Six ways your business is going to do things differently post COVID-19

| April 28, 2020

It would be a big understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a ‘shock’ to business. But one’s character comes through by the way we deal with a shock and how we learn and adapt.  Business undoubtedly will be doing things differently post COVID-19, six of which are:

  1. Gig economy

Pre COVID-19 there had been a trend towards the gig economy or freelancing. There were however a number of preconceptions about gig economy workers from them not being as qualified for a role as they did not have a company behind them,  to it was a hobby until they found a ‘real job’, or they won’t be very productive as they work in their pyjamas and watch the lunchtime soap drama. With a large number of the workforce having been forced to work from home during COVID-19 the perception is changing.  Most gig workers work tirelessly, are professional and go above and beyond as this is their livelihood.  Post COVID-19 I think there will be greater acceptance of gig workers (and a far greater number of them too).  Business will be more willing to engage a gig worker and see the mutual benefit in doing so.

  1. Source locally

The global economy encountered a large shutdown with COVID-19 and as a result once readily available products and services disappeared almost overnight. Thank goodness Australia produces more food than it requires locally (and toilet paper).  Post COVID-19 businesses will be considering how to secure products and services they require locally, and this could be a small boom for local producers, manufacturers and service provides.

  1. Business continuity planning

For large corporates business continuity planning (BCP) or disaster recovery planning (DRP) have been a standard practice, and they would even have regular simulation exercises and drills.  This was more prevalent for me when I lived in New Zealand and natural disasters seem more likely.  For most small and medium sized businesses having a BRP or DRP pre COVID-19 would have seemed like a luxury and an unnecessary expense.  Post COVID-19 decision making will change and while smaller businesses may still not invest in BCPs and DRPs they will change their business decision making e.g. sourcing of supplies, staffing, IT solutions.

  1. Balance sheet and liquidity management

Most small and medium sized businesses main focus is on growing the business.  A crisis like COVID-19 highlighted that more attention needs to be on the security of the business in times of ‘shock’.  Focus has had to shift to working capital management – inventory turn, debtor days, creditor days, overheads, employee entitlements, funding levels and sources and cashflow management.  Business owners that survive through this pandemic will be more focused on their balance sheet and liquidity management, rather than just growth.

  1. Reduced reliance on physical infrastructure

Over the last decade or so there has been a great change to flexible work arrangements.  Through COVID-19 flexible work arrangements have become a necessity.  There is now a greater understanding and appreciation for flexible work arrangements.  At the same time businesses have seen what a huge expense their office and work premises are.  Reduced footprint office spaces and hot desking will become more prevalent, and the use of video conferencing, webinars and digit platforms will increase.  I have been an interested observer as I have been an early adopter of technology.  I am based in Melbourne and have a couple of clients in Brisbane – and the last time I visited them in Brisbane was August 2018.  Phone and video conferencing have been my main mode of communication with these clients.

  1. Diversification and pivoting

During the pandemic we have observed a large amount of business diversification and pivoting.  Car manufacturer making respirators, exotic mushroom farmers selling DIY home kits, businesses opening online stores, taxi drivers delivering parcels etc. Diversification is not a new concept and is a fundamental principle of sound investment strategy.  Pre COVID-19 though most businesses ‘kept to their knitting’ however post COVID-19 I think there will be a focus on diversification and dexterousness to be able to pivot.

How is your business going to do things differently post COVID-19?

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