If there’s one thing that businesses across the world have had to adjust to in the last 8 months then it’s uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies across the world, upending markets, destroying livelihoods and leaving many businesses questioning whether they’ll even see it to the end of 2020.
But with disruption, comes opportunity. Many businesses are starting to examine ways that they can improve their resilience in the coming months.
If you’re doing that at the moment, we can help. We’ve examined some of the most effective ways that you can future proof your for a post-COVID-19 world.
1. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Knowledge is power as the old saying goes. That holds true when it comes to the world of business. The more information you have – whether it’s about your own business efficiency, your market or your competitors, the more of an advantage you have. With knowledge comes the potential for making informed decisions.
One of the easiest ways to future-proof your business for a post-COVID world is to carry out a SWOT analysis. This will help you to gain an understanding of the position of your business in your sector at the moment: allowing you to examine things like your advantages and limitations, along with areas you could expand into and possible challenges that could be on the horizon.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s a fairly simple type of analysis to carry out: you just need to take each heading, think about it in the context of your business and write bullet point notes for each.
2. Analyse your competitors
The pandemic has upended many markets and the fortunes of many organisations have been completely reversed in a matter of months.
Whilst one particular competitor might have dominated the sector at the start of the year, you could find that they’re now struggling to stay afloat as the economic impacts of COVID-19 begin to bite.
That means that carrying out a new analysis of your competitors could help you to identify potential areas of growth that didn’t exist a few short months ago.
There are a variety of approaches that you could take. A simple SWOT analysis like the one we mentioned above is a great way to get a quick understanding of the new situation in your industry.
3. Cashflow, cashflow, cashflow
Achieving reliable cashflow is integral to the health of a business at the best of times, but in the aftermath of an unprecedented pandemic and a looming recession, taking steps to secure it, and understand it, is absolutely essential.
Paying attention to your monthly outgoings, like rent, council tax, loan payments, overdraft and interest payments, along with incoming cash, will help you to keep a good track of the financial health of your business.
Put simply, if you understand how money moves into and out of your business, you’ll understand how you can respond to economic shocks effectively. It will ultimately improve the financial resilience of your business and increase your chances of being able to respond to economic shocks – a trait that’s essential when it comes to weathering an economic slump.
4. Stay calm and don’t panic
This sounds obvious but it’s a really important thing to bear in mind when future-proofing a business – keep a cool head and don’t panic.
In uncertain times, panic is not your friend. Yes, stress can sometimes help you complete tasks under pressure, but in terms of helping you make sound decisions that could affect the entire future of your enterprise, it can be a double-edged sword.
Why is it bad? Well, stress can cloud our decisions. It can contribute to poor decision-making, ultimately affecting the health of our businesses.
In an uncertain time, like a pandemic, you need to be able to view a situation objectively and clearly. Put simply, you need to be able to interpret the pros and cons of a situation and to think and act strategically. Staying calm and not letting stress or panic influence your actions will help you to do that.
5. Save as much as you can
The middle of a pandemic might seem like an odd time to start saving as much money as you can but developing a good savings habit now will definitely help you cope with any unforeseen economic situations going forward.
Look at your finances and see if there’s any places that you can make some savings. Could you get better broadband from a cheaper supplier? Is your landlord willing to negotiate a rent holiday? Could you buy a slightly cheaper brand of toilet paper for the office?
Whether it’s a big or a small decision, you’ll be able to make some kind of saving.
Ideally, you’ll want to have at least 3 months’ worth of savings in your account so that you can withstand most financial shocks. In the current circumstances, weaving a more substantial safety net might be a good idea – none of us really know what the future holds after all.
We’ve given you some tips to help you future-proof your business post-COVID-19. All you need to do now is put them into practice.
Author Bio: Christopher Fear is a writer at ICS Learn, the UK’s leading online learning provider of professional qualifications in HR, finance, and more.