Road To Recovery: Remap, Relaunch, Reassure, Regain
By Gopi Ganesalingam July 20, 2020
- Crucial to size-up competitors & new players vying for market share on the same turf
- Your trump card could be innovation, agility, speed-to-market, competitive pricing, talent
Back from the brink. The month of July saw entrepreneurs return to the grind en masse. However, reopening a business after a four-month hiatus is proving to be a gruelling task for many entrepreneurs, who are far from regaining their former business momentum.
If the notion ‘open for business’ merely means the reopening of doors, this is a grave mistake. Shrewd entrepreneurs understand the battle with the pandemic is far from over and are armed with a post-Covid19 blueprint to navigate the volatile times ahead – something I have reiterated in my many person-to-person discussions with the companies that MDEC works with. But prior to that, it is essential to engage in a situational analysis of sorts.
New norm demands a new form!
To help businesses with their reset, management consulting firm, McKinsey & Co, outlines five factors that are shaping the next normal:
i. Metamorphosis on demand
Not only is it the B2C businesses that are thriving online, even B2B decision makers are switching to digital sales in droves. Entrepreneurs must be mindful that accelerated digital adoption have made consumers prone to brand-switching and they tend to favour domestic goods more than imports.
ii. Altered workforce
More companies are offering a hybrid working model, where employees are partially at the office and at remote locations. Interestingly, this new model promises greater access to talent, increased productivity, lower cost, more individual flexibility and improved employee experience. Entrepreneurs need to reimagine their workforce to optimise output.
iii. Changes in resiliency
Companies are decreasing the number of items they sell to reduce cost and avert risks associated with disruptions in supply chain. Entrepreneurs should consider this strategy and explore newer methods of being resilient, including divesting idle assets to increase cash at hand.
iv. Regulatory uncertainty
The growing political pressure for legislation to protect local economic activities could lead to statism - a political system where the state has substantial control over social and economic affairs. This may have an impact on existing government policies and a backlash on global free-trade. Entrepreneurs need to be agile to manage these regulatory complexities.
v. Evolution of the virus
There is no conclusive evidence to suggest a definite end to Covid-19 and varying health standards continue to be applied geographically. After reopening the economy, some countries had to reinstitute lockdown measures after the resurgence of infections. The fluctuating impact of the crisis continues to place entrepreneurs on unstable pastures that demand greater readiness for unexpected adversities.
Clearly, the effects of Covid-19 will linger for an indefinite period and like a game of chess, it demands calculative risk-taking at every step of the game.
4-steps to restart and revive
To avert the post-pandemic perils, entrepreneurs are urged to study industry insights that are available in abundance when plotting their next moves. If I may candidly share, be guided by Sun Tzu’s ancient Art of War:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
After months of moderating and speaking at dozens of webinars with luminary entrepreneurs, it is best I put in perspective all the salient points by formulating the ‘4Rs of Reigniting Your Business’:
In these unprecedented times, it is crucial to size-up competitors and new players vying for market share on the same turf. While larger organisations have economies of scale and ample resources at their disposal, your trump card could be innovation, agility, speed-to-market, competitive pricing, vibrant work culture, access to talent, etc. Rework your business plan - ground it on principles and strengths, prioritise digitalisation and ensure all crisis contingencies are in place. Go the extra mile by adding a pivot plan to pre-set your business on an alternative course during a calamity. Survival is the endgame so begin with a formidable blueprint to future-proof your business.
I reiterate: do not merely reopen the shutters of your business premise and resume operations from where you left. Seize the opportunity to make a loud and bold statement – your business is back, stronger than before to serve with heightened standards. Remember, your customers’ expectations have changed. Demonstrate and share your renewed commitment to them with visual evidence via all communication platforms; compliance to SOPs, prioritisation of staff health and wellness, efficiency of contactless transactions, improved company offerings and its added benefits. Key is to convey your organisation’s readiness to serve in the new normal and how it is prepared to weather another storm with minimal or zero-disruptions.
Frequent and targeted communication during this post-pandemic phase not only raises the confidence of our internal and external stakeholders but firmly cements trust. The pinnacle of trust is attained when your business becomes the talk of the town for a certain best practice or value of your product/service. Nothing shouts louder than positive reviews and recommendations, which are far more convincing than our own voice. These third-party endorsements lend credibility to the organisation and soon you will enjoy top-of-mind branding perks. Design your communication in a way that it can yield results that money cannot buy.
At present, most entrepreneurs desire a state of normalcy but I urge you to think bigger and aim higher. If the preceding 3Rs are performed with ingenuity and precision, this step may catapult your organisation beyond imaginable pastures – obtain greater market share, better access to funding, be a magnet for talent, and get invited to collaborate with the finest partners in the industry. Founders will soon find their views are much sought after by other entrepreneurs and the media; the ultimate gratification of being a thought leader.
In the next instalment of #GopiSpeaks, I will be sharing some of the best entrepreneurial practices by our homegrown tech companies in the economic recovery phase. Let us learn from the movers and shakers of the industry… so watch this space!
Gopi Ganesalingam is a finance professional and entrepreneur spanning 30 years. He currently serves the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as Vice President of the Global Growth Acceleration Division, empowering tech companies to rapidly expand and soar globally.