Covid-19 has had huge impact on businesses and society. There is lots of talk of the “new normal” and a permanent change for the way we operate in the workplace and interact with customers on a day to day basis. This is a big enough change in any business or market, but it is taking place during, what is likely to be, the biggest crash for our economy since the second world war.
Budgets and plans have been shredded and emergency budgets created and changed, plans reviewed, implemented changed again in line with government guidance. Staff have been furloughed and quite rightly worry about getting back to work. Those not furloughed are trying to keep the business functional and worry about getting furloughed people back to work.
The reality is in the Summer most businesses would start to plan for their 2021 budget; sales pipelines to analyse and review and capital investments to get approved. But the landscape is changing every day and next year’s budget is the least of your worries; there’s cash to manage to a tomorrow to get to.
Despite all the challenges business face there will be opportunities to grow but a change of mindset could be required. You were a solid profitable business before Covid and can be afterwards but right now you are a turnaround. Cash pressure, uncertain order books, disrupted opportunity pipeline and disproportionate costs bases would in normal markets make you a turnaround. You are the frog put into the turnaround pot and if you do not get wise and act you might just boil.
Everybody focuses on having the right people on the bus. Everybody focuses on having the right people in the right seats, on the bus. Problem is, are you sure you are driving a bus anymore, and the road just got very bumpy! The skills, experience and perspectives needed for a turnaround might not exist in your business and you face a dilemma. Now more than ever you need those skills, but you might need to invest in external resource, which can be a circle to square in the current climate. Ask yourself, what is the cost of not investing in the right skills?
You can review the one to four projects you can (or were) undertaking that will create the maximum top line growth or bottom-line impact. Can you accelerate an NPI project to get to market quicker and realise better sales? ls there an IT project that will drive operational efficiency or enhance your customer experience and what is the impact if you can deliver them early? In assessing the ability to squeeze the timeline its important be honest about the skills you need to recover.
After the financial crash in 2008 Warren Buffet made the point that while all stock markets were down, some of those companies would post record results in five years’ time. Buffet was right. Holding on to that belief in the future is key, there is an opportunity to re-shape the organisation and think differently. But do not forget the discussion about skills and return on investment in delivering results early. Making these investments can propel you forward because markets will recover, and you need to bring your A-game when they do. In adversity there is opportunity and where you have a skills gap be prepared to look outside the organisation; it might be the difference in keeping the bus on the road, which helps the acceleration when the road is smoother.