Who Will Lead the Charge in the New Reality?
Contributed by: Hilmarie Hutchison, CEO of Matrix Public Relations.
The dreaded COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another. Businesses, just like individuals have suffered immensely more so as a result of the measures that have been put in place to contain the spread.
Business owners, senior executives and managers have also had to deal with how to keep their businesses afloat during the crisis. But now that we’re slowly transitioning to the new normal, there are many factors that corporate leaders need to consider – a new business model being one of them.
Other important factors also include reevaluating the financial health of the company, the extent of the impact caused by the crisis and how they can drive new business going forward.
Chief Executive Officers (CEO) have a chance to create new business models. These obviously need to be much better than the old ones. The new models also need to be more collaborative, empowering, functional and profitable.
A good CEO is one that understands this and is ready to put forward these arrangements not only for the good of the business but for the employees too. To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at some of these all-important strategies.
How Businesses Can Cope with the COVID-19 Aftermath
During the pandemic, almost all businesses have had to adjust their strategies. Business processes also needed to change in order to accommodate the new work environment. Naturally, for most businesses, establishing an online presence was extremely necessary.
Remote working also became the order of the day as most businesses created flexible hours for their employees. These strategies are good enough for now, but what happens after the crisis is over? Get ready to turn on the business reset button.
The first thing that will need to be established will be new lines of communication. Companies will need to look for new ways to communicate with their audience more effectively.
Online marketing is one of the ways that should be highly considered. Social media is one of the most established means of communication today and businesses should enhance their digital marketing – maybe even allocate a bigger budget than before.
This fact became more pronounced during the pandemic as more businesses needed to reach out to their customers, which made social media the go-to solution. CEO now need to reevaluate their social media strategies to ensure that they are not playing catchup during a crisis.
Reinventing the work environment
The moment the virus hit us, our business operations and work environment was instantly put out of gear.
The pandemic was unprecedented and businesses were caught off guard. Although some had a crisis management plan in place, a majority of these plans had not been designed for such a crisis.
Now that most businesses have managed to adopt new work schedules, what happens when normal operations resume is left to be seen. This is a question that still lingers in most CEO’s minds as most employees ask themselves if working from home is working, do I really have to go back to the office?
The new reality will probably demand a new strategy on how business will accommodate and coordinate all its employees. Will it require some to work from home whilst other go back to the office?
Management should also have policies put in place to accommodate a change in the business environment. The quicker CEOs manage this new change the more profitable their companies. Conventional methods may not be good enough.
It is also evident that thanks to the crisis, familiar structures have now faded and there is a new shift in stakeholder behaviour, institutions, and markets. This is where CEOs need to focus on even as they re-strategize on how to move forward.
Building a Crisis Management Team
Every company needs a crisis management team now more than ever. This team will be responsible for formulating a crisis plan that works as well as assist in navigating the company out of a crisis. The crisis management team should have representation from all key departments and headed by the CEO as the spokesperson.
The main objective of the crisis management team is to help the company adjust to any new changes, manage all communication – internal and external as well as ensure that the transition is seamless when the crisis is over.
The CEO should also get a team that will counsel the employees to ensure that their wellbeing is taken care of as a matter of priority so that their morale is restored as well as to boost their productivity. The team should also put together a business continuity plan that will map out what needs to be done to ensure that the business continues to operate.
Reestablishing the Supply Chain
Most businesses get their supplies from different regions – local and international. With the global economy being affected by the pandemic, it might take a long time for those regions to open up or even have enough stock when business resumes. Apart from that, supply policies and procedures are also likely to change as part of the new way of doing business.
What this means is that businesses will need to reevaluate their supply chain. This might entail them buying ahead the raw materials that are in short supply, getting substitutions from places where the supplier is not impacted, and so on. This will ensure that they have a continuous supply of goods when needed.
It is, therefore, crucial for CEOs to fully understand their supply chains more deeply and in more dimensions. This will help them to build resilience and also to have a better response to shifting trade policies.
Preparing for other risks
While COVID-19 has been and continues to affect businesses, other challenges might also occur. These could be in the form of loss of employees, loss of clients and so on. With such imminent threats to a business, CEOs and corporate leaders need to make sure that they are well prepared for unforeseen risks that might occur as a result of a crisis.
Such risks might seem small at first but they might pack a powerful punch that could bring down the company. It is, therefore, important that the CEO is prepared for such eventualities and have a solid plan in place that will ensure that the business is least affected.
As a CEO, you should constitute a team, whether internal or external, that will help you to identify imminent risks, design and execute a plan to neutralize the threat. In short, prepare your brand and team for an effective response.
Looking for New Growth Opportunities
Despite the effects of a crisis on businesses, CEOs should now think of new opportunities that will help the business recoup some of the losses it made during the crisis. This might include new partnerships, new services, and other acquisitions that can help accelerate growth for the business.
The COVID-19 crisis has taught many business leaders a tough lesson. Diversification is key for business survival. Businesses that will continue relying on just one source of revenue might not survive another global crisis.
These are just some of the few measures that need consideration; the new vision, that companies need to put in place to ensure they stay in business. The Coronavirus pandemic has asked one significant question of CEOs “Are you willing to change to a new now with solutions that can be delivered at raid speed?”
Those that respond quicker and smarter will be the ones that show the difference between competing and winning!