Future-proofing Your Business Strategies: Lessons from Covid-19
The world’s corporate leaders and governments are supposed to be ready for instantaneous change while honing in the ability to pivot their core plans and strategies overnight. However, no one could have been prepared for the effects and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While global leaders have dealt with various disruptions over time, be it related to mega trends, new technological advancements, or the need to adopt new business models to navigate sudden economic changes, Covid-19 reset the basics for everyone, from the perspective of running economies and businesses to even personal lifestyles.
This sudden wake-up call has resulted in a complete shift in how economies and businesses will adopt their reopening strategies and work towards achieving goals for the rest of the year. It has also resulted in a gnawing need to change how business strategies are formed, in the future.
The Biggest Lessons
Business Continuity v/s Profitability
The immediate steps that companies took as businesses and economies went into lockdown mode included reducing marketing and sales budgets and downsizing activities as well as staff strength in many cases. The increasing layoffs witnessed over the last few weeks put the global workforce on tenterhooks.
Big brands like AirBnb, Uber, WeWork who might have scaled both activities, projects and staff strength in a short span of time made headlines with the way they had to enforce mass layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As companies and industries slowly set up their back-to-work strategies this June, the biggest takeaway from all of this would be that business continuity has to always be foremost in mind to not only ensure profits for stakeholders but also the livelihoods of every employee. The right plans and forecasting that help business thrive to both short term and long term risks is what can prepare managerial teams for the next big threat-to-come, if there is one waiting on the horizon.
Unpreparedness is not an Option
Leaders the worldover, especially business heads in tech companies adapted to work from home models during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic pretty easily, however, most of them shared their thoughts on how there was no set playbook or rule on how to navigate through this crisis, because it was the first time that the world was experiencing an outbreak such as this.
Unpreparedness to address or deal with any kind of sudden challenge, be it economic, political or health related adversely impacts businesses, society and personal lives.
The biggest takeaway for world leaders and investors or company leaders is to be prepared for anything out of the ordinary, by always ensuring a safe cash haven and cash flow for at least a minimum of 1 business / fiscal year to tide through exigencies.
Crafting policies that can focus on business continuity (Re: point one above) and ensuring that cash flow is managed in such a way so as to allow for a overnight pivot while also ensuring staff salaries and livelihoods should be a priority area going forward.
Leaders have to keep in mind that while economies and businesses reopen, the threat of Covid-19 is still ever present. This itself demands that polices are crafted to be able to prepare for an immediate action plan in the event a staff member or anyone in the near vicinity is diagnosed or shows symptoms of the disease. A policy that ensures immediate protective measures while putting in place plans that can assure continued business activity will fast turn into a need for economies and businesses everywhere, in an attempt to deal with the crisis which is still at large.
Economic, Business and Natural Risks are Always Interconnected
Covid-19 can affect everyone, the young and the old. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender, age or race. The risk that the disease and pandemic has brought on has shown us that risks are always interconnected. The impact of the pandemic led to global lockdowns, which in turn led to industries shutting down and mass layoffs (the worst affected were brick and mortar entities and travel/tourism outlets). However, no segment was spared, with even technology and SaaS companies choosing to downsize because of reduced sales and falling revenues.
The world is more globalized than ever today, what affects one industry or economy will impact the other in some way. If one risk is amplified, it is bound to create that unwanted ripple effect across industries and regions, as seen with the Covid-19 pandemic or the impact of the 2008 financial crisis that started with the Wall Street fall. Understanding future risks of all kinds and mitigating them, irrespective of whether they are economic or health related is now a global concern and one that even businesses need to contribute or plan for.
The focus should now lie on detecting future vulnerabilities across areas and avoiding unnecessary disruptions.
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Better Protection from Cyber-attacks is Needed
As economies move to adopt their reopening strategies, and with an estimated 200 billion connected devices being a predictable count by 2030, there is a looming cyber security threat. The sophistication of hackers and type of threats will evolve and could impact several network and devices all at once if the right protective measures are not in place at the federal and private business level.
Prepping for Natural Threats Need to be on the Business Planning Horizon
According to statistics and studies, over 40 million Americans are at risk of flooding from rivers. Imagine the world count when it comes to flooding across multiple regions. Then there’s the Covid-19 pandemic which is causing rapid ill-health and loss of life. Both businesses and economies will have to join hands to work towards adopting the right technologies and analysis to identify early warning signs in time to be able to build more future-proof strategies that can secure cultures, personal lives, and livelihoods.
This can help turn around the effects of the above and create a more sound corporate-economic balance and ecosystem.
It is crucial for economies and companies to know the importance of what can impact their future plans and strategies while understanding that we live in a world where short term risks could include anything from the rise of infectious diseases to a water crisis while mid term risks could include elements like climate change, everything needs to be taken into account to future-proof your strategy.