4 Important Business Strategies for a Successful Covid-19 Exit
10 September 2021
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses around the world. For some industries, survival has meant changing their business model while other industries have found themselves operating in incredibly uncertain markets. Not all businesses have been lucky enough to survive, but for those who have weathered the storm, the success of global vaccine rollouts and the cautious lifting of global restrictions means there is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.
For many businesses, the post-pandemic world will be a very different place from the one they knew before Covid-19 struck. Effective short-term and long-term planning is going to be more crucial than ever.
To help businesses position themselves for a bright future, here are 4 important business strategies for a successful Covid-exit.
1. Invest in digital technology
The right technological investments have been a crucial factor in a business’s success since long before the outbreak of the pandemic, but the reliance on certain technologies has dramatically increased over the last two years. As businesses were forced to close their offices, more and more people transitioned to remote working, and the technologies which facilitate remote and hybrid workplaces are going to be incredibly important in the coming years.
Communication software such as Slack or Teams enables businesses to coordinate their remote and in-office teams and also provides a secure platform for employees, partners, and customers to communicate. Video conferencing software has been vital for both businesses and families to connect during the pandemic, and this is perhaps best highlighted by the incredible rise in Zoom’s stock price.
Businesses will also need to look at ways to automate more of their processes in order to reduce the number of employees needed in the office. For example, AI chatbots can be implemented on websites and social media pages to respond to customers, and invoicing software can be used to reduce the need for a traditional accounts department, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.
2. Fill tech talent gaps
The right tech talent is hard to find in any market condition, but particularly so during a pandemic when competition for skilled workers can lead to bidding wars. However, with the need for the kind of technological investment outlined above, filling any tech talent gaps is going to be vital for businesses to compete post-pandemic. The need for C-level experience in tech and IT operations will mean that competition for hiring the best candidates will be fierce so businesses will need to be savvy when it comes to recruitment.
One strategy is for businesses to outsource the running of their tech and IT departments. Experienced CIOs and CTOs can be brought in on a part-time basis to audit these departments, restructure operations, and even help to recruit and train their own long-term replacements. This can even provide businesses with the opportunity to hire new employees (or earmark current ones) who aren’t 100% ready to take over yet. They can then learn from the outsourced expert and take over the reins once everything is in place for a successful Covid-exit.
In terms of recruitment further down the ladder, there are various strategies for hiring talented individuals to fill long-term positions. Businesses may want to consider hiring “off the market” as there are many talented people not on a job board, but who can be easily identified if business owners and managers know their industry’s networks. With so many businesses forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic, there is some serious talent out there just waiting to be snapped up.
At Bailey and Associates, we provide top CIOs and CTOs for your business either part-time or on-demand. Schedule a call today to find out how our IT leaders can help accelerate your business growth with a powerful IT strategy.
3. Innovation through experimentation
Another important strategy for a successful Covid-19 exit is being willing to experiment with new ideas. The key to this is a business’s ability to pivot when necessary to keep moving forward while being agile enough to be able to change direction quickly if an idea doesn’t work out.
Many of the small businesses that were able to retain or improve their market position during the pandemic were similar in a few key aspects of innovation and strategic experimentation:
- They embraced technology, and where necessary, totally changed the delivery of their product or services.
Two obvious examples of this are contactless meal delivery services and fitness instructors offering classes via social media and conferencing software. The businesses which were quickly able to identify the technological solution to the problems caused by Covid-19 were those that were most successful, and this trend will continue as the world emerges from the pandemic.
- They formed new strategic partnerships which facilitated the changes in their business model or operations.
This was particularly innovative when businesses from two different industries collaborated to solve similar or different problems that they were encountering. For example, healthcare providers teamed up with software developers to provide telehealth services for people who were unable or too afraid to go into the hospital.
As the old saying goes, if you stand still, you go backward. Businesses that are able to innovate through (sensible) experimentation will be those that thrive in the future.
4. Strategic flexibility / Scenario-based planning
In “normal” times, most businesses were able to plan their strategies on an annual basis with certain provisions being put in place based on any scenarios that were likely to arise. Experience at decision-making levels meant that in the unlikely event something really unexpected occurred, the strategy could be adapted to deal with it.
What became clear very quickly during the pandemic, however, was that strategies needed to be far more fluid, and that understanding the multitude of potentially devastating scenarios that could arise was key to surviving them. There were dramatic shifts in the way that some businesses approached their operations, and in times when competitors are particularly uncertain, action is a whole lot more appealing to customers, partners, and investors than inaction.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, the business landscape will hopefully become more stable, but businesses still need to expect the unexpected and develop a flexible strategy that plans for potential obstacles instead of reacting to them.
As we approach the Covid-19 exit ramp, the hope for businesses around the world is that things can return to something resembling normality sooner rather than later. However, until that new normal has been established (and long afterward, too) businesses must remain highly adaptable in order to deal with the continued uncertainty.
Embracing technology, experimenting with different aspects of operations, and recruiting expert leadership to devise future strategies will give businesses the best chance of success in the post-pandemic world, no matter what obstacles they may encounter.
- If you would like to hire a top CIO or CTO on a part-time or on-demand basis, get in touch here, or give us a call on 0333 060 4932.
- Discover more about our outsourced IT leadership services here.
- Want to learn about why hiring a part-time IT leader may be the best strategic decision for your business? Check out this article.