection. We also don’t know what further ‘waves’ of infection may occur.
What we do know is that the business world has changed, and there will be no ‘return to normal’. To survive and thrive as a business owner in the next few years, you must devise a post-crisis strategy. Changes – such as foreign policy between China and our own country- that usually unfolds over months or years may unfold in a matter of weeks. Time is no longer on our side. We must meticulously plan to maintain efficiency and profitability.
Put aside at least one hour a day for the next few months purely on exploring and imagining where you want your business to be when the pandemic passes. You must think about how the pandemic will change your competitive landscape, impact your customers, and the market in general. You need to plan for how you are going to meet evolving customer demands and how your products and services need to change. During the pandemic, there may be aspects of your team’s work that you need to revisit. You should pinpoint those elements that will help your company grow and those that are holding you back.
Here are three critical factors that will assist in getting your company through this time.
Reverse engineer your strategy
This one is simple. Decide where you want your company to be, and work backwards through the steps you need to get there to develop your long-term goals. After this, you can pinpoint your mid-range post-crisis goals and then your goals for the near future. By developing long-term benchmarks and goals, as well as smaller ones along the way, you can provide your team with clear and continuous objectives. It also allows your team to think concretely in terms of revenue which gives way for investment priorities.
Learn about your changing environment
With COVID-19 affecting businesses worldwide, teams need to prepare mentally and be prepared to learn new ways of doing things. You must monitor and review the progress you have made daily to ensure you have the right mindset and are indeed working towards your goals. Depending on the results you get, you may wish to change your strategy or adjust the vision that you had initially planned. As you strive to achieve the mid-term and long-term goals, you must scrutinise all of the results, whether they seem relevant or not. If you manage to do this, you can discuss with your team what is working and what is not. Your employees need to have a sense of humility as they may need to disregard some ideas, certainties and previous plans. It is up to your team to ensure only the best processes and ideas are brought to fruition, and work with speed and agility to ensure the growth of the company. If you have the courage to pivot and adjust what you are doing provides opportunities to revisit your vision and continue shaping it for the better.
Get your team on board
One of the most fundamental qualities a company can have is a supportive team behind it. But, it is your responsibility to ensure your team believes in the future of your company. Employees and stakeholders are making many sacrifices, so you need to ensure your long-term goals are inspiring and embedded with a sense of purpose. Your people are looking to you for their future and how you navigate the situation will make or break your team’s motivation and faith.
The COVID-19 crisis is severe. Every employee will be thinking about the future of their workplace and what they can do to assist in maintaining the company they have invested their time and skills. Management teams must motivate employees, and team members need to collaborate on ideas and leads on how to survive and grow in a struggling economy.
As we have seen, the economy is changing right before our eyes, and this creates challenges for many. It may seem overwhelming and time-consuming to set visions for your team and build strategic pathways to ensure you get through this pandemic. However, it is essential to manage the day-to-day and manage your team with set visions and goals in mind. Doing this ensures that you and your team come out of this crisis more resilient. It is only through working together and toward goals that we can withstand the pandemic.
RK (Rahul Kumar) is the Founder & CEO of Resonate.