The past year has been very hard for the entire global population and more so for small businesses. Extended lockdowns, unprecedented disruptions and changed consumer buying patterns caused by the pandemic forced many businesses to opt for premature closures.
But the scenario was not homogeneous – while some businesses struggled to survive, several businesses thrived, and several new ventures started running successfully amid the chaos. Being exposed to prolonged uncertainties businesses compelled business owners to act with strategic intentions. Currently most businesses fall in either of these three camps:
- Thriving, but skeptical about their success
- Surviving, but too cautious to take bold steps
- Struggling, traumatized and disillusioned
The only commonality for all these three camps is that they have entered a new year teeming with opportunities. It’s a space where you can rewrite the rules and forge new strategic visions that enable your business to achieve higher growth and scale new heights of success. Here are five ways to make that happen for your business:
- Accept and drive change
The pandemic has ushered changes at every level and the only way to thrive today is to embrace change. Small businesses are more accustomed to change and are better positioned to adopt new ways but now the time has come to plan and implement strategic changes in your business and not just implement changes that are reactionary in nature.
Businesses must identify new problems at the initial stage and adopt new approaches to solve it much faster than earlier. To do that, companies must embrace agile ways of working at a holistic level and implement quarterly strategic plans. This rhythmic planning helps to keep the organizational efforts focused and pertinent, while being agile and flexible to adopt new ways if the situation demands so.
- Put customer needs first
The disruptions caused by the pandemic has completely changed customer needs. Many products and services are no longer as important as before and the bigger problem is that the situation has not stabilized, and customer needs are changing constantly.
A simple strategy would be to engage better with customers and identify new opportunities from the customer interactions. It can be an additional question that customer executives can ask or a simple and customer survey. This can help businesses to stay in tune with changing customer needs and enable them to take apt action to capitalize the learnings.
- Work smarter
Arguably, working hard is overrated! No doubt, to be successful, you must have determination, focus and resilience but working hard is not a core requisite. Smarter working is about leveraging intelligence and talents of people and collaborating successfully. Even removing a simple hurdle in organizational processes can enhance team performance and boost morale.
Smarter working is also about leveraging technology and streamlining processes. Redesigning operational processes to include hyper automation technologies is expected to reduce operational costs by almost 30% by 2024, says Gartner. Companies must consider imbibing advanced technology and automation in their processes to enhance their business capabilities.
- Combine purpose and profit
Times have changed and the fundamental idea of capitalism is being questioned. Customers no longer love big brands just because they are big, they also demand such ventures impact the society positively as well. Businesses thus should look at profit not as a reward for themselves but something that will have a positive effect on the society as a whole.
Indeed, if a company marries purpose and profit – it can prosper while improving the community and the planet. Here profit is an intention and far more expansive than just the revenue. Relooking at profit in this new light can help businesses become more popular and relevant.
- Empower your teams
In the light of the events unfurled by the pandemic, leaders must realize that there is no absolute right or wrong. Leaders should not be wary about making mistakes rather be ready to course correct. They should lead with confidence and empower the frontline workers.
To thrive in current times businesses must be agile and innovate – both these objectives can be achieved by empowering the workforce. Business leaders should train teams to function autonomously and monitor their progress to ensure that the smaller units work in unison, aligned to the common organizational goals.