Reposition and Remain Positive

Business Insights

5 Essential Questions: Adapt your business to the new reality

“Never waste a good crisis”. This quote, attributed to Winston Churchill, contains a liberating truth. No matter how bad things seem, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Amidst the pain of Covid-19, there are still opportunities available for entrepreneurs. In seeking not just to survive the crisis, but to thrive afterwards, I have found these five questions to be clarifying:

Does my company’s strategy still make sense, or do we need to change our approach?

An effective strategy looks at the competitive landscape in which you operate. It assesses your advantages and weaknesses and plots a practical course to overcoming these challenges.

The pandemic has challenged most businesses; what worked well before may not work in the future. The job of a business leader is to assess the situation and make necessary changes. A daunting but cathartic process that will open your eyes to the opportunities that a crisis creates.

My business, Quadrant2Design which designs and manufactures exhibition stands, has seen shows delayed or cancelled, leaving us without work for an extended period.

We’ve used this time to think about our offering and how we can restructure to suit the changing business environment. This pause has led us to refocus our marketing message on our core values, and to introduce new elements that we think will make our service more attractive post-crisis.

Do we need to change our offering because of the pandemic?

If you have thought clearly about how the pandemic has changed your customers’ needs, the answer to this question should be clear. While competitors are fighting fires, you have an opportunity to improve your product offering to better match what customers will want after the pandemic.

This development will depend on what market you operate in, and the extent of the disruption you are facing.

Businesses are also exploring new approaches to distribution; witness the explosion of online delivery services from everything including traditional retailers and pubs.

And we can be in no doubt; price, inherent value, and add-on value will become more critical once businesses start returning to work. View the need to improve your business model as an opportunity rather than a threat.

How do we boost our marketing team’s effectiveness despite Covid-19?

While marketing doesn’t seem like a priority, it isn’t an optional extra. You’ve spent years building your reputation and connection with customers. Without maintaining your marketing presence this work will unravel quickly.

Rather than cutting marketing, there is an opportunity to build your customer base. Put simply, people are bored sick of numerous Covid-19 adverts saturating their screens. Few brands are communicating ideas which treat their customers like adults.

This is your opportunity. Whether in words, video, social media, your website, or the press; find something positive, real and exciting to say to your customers. They will appreciate it.

Is our supply chain stable; do we need to bring some capabilities in-house?

The majority of businesses will have assessed their supply chain to ensure continuity. Many business owners will be considering whether supply chains can be shortened by bringing functions or manufacturing in-house.

The advantages of taking more control of the supply chain, beyond ensuring stability, include potentially improved quality, the potential to customise your product, and the ability to capture profits further up the supply chain. It’s worth asking the question.

My team is doing more with less. How do we harness this lean efficiency after Covid-19?

Our team have rallied together, despite the severe conditions forced upon them by the pandemic.

Companies across the country are similarly proving that. Fewer resources but achieving more than they thought possible. In particular, I have taken two lessons from the crisis that we can use in the future:

Identify a clear goal that the team can get behind, remembering that this is as much about what you don’t do as what you do. Having this clarity has enabled my team to work coherently and avoid distractions and side-projects as we get the business back on track.

The second is to make clever use of remote working. While I don’t believe the office is going to disappear after Covid-19, remote working can remove distractions, improve efficiency and provide time for meaningful projects.

Looking ahead

Businesses face challenges from Covid-19. We can’t control the course of the pandemic. But we can control how we adapt to new realities. In doing this, I believe it is possible to emerge from this crisis more robust than ever.