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Adapting your business to COVID

By Steve Marsten

We often get told that it will be quite some time before we understand the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But if the history of economic shocks tells us two things - even in severe economic downturns and recessions, some companies are able to gain advantage.

Also, crises produce not just a plethora of temporary changes (mainly short-term shifts in demand) but also some lasting ones. For example, after 9/11 there was a temporary decline in air travel, but they brought about a lasting shift in societal attitudes about the trade-off between privacy and security, resulting in permanently higher levels of screening and surveillance. The accelerating structural shift to e-commerce, paving the way for the rise of Alibaba and other digital giants has occurred.

One thing is for sure – we must adapt because COVID and all its strains are here to stay. Like the rest of the population and Government, we must work with and adapt to the new economic landscape before us.

It’s time to take a deep look into your business. In the military, there is a technique for discovering what you don’t know. It means - use the “eyes of your enemy.” (Change enemy to competitor perhaps.) Military leaders ask themselves, What is the enemy paying attention to? and then shift their own attention accordingly to illuminate potential blind spots and alternative perspectives.

The same can be applied to industry mavericks and competitors: Who is doing well? What market segments are your rivals focused on? What products or services are they launching? The same principle can be extended to customers: Which ones are exhibiting new behaviours? Which have stayed loyal? What new crisis-induced needs do customers have, and what are they paying attention to?

Are there international possibilities that you hadn’t previously considered or ventured? Armed with an understanding of where your opportunities lie, you can now move to the next step: shaping your business model to capture them. Your new business model will be shaped by the demand and supply shifts relevant to your industry. To figure out what business model the new normal requires, you need to ask basic questions about how you create and deliver value, who you’ll partner with, and who your customers will be. As an example, look at how retail shopping businesses are adjusting to the demand shift to digital. Consider contacting the team at Appleby Chartered Accountants on 07 3876 6211 to have your business strategically reviewed to make sure it is COVID ready when the economy opens up again.

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