There are not many things that we can be sure of anymore, but there is one thing that we can say without any equivocation at all: we are all thoroughly sick and tired of hearing anything that is pandemic related in any way, shape, or form…
…but (you had to have known that was coming), whether we like it or not, the effects of the past couple of years are going to be with us for the foreseeable future and there is not an awful lot that we can do about that.
However, the more things change, the more they stay the same and there will always be the staples that every business has to get right if they’re going to survive in a competitive world:
A great product or service, a committed and highly trained team to deliver on your service promise, the latest innovative trends that keep you ahead of the game, and your ability to know when to change and when to stay the same, and it’s a critical skill that not many managers know how to navigate successfully. How do you keep your business memorable and running smoothly in a world that has gone completely crazy?
We mostly have the ego to thank for that because once we’ve developed a system or procedure that works, it’s very hard to admit when it’s run its course – and therein lies the fundamental reason why you’re the ‘boss’ at all – your ability to know the difference.
Understanding key developmental areas and prime performance areas are absolutely essential to truly understand the potential of your business yes, but also what exactly are the nuts and bolts that keep it running that way.
So, in the great game of business strategy, how do you know what needs to change to keep up with a world that has seemingly gone crazy and how do you evolve established and successful practices to keep your business at the cutting edge of the competition?
Health & Safety
This is something that you should have been taking seriously anyway, but now not only do you need to pay extra special attention to your health & safety protocols at work, but you need to be seen to be doing so as well.
Your workers want to know that you take their health seriously, and so you need to adapt your working space accordingly – especially if your office doesn’t have access to huge amounts of fresh air, balconies or outdoor spaces. You may need to think of ways to evolve and if your office is located in an office building or large enclosure, negotiate with the business owners about leasing or getting access to an outdoor ‘breakout’ area perhaps.
It’s always a good idea to adopt an anti-smoking policy as part of your company’s philosophy for health and wellness – but now, it’s critical. Invest in stop-smoking programs and offer these to your workers for free.
Your customers also want to see that you’re taking their health seriously, so your cleaning crew needs to be visible – regularly. Publish your cleaning and sanitising schedule in easy to read and access places, and ensure that time codes are published and adhered to as well.
We all know how annoying it is having to sanitise your hands every ten meters – but don’t do it, and see what happens. It makes way more sense to be ahead of the pack – instead of playing catch up, because if you’re needing to play catch up with something as important as your health & safety policies – where else are you falling behind? See it from your customer’s perspective.
Evolve Your Business Strategy Accordingly
No one understands your business quite as you do, but that doesn’t mean (shock!) that you know everything and this could mean it’s time for some innocuous espionage. What that means is having a look at what your competition is doing to stay ahead of the pack and then testing that against what you’re doing. For example, if your business does deliveries, what are you doing to ensure contactless but still safe and secure delivery? How do you prove that your package has been delivered at all if there is no signature?
Your customer service policies need to evolve too. Now your teams need the training to deal with specific situations, especially if you’re in the medical or associated fields. It doesn’t stop there though and you should consider contacting STL to help your sales staff evolve and develop customer service training solutions that work for your company.
Business strategy in the general sense is a collective of policies and procedures that govern how we operate our businesses, but they also set out how we mean to interact with the world around us and with other businesses too. So, you must keep abreast of the very latest trends in that environment.
Investing in Research & Development
Even if you’re on the smaller size of businesses, there is no escaping this vital function. Everything has changed around us, from how we negotiate with suppliers, manage our logistical functions and how we interact with customers in an FMCG environment or otherwise, and the worst part? We have no idea how much longer this is going to last.
So, what are some of the ways that businesses are changing to cope with this new reality?
For starters, far more businesses than ever have started migrating toward more digital platforms and logistics back-end operations. Frankly, this is something that businesses should have done ages ago, but as the saying goes – necessity is the mother of all invention.
Correction, the pandemic is the mother of all inventions.
The trick is still allowing for maximum productivity while responding to an ever-changing environment and therein lies the challenge for many British businesses steeped in tradition and the ‘business as usual’ credo, when in fact it is now a case of business unusual that we should be embracing.
Financial services is another industry that has had to relook its business models and lending agreements, as loans have had to be restructured and extended, new start-up companies have capitalised on the lending game and this is having interesting results.
It may seem to be counterproductive, but now is a very good time to consider a new direction for your business and to restructure old and tired departments or product lines that may have needed just that, for some time.
Image Credits: Jeshoots