2020 has definitely been a year that has challenged all of us. Never before has our modern world been impacted by a pandemic where our social, physical, financial, emotional and spiritual values and norms have been rocked. Adding to the complexity is the reality of viral transmission and no known solution to date. At first, it seemed like the COVID threat would last a few weeks, possibly a month or two. Now, over six months into the crisis, and with Melbourne currently in lockdown, many people are adapting to this ‘new normal’ and living their lives accordingly. So what does this mean for business? And should you be reinventing your business during COVID?
Reacting to the Unexpected
No matter what business we run, whether we sell physical goods or services, we’ve all changed the way we operate during the COVID crisis. At the core, there’s been a reset of the workforce and the employer/employee relationship and a reset of the business ecosystem. Business owners may not have the ability to see their employees each day or to monitor and support their work closely. Employees have also had to adapt to working from a home environment and keep themselves accountable. Whenever an unexpected change occurs, the first reaction is often to resist or deny it. To try to keep things as they were. However, the way we do business has changed at least for the next 6-12 months and possibly longer into the foreseeable future.
Adapting With Technology
Many businesses have been so successful at reinventing their business during COVID that their adaptations will become new protocols and processes. Part of this is due to the fact that we are living through a period of technological change as well as the changes the pandemic has forced upon us. Take a look at companies like Amazon who set up systems over the past 20 years that are perfectly suited to thriving during the COVID crisis. Their success isn’t the result of recent change, it has been many years of preparation, innovation, and adapting the technological changes into business systems. We all knew these technological changes were coming. However, with the COVID crisis, the speed of technology adoption has accelerated. In December 2019, there were less than 10 million Zoom users worldwide. By April 2020, there were over 300 million. This is because Zoom (and other platforms) gave us a quick solution to contacting colleagues, customers and clients. In 2020, the early adopters of new technology have had a quick rise to success and that is something essential to consider when reinventing your business during COVID.
Old Strategies Don’t Work
2020 was the start of a new decade, and many business owners had big plans for the year ahead. However, with the onset of the pandemic, the vast majority of plans and strategies have been tweaked, revamped or become obsolete. The good news is that seeing what doesn’t work anymore is also a valuable experience. Now it’s time to use those lessons to reconfigure your business and operating models for a new reality that is here to stay. That could mean reducing or retiring specific activities. It might mean re-scaling another part of your business, reinventing or inventing a whole new product or service. What’s most important is acknowledging that old plans and ways need to change and adapt.
Finding New Ways to Serve
A positive approach towards change is recognising that often innovation leads to new types of success. There are many first hand examples of businesses that have adapted their approach and begun to find new success.
Some of these include:
- a personal training studio offering online sessions or private 1 to 1 session in a local park (when permissible).
- a catering company offering meals/food packages for home delivery
- a beauty therapist offering a facial kit to purchase and DIY at home
- a makeup artist providing tips for online business meetings
- training companies migrating workshops from the traditional face to face conference room set up to virtual online training
- telehealth technology allowing the Allied Health space to continue to triage and communicate with patients
Of course, there are businesses that can’t completely reinvent due to being fixed to a location or specific business model. For these companies, it may be a matter of downsizing or seeking government, finance, landlord and other assistance during these difficult times.
The freedom and rewards that running your own business provides also comes with the responsibility and challenges of adapting and changing during tough times. It is comforting to know that every business is in a constant state of reflection, planning and reinventing.
With the onset of COVID, we are just now being forced to do it at a faster pace.
Centegrity has over 14 years of experience assisting businesses with bookkeeping and business mentoring and is here to help with planning and strategy to make sure your business survives and rises again.
If you need support for your business during these challenging times, don’t hesitate to contact us or fill in the form below.