If the recent outbreaks of Coronavirus in both Victoria and New Zealand have taught us anything, it’s that our path to recovery will not be linear: it’s likely to be full of unexpected twists for Australian work culture and an underlying sense of frustration caused by the feeling that every time we take two steps forward, we take another step backward.
In this article, we will explain why this isn’t as bleak an outlook as it sounds and how, as business owners, we can use this current reality to our advantage if we take the right approach.
Regardless of your industry, you must move forward with two key attitudes at the absolute forefront of your business strategy (and your life strategy if you want to think about it in a more philosophical sense). These attitudes are continual adaptability and acceptance of the permanent change. While these two concepts may seem to contradict one another, as soon as you welcome them as the guiding beacons of your business decisions from this point forward, you’ll survive and thrive throughout the current health and economic crisis. Below, we’ve explained why:
As a business owner, you’re used to basing your business strategy around ‘likely outcomes’ and ‘usual trends.’ With the current circumstances, all sense of predictability seems to have been thrown out the door. This is due to two main reasons:
With international borders shut, travel restrictions in place, and social distancing rules that have meant reduced capacities for many businesses and new operating policies, countless businesses have not been able to ‘operate as usual’.
How do you deal with the new norm?
The difference between the two is that the government controls COVID-19 restrictions, and your business cycles can, to a certain extent, be controlled by you as the business owner. Business cycles can fall prey to a kind of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ dynamic. That is to say, as a business owner, you might expect conditions to worsen, and so you fail to invest in your business or continue to innovate. As a result, your business can fail due to self-inflicted stagnation rather than external economic or health factors. While you must remain vigilant of the potential pitfalls that could be caused by the current circumstances, you must also find balance and continue to adapt.
On a different note, COVID-19 restrictions and business cycles have one major thing in common: they are both temporary and continually shifting. Your business strategy must be fluid enough to deal with these shifts, and this is where continual adaptability is crucial. You must be ready to operate your business as usual (or as close to usual as you can get) when possible, and you must be ready to change the way you offer your services or products when necessary. And what’s even more important is that you’re prepared to quickly shift between these business frameworks as many times as you need to and with high functionality.
These shifts can take many forms, like a restaurant that previously only offered dine-in meals now offering delivery. Or a marketing agency implementing a ‘work from home’ policy. Or a law firm who had their cases heard “on the papers” or via teleconference instead of in-person. Whatever you can do to adapt to the changing circumstances is worth doing. Now is not the time to shut up shop, or take a step back from your business and simply hope that things will go back to normal soon.
Acceptance of Permanent Change
The second aspect of success during and after COVID that we referred to was the acceptance of the permanent change. As a business owner, you likely have processes and systems that help your business run. Also, as a professional, you’ve likely been trained to operate and work in a way that’s specific to your industry or role. When we become set in our ways, it can be challenging to get into new routines or habits, but that’s precisely what you have to do to make sure your business continues to grow and thrive.
There have been, and there will continue to be, significant structural changes happening across many industries. These changes have come in the form of offices full of staff now working from home, retailers beginning to sell their products online, Michelin star restaurants offering meal delivery services- the list of examples is endless. When you have found ways to adapt, as we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial that you embrace these new ways of doing business and managing your team. Here’s why:
To make sure you don’t get left behind
Whether you liked it or not, we were gradually moving into an age of full digitalisation and automation before the coronavirus pandemic hit. COVID-19 has shifted this progression into hyper speed. You must now, as a business owner, accept that this is the world we all live in. Even when a vaccine has been discovered, and social distancing becomes a thing of the past, the world isn’t simply going to regress into what might be considered the more traditional way of doing things. Don’t let a fear of becoming irrelevant, or an initial lack of understanding of how to transition your business, hold you back. Instead, choose to permanently embed digitalisation within your company’s core and allow your business to soar to new heights when it comes to convenience, collaboration, and accessibility. Not only this, but you will become an industry leader at the forefront of the digital revolution.
It’s an insurance policy
You can either plan for the short term or plan for the long term, and in business, it’s been not easy recently to plan for the long term. However, accepting the permanent structural changes that are taking place is one way that you can help to secure your business’ future. Instead of looking for quick fixes and short term solutions, implement permanent long term solutions that will stand by your business.
For example, if you had to suddenly send your team to work from home on short notice due to COVD-19, it was likely a disorganized and challenging transition. Now, what you can do is have workflow systems in place, digital project management, online meetings set up and implement a program that tracks your staff’s working hours. Retain these practices and policies and make them a part of your business regardless of the COVID-19 situation. This means that your business is no longer restricted to operating inside the four walls of an office. Whether it be a COVID-related crisis six months down the line or a different incident in 5 years, your business won’t be thrown into chaos but will be built to withstand the unpredictabilities that life will inevitably throw at you.
If you’re looking for a way to make your business more adaptable and digital age-friendly, MyWorkPlan is designed to keep your team aligned and engaged so that your business continues to grow, regardless of location or industry. In the face of challenges like the current health crisis, MyWorkPlan can make sure that your staff continues learning and collaborating, building a more resilient business than ever before. Click here to start your free trial today!