The Way Forward: Building for Business Resilience
The year 2020 has been a leap year like no other! The Corona Virus came upon us and swept the world. Businesses all over were caught unprepared. Now business as we know it will never be the same again. But on average, let’s look at how we, as business people, responded to the pandemic.
First: We focused on surviving today
Next: We began to coexist with the pandemic, adopting new ways of working and identifying new opportunities.
Now: We are faced with the challenge of adapting to the new normal in our professions, businesses, and work roles, as well as how to re-apply digitisation (a key factor in the process).
We need to BUILD RESILIENT BUSINESSES.
In today’s globalised and rapidly changing world, one of the most important skills that entrepreneurs, businesses and their teams can learn is how to build resilience. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. In the context of the business world, it is seen as an ability to adapt to an uncertain business landscape. As a resilient business, you are better prepared for the natural disasters, economic crisis, and global health pandemics that may put your business, clients and supply chains at risk, as well as the technological and social advances that may make your products & services obsolete. Just look at what ride-sharing companies like Uber have done to the taxi industry. Or what online streaming services like Netflix have done to the film industry.
How Resilience Works
What makes a business resilient? Rather than operating from a place of fear and reacting to challenges as they happen, a resilient business has a clear plan in place and is better able to meet these uncertain and ever-changing times head-on with confidence and a growth mindset. These resilient businesses are prepared for multiple worst-case scenarios and actively look for opportunities to take advantage of these changes and challenges to better serve their customers. There are 3 key characteristics of resilient businesses. They are:-
- An ability to understand and accept reality.
While optimism may appear to be an indicator of resilience, blind optimism can actually foster denial. Accepting reality allows us as individuals and businesses to be prepared.
- An ability to see or believe that a particular challenge has a silver lining.
This belief often comes from a strong value system that helps the business have a purpose beyond making money.
- An ability to improvise.
To be faced with an obstacle and innovate a way around or through it.
Finding Your Silver Lining
If the current crisis has left your business without work, there will no doubt be stress and anxiety about how you will keep the business going. Survival is the number one priority in these circumstances and all of your energy will be directed at ensuring that you and your staff have a sense of security.
However, if the business has simply slowed down and you find, as the business owner, that you have more time on your hands, consider taking advantage of that time to:
- Reflect on how your business has evolved.
Is the evolution still in line with your vision, mission and values as an organisation? Reflect and prioritise those parts of your business that
align with your vision, purpose, and values.
- Develop your own skills and that of your staff.
Identify opportunities for personal growth and the development of key skills for your staff. Take online courses.
- Apply for funding.
The Federal Government and the CBN have launched a number of intervention funds, some of which are in the form of grants such as the MSME Survival Fund.
- Brainstorm & develop new products or services.
This is a great time for research and development. Some businesses repurposed their factories to produce PPE. Transport companies went into the delivery business covering the last mile (business to home). Restaurants began door to door services etc.
- Develop new resources or tackle projects you have had on the backburner.
Contact customers, you have not heard from in a while. Reach out to your existing and loyal customers to find out how they are doing. Show that you care about them.
We need to become more resilient. We must up-skill and re-skill to be relevant in the new normal. As business people, we must scale up innovation. Covid 19 has shown us the importance of creativity and thinking outside the box.
If your business is operating in the informal sector, please do not hesitate to formalise it as quickly as you can. The Federal Government under the MSME Survival fund is offering grants to assist 250,000 businesses in registering their business. Formalisation will enable you to leverage opportunities that exist and have been created because of the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on business.
Businesses must make use of digital infrastructure and harness its benefits effectively. The increased use of digital tools and infrastructure will enable businesses to grow the distribution of their goods and services. Today more than ever, connectivity is key. Through access to the internet, data infrastructure, payment platforms and interoperable systems, your ability as a business to develop resilience and grow is sustained.
LET US BUILD BACK AND BUILD BETTER.
[^1]: Extracts from the Ygap Resiliency ToolKit 2020