Your response to emerging economic conditions post-COVID 19 will impact on your business one way or another way into the future. And how you choose to respond will be shaped by just two factors – firstly your outlook and secondly your attitude which in turn will shape your response.
When it comes to outlook you choose one of two alternative perspectives – things will go back to normal or things will change – how dramatically they will change no one yet knows. But no doubt they will change. And your attitude which will have a bearing on your response can be one of take charge and make things happen or hold off and watch things happen.
The diagram below contains two less than desirable options (Adhere or Adapt – no or minimal response) and two far more promising approaches – Adjust or Advance.
Insight Plus has conducted research amongst more than 100 executives seeking their insights into how best to address an economic downturn. A number of consistent themes emerged from our survey– watch debt, cut excess costs and stay focussed on the customer. However, many answers to our questions contained an optimistic thread – invest in people, encourage creative thinking and innovation, and actively seek emerging market and product opportunities.
Naturally most executives will want to be proactive in addressing the challenges ahead and for most executives will be by employing strategies that assist the business to adjust. The most frequently mentioned responses in our survey covered:
- Focus on the fundamentals – What are the critical success factors we need to concentrate resources on?
- Surround yourself with positive people – Who amongst our people demonstrated real commitment throughout this crisis?
- Cut costs strategically – Are we using the scalpel rather than the bacon slicer approach?
- Control debtor risk and improve cash flow – Which customers are most at risk that we must watch?
- Simplify the organisation’s structure – Where are you vulnerable or top heavy?
But the organisations that come out of top will not only employ those strategies; our research indicates that they will go one step further by seeking to advance their long-term prospects in the following ways:
- Re-purpose the organisation – What shape must our enterprise take to improve profitability or better serve stakeholders?
- Confidently take a visionary approach and look long term – What will our world look like in 5 years, 10 years and what markets, products and services will provide the best chances of success?
- Not just see opportunities, but seize opportunities – What new opportunities are likely to emerge from this adversity, what businesses can we acquire, what poorly served sectors can we enter?
- Seek to clearly differentiate and be unique – How can we be markedly better or different and avoid the temptation simply to be cheaper?
- Explore niches and serve price insensitive customers – Which segments might we focus on to desensitise the business to future economic downturns?
For more detail on these insights and many others, go to www.insightplus.com.au