FOCUS ON LONG TERM STABILITY
As social restrictions ease across most of Australia, business owners are preparing to trade in the new normal. ‘Business as usual’ is unlikely to reflect pre-COVID-19 operations any time soon in many sectors, and even those outside the worst hit industries will experience the persistent effects of the recession. In some industries, many businesses suffered few direct impacts and may be expecting they will come through the global economic fallout unscathed. In contrast, the crippling effects of social restrictions and prolonged presence of COVID-19 on the hospitality, tourism and entertainment sectors will leave lasting scars. All business owners need to recognise the imperative for decisive recovery action and resilience planning strategies to equip them for the immediate and medium-term future.
Prepare for stability in the long term
It is important to reflect on what has worked during the crisis and what opportunities for innovation have been missed. There is no foreseeable endpoint to the crisis globally, and relative local respite is a golden opportunity for Australian businesses to re-evaluate and reposition themselves for the new normal. The examples of breweries and distilleries producing hand sanitisers, fashion brands producing face masks and automakers producing ventilators highlight their adaptability and responsiveness to need in the crisis. SMEs need to develop these qualities in a world where borders may remain impermeable and economic growth struggles to propagate.
Return to your pre-COVID business plan and examine it to identify components that have changed significantly and need to be altered. This is where a well-considered business plan reflects its worth: like using a road map, you can pinpoint where you departed your intended route and work out a detour to your destination. The destination also may have changed e.g. retirement in the next five years is no longer an option. In this case you will need to develop a new long-term strategy. Consultation with external advisors will give you a broader view of your situation. Your existing business plan will provide a foundation for your updated plan. Whatever your destination, business growth is necessary to withstand future shocks.
Resilience and succession planning are also vital to future business continuity. Identifying critical business functions, and how to manage different risk scenarios that could impede them, will provide a good starting point for adaptation when required. A plan to develop agility and the ability to respond quickly to unusual circumstances should be integral to your business plan. An example is maintaining up-to-date figures to allow faster decision-making in times of crisis. Succession planning for yourself, your family (if a family-owned business) and your employees will also help to safeguard business continuity in future unforeseen circumstances.
The AAA Consulting Team has the experience and expertise you can trust to help.