The world didn’t expect a global pandemic, especially one as frightening as COVID-19. The tragic loss of life has no price, but the impact on businesses has also been devastating.
Now more than ever, it’s essential that businesses safeguard against future crises — setting the groundwork for reimagined and resilient business models.
Here’s why your business needs to start preparing for the next global crisis now, and how you can do it.
Why Your Business Needs to Prepare for Another Global Crisis Now
More than 163,000 businesses in the United States have closed amidst the 2020 global crisis, and only 40% are expected to re-open. Companies that survive will be in the minority, and they will likely be facing the next Global Depression.
These stark numbers have taught us that no business is safe when it comes to a global health crisis. What’s more, the challenges created by such a monumental event are very likely to be fatal if your business isn’t prepare.
Modern businesses will have to internalize the ancient proverb that we all know too well — expect the unexpected. But all that expectating won’t go anywhere unless businesses take action.
10 Ways Your Business Can Prepare for the Next Global Crisis
So now is the time to fortify your business in any way that you can. Here’s how you can do it with another worldwide crisis in mind.
Rethink Your Business Model
If there was ever a time to make drastic changes, this is it. In a report that outlines “5 priorities to drive organizational resilience and responsiveness in a post-COVID-19 world,” management consulting company Avanade, urges us all to rethink our businesses.
A fierce economic downturn is also an opportunity to reflect seriously on what’s working and what isn’t — “to build momentum around what matters, and stop everything else.” If you were already thinking about pivoting, expanding, or completely transforming your company, now might be the perfect time.
While this may be harder for brick-and-morter businesses, there’s always room for making digital strides. COVID-19 forced customers, employees, and supply chains into digital channels, and there are a whole myriad of other crises that could do the same.
So digitizing wherever you can will certainly safeguard your business in a significant way. Whether you expand your digital marketing strategy or put systems in place that will more smoothly enable remote working — going digital could be key to the survival of your business in another global crisis.
Invest in Your Future
Spending might seem daunting right now — because chances are your business is still struggling or recovering from the current global crisis. But investing in your company’s future is more critical than ever.
Invest in new leadership talent or new systems. Invest in cultivating the skills of your current employees or your human resources platform. If you think that it will help you weather a crisis in the future — it’s worth it.
Be More Customer-Centric
If you want to make sure that your business is ready for whatever comes next, you’ll need to ensure that it is authentically customer-centric. In the age of the experience economy, loyal customers can keep you afloat, but unhappy customers can help destroy you.
The modern customer has more power than ever. And as they continue to turn more and more to social media to voice their wants and needs, businesses need to learn to listen. Now is the time to make sure you have robust customer care and operations to keep your customers happy.
Use Tech to Enhance Your Business, Not to Replace People
The World Economic Forum, has urged businesses to “use tech to augment, not replace people.” This is an essential lesson to remember as you go digital and build a customer-centric model.
New technologies such as AI, automation, and digital meeting spaces will certainly need to increase drastically in a crisis-resilient company — but you never want to lose your human element.
Prepare for Government Reform
Some have argued that the “last global crisis didn’t change the world, but this one can.” And while no one is expecting the deeply engrained capitalistic values of the United States to disappear — it’s true that in 2020 we saw the state step in in ways that we have never seen before.
In any global crisis, state intervention will likely be necessary. Companies should prepare for this trend to continue in the future — and they should be aware of how short and long-term nationalization of certain markets will affect them. They should also prepare for the rapid acceleration toward e-government.
Strengthen Employee Communication Channels
We know that one of the greatest challenges in times of crisis is fear. So if you’re leaving your employees in the dark, it’s almost certain to make everything worse.
Now is the time to ensure that you have established processes and systems in place for businesses leaders to communicate with their employees about these serious issues. Take the time to cultivate a company culture of transparency and smooth channels of communication.
Make Versatility and Adaptability Standard
This is certainly the least tangible piece of advice on our list, but it’s one of the most important. Everyone should be aware of how mindset can affect your business.
We’re not talking about the classic survival versus abundance mindset here. But it’s important to note that stubbornness does not prevail in times of turmoil. Business owners will need to learn to embrace versatility and an open mind and impart this growth mindset to their employees.
Regularly Re-assess Risk
A company that is constantly adapting to its environment and thriving in the midst of a global crisis will also need to constantly re-assess risk as they adjust to their new circumstances.
One example of increased risk amongst COVID resilient businesses is cybersecurity. With more and more companies successfully using tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to facilitate employee collaboration, they may now have increased cyber security issues. It’s important to holistically asses risk, crisis or not.
Create a Crisis Management Team
Larger or even mid-sized companies who want to prioritize global risk analysis and crisis management, are going to need to bring in some additional help.
“Crisis leader” may be a title you want to become familiar with. These types of professionals can help your business boost crisis readiness and ensure that it will survive the next global crisis.
Every Business Should Prioritize Boosting Crisis Preparedness
Depending on their location, school children everywhere learn to appreciate the odd fire, tornado, or earthquake drill. And while there are no guarantees that these sorts of drills and emergency exit plans will succeed, they are certain to save lives and mitigate damage.
Nothing can truly prepare us for the potentially tragic and life-altering results of a global crisis, especially if it has the same level of impact as COVID-19. But global crisis management can go a long way.
If you make use of these strategies in your business, you’ll be able to rest easier knowing that you have done all that you can to safeguard your business from another global crisis.
In such dark times, we know it can be disheartening to hear about so many companies going under. So we want to hear your success stories. Tell us how your business survived the last global crisis. What valuable lessons did you learn? And what are your plans to help get your company through the next one?