This unprecedented time has left businesses around the globe in a state of confusion — making the new financial year difficult and different to navigate. Starting the new financial year in this current state demands new ways of doing business, communicating with customers more than ever, being acutely aware of remote workplace culture; and if a business is unable to pivot to meet challenges, there is a chance of no longer being around for the next fiscal year.
In this article, we enumerate the best practices for operating a business in the new normal or in the “New Business-As-Usual” as in the current state to make it easier and safer for both your team and your customers (including potential ones) to do business with you as you recover to make business thrive once more.
Adapt & Pivot
Not all business ways would not be applicable in recovering and operating in the new normal, but one constant factor is your customer. Everything about recovering should be centered around how you can add value to your customers by improving your products/services; making it more accessible and relevant.
Here are a few questions you can ponder on when thinking about how to adapt to the new norm and pivot your business towards it:
How can you adapt your offering to be more accessible or relevant? Can your services, or parts, be moved online? Can you add or engage a delivery service?
Has your target market changed? What are their needs at this time? How are they consuming products/services?
What are your customers’ new expectations? How will your products/services be able to meet those expectations?
How can you reach more people and identify opportunities? What are the digital channels you can use that are relevant to your market?
Cash is King
The sad reality is that not all small businesses will stay operational, and for those that do, it is essential more than ever to get a glimpse of cash flow health. Looking into your cash flow will help you get an idea where your business stands today and where it can go. In the same way, you may also want to start collecting from debtors too to let you see real numbers.
Consider the following action steps when figuring out your cash flow:
Look at cash flow and identify opportunities to cut/reduce costs.
Look into existing supplier contracts to identify opportunities to renegotiate terms, shop around for a better/more competitive deal — reduce risk to exposure from long, costly contracts that will stifle your business.
Look at your cash flow management pre-COVID. How do you think it can be restructured to fit the new norm?
Look at your processes and systems to identify efficiency gaps. Remove unnecessary steps and costs. The following are the best things you can do:
Make technology work for you
Technology is your ally so make it work for you! This crisis made it clear that technology is the safest and easiest way to do business both for your internal team and your customers. Each department can and should take advantage of the efficiency that tech offers in processes from human resources to sales to account management.
Additionally, and because of the call for a more flexible working arrangement in almost every industry, technology enables and empowers each team member to keep being productive anywhere they may be in the world. The hammerjack team across Australia and the Philippines was able to pivot quickly and keep operations business as usual because of that technology; particularly Microsoft. Having technology embedded in every part of our business resulted to very minimal impact to service delivery.
Caring about Culture
Keeping everyone on the same page has proven to be one of the most challenging issues even for those working full-time in an office, what more for remote workers. Periodical updates within teams provide members even a bird’s eye view of what the real situation is in the organisation: customers’ needs, team responsibilities, project updates, commendations, etc. Great if you have a collaboration tool where all these updates can be posted and read real-time where files are also stored for easy access and collaboration.
Updates do not have to be limited to work-related matters; asking about a team member’s well-being is equally important especially in this time where most are isolated at home. Ask them about how their families are doing and what can the organisation do to help.
Manage your works paces in line with new guidelines
The norm pre-COVID will not work anymore; the dynamics in the workplace must adjust. Minimum health protocols must be observed: physical distancing, regular hand washing, temperature checks, sanitation of common areas, etc. But the new workplace management goes beyond the minimum health protocols. Business decision makers must also incorporate flexible working arrangements such as remote working to limit the number of people sharing spaces.
Consider rostering or rotating your workforce between home and office. This may even be a welcome initiative for your teams.
Meeting or conference rooms should also be pre-booked to avoid contact between different meeting groups and to make way for proper disinfection after every use. Common areas such as the pantry and office lobby must be cleaned thoroughly enough, while controlling the number of people in each area.
Retention, retention, retention
As much as you regularly update with your internal team, your customers (even your potential ones) should know if you are operating business as usual and if there would be changes made to the way transactions would be done. It would also be helpful to inform customers about the efforts your organisation is doing to help combat the repercussions the virus brings. You can also inform them of new protocols when coming into your shop or office. Anything that you think is useful and will add value to your customer should be well disseminated through regular touch bases, preferably at least once or twice a month.
Specifically, you should be able to share information about how to make it easier for your customers to buy your products/services. Adding value to your customers and maintaining relevance of your products/services should be on top of your priority list to recover. Ask your customers if there is anything else you can do to help them.
What the new business as usual looks like
Returning to business in the new normal demands a “New Business-As-Usual”: tech in all business aspects with safety and efficiency at the center of every process. Even though pivoting a business towards a new way of operating would be tedious, not doing it at all would be far more difficult to deal with.
If you need help improving your business for the new norm, get in touch with our experts. Be it in tech or remote specialists, we are here to help in any way we can.
We are in this together.