How businesses can plan for the post-pandemic recovery
21 January 2021
Businesses need to start planning for the economic recovery that is just around the corner.
What that economic recovery looks like is still an evolving picture. The pandemic will not suddenly end, but will be a gradual easing of restrictions that will see an increase in consumer confidence as the vaccine is rolled out.
Deloitte forecasts a return to economic growth for the UK economy in Q2 2021, with a big jump in Q3. This should give SMEs some encouragement and optimism and the impetus to begin planning for the recovery.
Businesses that do not plan or take action now, risk being left behind by more proactive and dynamic competitors. Business owners will need to establish critical priorities for the next 12 to 24 months as they position for the new realities.
There is still a lot of uncertainty, however what is clear is that customers, employees, suppliers and competitors are watching. How a business handles its recovery will in part define its reputation and performance for years to come.
Here are five areas where businesses are likely to have been impacted by the pandemic and as such, are possible priorities for recovery.
How have your customers changed over the course of the pandemic? There might be a change in their expectations, their relationship with your business or how they engage and transact.
What is the most effective way of communicating with your customers? The growth of digital communication and transactions during the pandemic should influence how you plan for the future.
- Redefine your target customer taking into account the changes in their behaviour brought about by the pandemic
- Review your communication strategy, are you communicating the right messages, through the right channels, in the right way?
- Bring digital into the heart of your marketing activity. This might mean a reinvention; or simply an extension of what you already do
Do you have a sound understanding of your cash position and how it might change as the restrictions lift? With such uncertainty around the relative speed of the recovery it is worth running multiple scenarios and evaluating the impact on cashflow and liquidity.
Now is also a good time to look at your operating cost structure for the future. Can you make your business more efficient by using digital technology and reducing waste?
- Prepare and monitor cashflow forecasts based on multiple scenarios (worst case / middle / optimistic)
- Investigate digital solutions to streamline operations to improve efficiency
- Review your pricing structure and the way you invoice. Try and move towards a positive cashflow
- Identify in advance sources of additional liquidity in case you need it
3. Supply Chain
Who are your key suppliers and how have they been impacted over the course of the pandemic? You might be prepared and ready to take full advantage when the recovery starts, but if your suppliers are not then it will be very challenging.
Securing your supply chain as well as building in contingencies if primary supply channels fail will make you far more resilient and prepared. Sometimes bringing supply chains geographically closer can give you greater visibility and control.
- Reach out and speak to your key suppliers to understand how they are preparing for post pandemic
- Diversify your supply chain and put together supply contingencies that can be implemented at short notice
- Improve visibility by building in real-time supply updates and early warning systems
4. Workforce & workplace
What’s changed for your workforce and workplace during the pandemic? Many businesses have had to significantly adapt to maintain and support the safety, health (mental and physical) and productivity of their workforce
Remote and flexible working has been a necessity during the pandemic, but once restrictions are lifted things are unlikely to return to how they were. Employee expectations will have changed and many will want to continue their flexible work patterns. The role of line managers has also changed, with many digital solutions replacing the need for human oversight.
- Rethink your workforce and decide what you really need in terms of flexibility, capability and capacity. Redraw your organisational chart
- Plan how can you accommodate a blended working environment (mix of office and home). Is there more investment required in digital systems?
- Update employee processes such as induction, onboarding and service delivery to incorporate a virtual working environment
How can you make more use of digital tools and assets to increase growth? The pandemic has accelerated change, particularly the move towards more digital tools within business operations.
There is an opportunity for businesses to capitalise on this momentum and properly embrace digital transformation making it a core part of future plans and strategy.
- Look at your businesses processes, which ones offer opportunities for greater digitisation?
- Commit to digital transformation in your business plan
- Review the digital skills of your workforce, do they need to be improved?
It’s now time to focus on revitalising your business as we emerge from this pandemic. What you choose to do now will define your performance for years to come.
We have the expertise and the software to help you. So, if you would like to discuss how we can help your business embrace digital transformation and improve productivity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can do so by calling the office on 01772 920777 or clicking on the button below:
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