OK, so we're into our eighth week of lockdown, thanks to the Coronavirus. Many businesses will still be reeling from the effects and just trying to stay financially viable. However, whilst we’ve not reached the end of Covid19, we’re probably nearing the end of the first phase of this awful pandemic.
Which means that any business which is still solvent should really be looking to the future. The bad news is that whilst we don’t have an exact idea what this holds for us, we do know that Coronavirus is not the only major threat facing us.
- At the end of the year we’re due to be agreeing a trade deal with the EU so any company looking to do business with European customers of suppliers needs to be gearing up for this post EU landscape.
- Next up we have climate change to contend with. Lockdown has illustrated how nature can quickly reassert itself in the absence of humans and will undoubtedly accelerate thinking around limiting carbon emissions, travel and use of resources. All of these will have an impact on Government policy whilst companies will have to get use to the deleterious effects that more extreme weather brings.
- Then we have to contend with the effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which looks set to wipe out millions of jobs and scores of industries. Simply put, any activity which involves binary decision-making can now be programmed, placing it under threat. Soldiers, accountants, solicitors, retail assistants, GPs, pharmacists and even teachers could all see their industries changed radically as algorithms increasingly take over. We’ll also be soon be looking at the rise of (mostly) electric autonomous vehicles – cars, lorries, coaches – which will have a dramatic impact not only on our individual freedoms but also the physical environment.
All of which means that no single organisation can rest on its laurels and assume the future is (a) assured and (b) neatly mapped out. We’re potentially entering one of the most turbulent periods in modern history and we need to be thinking strategically, rather than just short-term.
The good news is that during this enforced period of inactivity (well for many businesses), we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to plan properly for this uncertain future and put together resilient business plans complete with realistic risk registers, an information management section and of course an inclusive communications strategy.
We’re quickly entering a world where virtual interaction is becoming almost as common-place as physical interaction – particularly for the billions of people under 35 who are digital natives. This means that organisations will have to align their communications in order to sustain their brand, sell, grow their market share, recruit etc.
Therefore, whilst we aren’t concentrating on the day-to-day running of our businesses, there is so much we can do during lockdown – it’s the equivalent of having to clean your house over a cold, wet weekend in January!
Take a forensic look into the performance of your business. Ideally involve business colleagues, accountants or bookkeepers. What is working and what isn’t? Who exactly are your various stakeholder audiences? What is the long-term viability of your organisation, given the challenges I listed above?
Think about the value of the human capital within your business. How open are you and your colleagues to change? How willing are you to listen to new ideas? How geared up is your workforce to deal with modern-day challenges and a rapidly changing marketplace? Are there employees with hidden talents you could make use of? Who are the brand ambassadors inside and outside the business?
Does the content you create meet the needs of your various stakeholder audiences? Do you have enough to supply all your various digital and traditional communications channels? Is it really engaging enough for the millions of digital natives who eschew plain old written content?
As an organisation, how well do you engage with your various stakeholder audiences? Do you have a network of brand ambassadors? Do you have a socially-enabled senior leadership team and Board? What is your LinkedIn strategy?
Review your current audiences and see how well you are reaching the different stakeholder groups. Is now the time either to invest in digital advertising or should you review the performance of your current ads? What is the ROI you’re getting from sales and marketing? Could/should you be reallocating spend? Should you be investing in paid for services on LinkedIn?
Now should be the ideal time to get on top of your data. How secure are your various sites and hardware? Are you on top of GDPR? Are you able to handle the vast amounts of data generated internally as well as analyse the data created externally? Have you got an adequate information management document?
Remember, that although the world may look pretty bleak and the future is uncertain we owe it to our staff, suppliers, families, investors and of course customers to have a proper plan in place.
And if you need help in putting together such a plan, we at DNAsix will be happy to guide you. Just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07715 485728.
Stay safe and stay positive!