The World Has Changed. Can You?

We may be getting back to some normality now the COVID-19 pandemic is receding, but we’ve got to be prepared for things never being the same again. As McKinsey & Company has said: “The pandemic will eventually recede, but its impact will be lasting.” 

The digitalization of our economy and lives had already begun before the pandemic hit. Lockdowns accelerated this transformation of how we live, work, and play. What does this mean for businesses?

The way that consumers shop and the way that workers work has changed - perhaps irrevocably, and that is producing some fantastic growth opportunities.

You’re going to experience many market growth opportunities. To take advantage of them, you’ll have to overcome many challenges. You’ve got to be more adaptable than you have ever been.

Companies with growth opportunities are already adapting

Perhaps the most visible change created by the response to the pandemic was how companies do business. Overnight, people started working from home. They have discovered they like it. Businesses have learned that they can operate with a remote workforce.

In B2B sales, around 80% to 90% is now done remotely. And it looks like many of these practices will stick. Whole sectors have been transformed – like healthcare, where people have discovered the benefits of telehealth.

Small companies can take advantage of the ability to use established platforms to be innovative in how they operate. Large businesses can use the benefit of size to scale their operations. The companies in between are likely to be more challenged, having neither the flexibility nor scale to adapt at pace.

Taking advantage of technology will be key to adapting to the new normal. Larger companies are hiring tech expertise and converting platforms from B2B to B2All, using tech infrastructure to spur growth. For all companies with growth opportunities to benefit from all that technology has to offer, it will be necessary to consider how technology is shaping your industry.

Where will you find value in the new normal business environment?

It’s going to be necessary, also, to take more risks as we move forward. There is no room for complacency or trying to maintain the status quo. Markets are evolving rapidly, and agile adaptation will be needed to survive and thrive in a highly competitive marketplace. Vision, strategy, and planning must be prioritized.

Customers have changed

Among the biggest changes that the pandemic has caused is the massive shift in customer behavior. They have switched brands, and where and how they shop. To attract new customers and retain existing ones, you must work to understand your customers deeply. That old data you had is no longer valid. You need to collect and analyze new, relevant data to understand the new behavioral patterns to market to, and the motivations behind buying decisions.

Digital and remote working are business drivers today

Technology is not only driving how and where consumers buy, but it is enabling businesses to respond more flexibly. Consumers are working and shopping remotely, and we shouldn’t expect the popularity of these capabilities to evaporate.

While technology is not the golden shot that will deliver all your business’s strategic vision, it is allowing businesses to operate remotely – and hire talent that wants to work remotely, too. It’s a great opportunity to up your game, improving how you do things by employing the best talent anywhere, and giving your remote employees the autonomy that they crave. Never have we witnessed consumer and worker behaviors so closely matched.

So, how do you take advantage of this? 

  • Choose your technology solutions wisely – make sure that capability matches need.

  • Be more adaptable in how you hire – and where.

  • Develop teams capable of fully utilizing the data streams your business is receiving.

  • Allow greater autonomy and flexibility in decision making

  • Establish good processes and guide the behaviors of your remote employees and teams.

Don’t make the mistake of going it alone

If you’re not a technology company or are a business with existing low levels of technical expertise and technology use, the biggest mistake you can make is to attempt a tech and digital transformation alone. Investing in inappropriate technology, or without the experience to deploy it effectively, is an expensive error. One that could lose customers instead of adding them in this environment of market growth opportunities.

First, develop the vision of where you want to be. Then identify what is needed to achieve this vision. Focus on those areas that will make a real difference to your business, and be realistic about the ROI achievable. Then partner with technical expertise that will help to get you there.

Would you like to hear more about leadership and business opportunities in the new normal? To book me for entrepreneurial coaching or for a speaking event, please get in touch.

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