COVID-19 has forced the business world to change. Of course, a global pandemic is a major tragedy worldwide, but has this disruption also brought about some positive changes and opportunities?
What have we learnt?
New working conditions have forced small businesses to look for new ways to survive. Many entrepreneurs have moved to a working from home (WFH) model, and may be prioritising time with family and friends more strongly.
However, industries have been experiencing the pressures of COVID-19 unequally. Many small business owners have cut costs by reducing staff over the last year and a half.
Reducing people means that many small business owners found themselves caught up in the day-to-day grind, shifting focus from strategy to operations, living a life of reaction, and putting fires out every day. For many, this felt chaotic, but it also meant learning to become more resourceful and practicing better time management.
However, the increased stress experienced by small business owners and remaining staff has caused health concerns, in particular those related to mental health.
Another noteworthy issue is that product-based industries reliant on Chinese suppliers have had to work around long shipping delays. Some suppliers have turned to local industries to meet their needs, which may be a boon for local economies and job markets.
What does this all mean for small businesses towards 2025?
As a consequence of the pandemic, the business world is rethinking key processes and core beliefs. Having already gone through the process of adopting new systems and practices, a new way of business is here to stay. The implications of remote working will remain in place,
forcing businesses to consider flexibility in the workplace, bearing in mind the increased importance of life/work integration. You’ll need to promote a workplace that prioritises team member’s individual needs.
Moreover, the pandemic has shown Australians just how important small businesses really are. Customers are now more likely to support local businesses wherever they can. This is a great opportunity, and as a small business owner you’ll need to maintain impeccable standards of service and quality under increased pressure whilst delivering value for money, in order to meet your customer’s demand.
Old ways of doing business may simply not cut it by 2025.
Additionally, in order to employ and retain the talent who can deliver this quality and value, businesses will need to demonstrate effective leadership. Leadership teams will need to maintain a rock-solid sense of calm whilst driving the key strategic priorities to execution. In people management terms, you’ll need to demonstrate a sense of purpose and vision, while providing clarity in distributing roles and support to the team in fulfilling responsibilities so that your team can fulfil their responsibilities.
Modern businesses have shifted their focus towards a tailored approach, noticing a growing trend towards providing ‘done-for-you’ services. This is when customers turn to external businesses to solve their problems for them. In this competitive environment, innovation will play a key role, and the businesses who offer products and services, or who are prepared to solve real problems in an efficient and cost-effective way, will thrive. A business is a machine with lots of moving parts, and it has to adapt to the market’s needs very quickly. Adaptable businesses who are not afraid to pivot will succeed in this new business environment.
Understanding, knowing and measuring the key drivers that run the business will be imperative to making informed decisions and driving performance. The business owners need to know the key drivers at all levels from total business down to individuals within it, and they need to know the lead measures and activities for each of the key drivers that determine performance results.
The 7 Shifts Business Owners Need to Make to Thrive In 2025
Aligned with the implications of the new market conditions, business owners will need to focus on the following key aspects of doing business:
- Be purpose-driven. You will need to have a clear understanding of your business’s purpose and have a clear, long-term vision. This will ensure that you make a strong impact on the way customers and clients see your business.
- Make sure you have the right people, on the right seats, doing the right thing at the
- right time. Hiring high-quality talent in your business, and allocating them to appropriate tasks will help your business thrive.
- Identify, prioritise and execute on your key strategic initiatives. Knowing where you are headed is essential to get you there.
- Know the key drivers that run your business. This will help you make informed decisions and drive performance
- Measure key metrics to know if you’re winning and be prepared to adapt if they’re telling you otherwise. Make sure you know where and how you source and capture this key data. Be sure to present your data appropriately.
- Document and train on your core business processes. Where possible, automate, because having clear and documented processes will help you optimise both your time-management and the quality of your work. Automation can free up valuable hours each day.
- Be prepared to collaborate with others who align and share in your purpose and vision. Having a community is an essential part of doing business. Collaborating with professionals who are facing the same challenges will help you reach a better understanding and find a more suitable solution.
And above all else, an 8th shift to implement in every business: be a business for good.
You are responsible for so many stakeholders including yourself, your family, your employees, your employees’ families, and your wider community. Put less emphasis on profit, and more on people’s well-being. Profits will follow.
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“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."