It’s been over a year since the World Health Organisation first declared COVID19 a global pandemic. Its effects will cast a long shadow over global business for months, if not years, to come. So, how do you expand your business despite the ongoing pandemic?
It’s a question most companies are grappling with as plans turn from survival to growth and renewal.
Regardless of your business size or sector, there are 4 steps that you can take right now to develop your business:
1. Review where you are today
Whilst it’s true that there’s still a great deal of uncertainty as to how the post-pandemic world will operate, we already know that some changes are likely to be permanent.
For example, business agility, digital transformation, and flexible working.
These 3 trends are continuing to gather pace. Moreover, they’re fundamentally changing the way organisations are structured.
Customer needs have shifted too. Whether it’s sales or service, consumers are choosing to interact differently with companies.
Technology is enabling and accelerating these changes, bringing with them disruption and opportunity.
This upheaval forces you to take stock of your current position, your existing capabilities, and the way you do business.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”Albert Einstein
2. Address your business blockers
Having recognised what has already changed in customer behaviour and market dynamics, you need to look at your ability to adapt to the disruption and innovation that’s all around you.
Most importantly, what are your business blockers?
That is, those areas that are now holding you back.
These could be:
- Digital capability
- Technology gaps
- Lack of adaptability
- Data analytics / market insight
- Talent acquisition / development
Whatever the obstacles to your business growth you must find ways of overcoming them.
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”Michael Jordan
Plugging gaps in your in-house capabilities might mean that you need to hire new talent, bring in temporary and external expertise such as consultants and interims or even acquire new businesses entirely.
Clearly, this pandemic demands that you look beyond the capabilities and resources of your own company to expand your business.
Partnering with other organisations expands knowledge and pools resources to increase scale, speed, and market reach.
3. Expand through new business development
“I skate to where the puck is going, not where it’s been”Wayne Gretzky
This is a familiar quotation. Hopefully, it forces you to think about how your current markets are evolving and most importantly, what new business you should be developing.
According to McKinsey business building is the new priority for over half of companies polled in August 2020.
This is hardly surprising as crises such as the global pandemic force organisations to focus on new business models, new products, and new services.
If you want to expand your business, you must embrace innovation. You have to be brave and bring something new to your target markets.
In today’s fast evolving world your new product, new service or new distribution channel may require a new set of capabilities, a new team, or even a new technology.
Obviously, innovation and speed imply risk. However, as Mark Zuckerberg famously said over a decade ago.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”Mark Zuckerberg
4. Manage risk as you expand your business
As you expand your business during the ongoing pandemic, you can mitigate risk by understanding the right markets to play in. These are likely already growing due to technology advancements and developing ecosystems.
Having targeted the correct markets, you should adopt a lean business development strategy.
It’s important to put in place an agile structure to support your business expansion. This helps you to get your MVPs right, and test and learn what success looks like in today’s operating environment.
Combining this agile approach with strong governance, executive sponsorship and adequate funding enable you to back the winning products, services, and delivery mechanisms to break into new markets and grow your business.
The global pandemic has hit economies hard. In the UK alone, business output plunged 10% in 2020.
In spite of this, some companies continued to grow, buoyed by an agile approach to business and digital transformation.
Now the vaccine roll-out is gathering pace, and economies are set to grow again as lockdown eases and pent-up demand is released.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, you can expand your business by embracing the changes that COVID has brought, remodelling your ways of working, and bring to market new products, services, and delivery systems to meet evolving customer needs.
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