The habits created during the first wave of the pandemic could help your business during a second wave.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that even in volatile times, it’s possible to maintain business continuity, boost your competitive position and, for some, even grow.
And while most businesses had to adapt on the fly earlier this year, this time around you can turn to the good habits you adopted and lessons learned during the first wave to get your business through the second wave.
Keep these five areas of your business in sharp focus as you navigate this ever-changing business environment.
1. Prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers
Many companies introduced ad-hoc safety measures in response to the first wave of the pandemic. These new security measures are even more important for a second wave.
2. Assess sales and operations plans to secure cash flow
The second wave will likely have important effects on customer demand and supplier availability may change. Keep a close eye on customer needs so you can quickly scale operations up or down, depending on market requirements.
Your sales and operations teams need to work together. Hold daily meetings to assess performance, forecast demand and avoid overproduction. These meetings can be short check-ins that help you stay on-track and adjust quickly.
3. Get a handle on your working capital
If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to get a handle on your working capital, money you need to maintain day-to-day operations.
In normal times, there is a continuous flow of cash coming in from receivables, as payments flow out to suppliers for materials and inventory. This allows you to replenish inventory on a continuous basis to support sales. In disruptive times, however, that flow could suddenly be stopped or slowed.
Although you may have taken on new debt to replenish stocks or rebuild working capital, now is not the time to overextend. Instead, think about how to create a comfortable “cash cushion” that can help you weather a second shutdown.
4. Embrace digital technology and e-commerce
Businesses that invest in digital technology are more productive and typically see accelerated revenue and profit growth. The pandemic has furthered this trend as customers flocked to online stores and service providers during the shutdown. Increasingly, people expect to conduct business online.
Embracing digital technology will not only help you weather the second wave, it will also help you remain competitive in the long term.
Going digital doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a solid foundation. From there, you can build complexities into your digital strategy over time.
5. Stay agile and adapt your strategic plan
It’s clear volatility is here to stay until a safe and efficient vaccine is rolled out. To help navigate the uncertainty, review your strategic plan with a special focus on various scenarios and risk assessments.