How to set up your SME to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world

 How to set up your SME to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world

From remote work and digital dependence to “Zoom fatigue” and quick business pivoting, the coronavirus crisis has transformed the workplace as we knew it.

The twin impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on health and economics has made 2021 a difficult year for many. Our data shows six out of 10 businesses reported sales losses of up to 75 per cent this year, compared to the same time last year.

The survey also found 18 per cent reported consistent revenue while only 9 percent enjoyed growth in sales during the pandemic.

Many businesses were also faced with the challenge of re-evaluating how they operate. These were forced to re-shape their strategy, creating services, services or delivery methods inside a quickly changing environment.

The work-from-home experiment also paved the way for other major organisational changes. Although during 2021 we're expecting to see a rise in “Zoom fatigue”, a blurring of labor and home life and even possibly a re-examination from the working week. A lot of companies are experimenting with new work environments.

Let me share some five tips to future-proof your business or career path in 2021:

  • Digital dominance: Australia's workforce needs to be able to operate in today's digital world and also the digital world we will face in five years. Workers and business owners need to be both digital, able to re-skill and adapt.
  • Stay agile: The best Australian businesses are those that re-shaped their delivery to function in the quick-changing environment. That includes diversifying customer bases and serving essential industries where consumer demand keeps growing, such as health, education or manufacturing. 
  • Cost efficiencies: Reducing business costs is something many businesses will need to continue implementing into 2021. This will never involve cutting corners or lowering the quality of your overall offering, including customer service. Rather, try to seek out methods to cut unnecessary expenses to cut back on both financial risk and waste. For instance, try negotiating more flexible terms together with your suppliers or premises, compare utility prices or move operations online if at all possible. 
  • Focus on the customer: Being responsive to customer needs is going to be critical to business success in 2021. It can help to improve retention and sales volume while giving your brand some extra gloss. This involves things like surprising customers and over-delivering on promises. 
  • Plan with purpose: The worst thing you can do now is withdraw inside yourself, or inside your own business. Make the most of this time to organize how to lead your business to a successful 2021.

Business as usual is no longer enough within the new world. The businesses that are planning for a post-COVID world, positioning for that world or being able to figure out what those new demands is going to be – and how they repurpose their business to satisfy those demands – are the ones that will be successful going forward.

Like past crises, COVID-19 will pass, and we’ll create a new normal. It is in this context that businesses and organisations must learn to how to thrive again.

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