Pivoting Your Business in a Post-Pandemic World
By Diane Tait
Image courtesy Pixabay
If you own a business, then you know what a shock to the system the Coronavirus caused a little more than a year ago. In some cases, businesses were shut down for months on end. In others, employees were either laid off or forced to work from home to reduce the incidence of contagion. Any way you look at it, pivoting to keep your business open during the pandemic was a chore of epic proportions. Now that the worst of the epidemic is over, guess what? Most businesses are going to have to pivot their businesses back to some sense of normal. That isn’t going to be easy for some as you’ll see in my top-10 tips below.
1. Is anybody out there? Far from being an apocalypse, COVID-19 didn’t so much cause the end of the world as the end or the world as we knew it. Now that the worst of the pandemic is over, many businesses are finding it hard to bounce back. You may have noticed that it’s extremely hard to bring staff back to the office or to hire new employees. After working from home for so long, some staffers like the flexibility of coming and going as they please as opposed to being chained to their desk for 8-hours a day. Others are still flush with cash from stimulus funds and are in no hurry to go back to work. The solution for both these scenarios is for business owners to offer incentives and flexible schedules designed to encourage employees to get back to business as usual.
2. When’s the last time you reevaluated your priorities? – Just as most business owners were forced to reevaluate their priorities to survive the pandemic, thriving in a post-pandemic world will also require a bit of thought. For the most part this means listening to employees more closely. Face it, before the pandemic, capable business owners and managers picked up on the wants and needs of their staff by simply keeping their ears to the ground. After more than a year of working remotely, it will take time to gauge the moods of employees who are once more going to be expected to adapt again to keep their jobs. This may require management to factor in these changes when setting productivity and profitability goals.
Image courtesy Pixabay
3. Is it time to strengthen your company’s social architecture? – Not only did most company’s profits take a tumble during the pandemic, so too did their social structure. With employees working remotely, the social glue that held many companies together was altered if not shattered by isolation. Therefore, it’s logical to assume that reinvigorating a company’s social architecture will require time and patience as well.
4. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. - Especially after being left to their own devices for more than a year, some employees will balk if they are managed with a heavy hand.
5. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. – Just because the worst of social isolation is over, that doesn’t mean that everything you discovered during the pandemic should be abandoned. Face it, successful companies don’t get stuck in the mud. They look for ways of being more efficient and creative. Some of the techniques and technology that businesses were forced to use during the pandemic can still work to improve a company’s ability to interface with clients and prospects. If that’s the case, why go back to a less efficient model simply because that’s the way you always used to do things?
6. Is your business prepared for a faster than predicted recovery? – While a lack of demand for products and services derailed many businesses when the pandemic hit, the opposite could be just as deadly in the near future. If your business isn’t prepared for a faster than predicted recovery, you could wind up in the unenviable position of not being able to deliver goods to clients and prospects who want what you have to offer. That means you need to make sure your supply lines and distribution nodes are prepared to fulfill orders on a land sale basis if need be. If not, you could lose customers and customer confidence faster than you did when the taps were turned off a year ago.
7. Are you prepared for hiccups? Oscar Wilde said it best. “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” Owners and managers need to be prepared for hiccups that can derail the smooth operation of their business for the next few months. Just as starting a train rolling down the tracks takes a great deal of energy, so too will restarting a business along a model that has been idle for more than a year. To expect everything to work out fine from the outset isn’t a realistic outlook. Better to expect the best and be prepared for the worst than vice versa.
Image courtesy Pixabay
8. Where’s your fallback point? – Not only do you need to acknowledge the possibility that a warp or weave in your carefully crafted business plan may affect your profits, you need to have a contingency plan in place to address the possibility. Just as many businesses that had no Plan B when COVID-19 reared its ugly head foundered during the pandemic, failing to have an alternate plan to address the restart of a business could be just as catastrophic.
9. Keep the lines of communication open. – More than ever, if your business is going to pivot to thrive in a post pandemic world, you need to keep the lines of communication to customers, prospects and employees wide open. Just as the stresses of pivoting a business to survive COVID-19 affected the way businesses conducted business, pivoting back to a pre-COVID business model will also take some adjustment. Those who listen best are the ones who will bounce back the fastest.
10. Could something like COVID-19 happen again? – Who knows? More importantly, a pandemic isn’t the only thing that can derail a business in the future. Everything from fire or flood to hacking or lawsuits can disrupt a business in a hurry. Fortunately, that’s why business insurance was invented.
Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on boat insurance, go to her site.