Beyond Survival

As we ease towards a resumption of the so-called ‘new normal’ it’s going to be crucial for organisations to be pro-active and prepare for a different environment. The world is starting to come back to life, but there is still a huge amount of uncertainty about what this ‘new normal’ looks like. What do customers want? What money is available? What will be the expectations of businesses as they emerge from lockdown and the fight against Covid-19 continues?

Economies will bounce back but the timeframe and degree of change still remains unclear. Amongst all businesses there will be a need to drive revenue quickly. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ and the new, post-Covid environment may have totally changed the landscape for many organisations. What were core strengths a few months ago could now be fundamental weaknesses as seen with AirBnB. The reverse can also be the case – when what was previously seen as a perceived weakness has become a key strength.

The AirBnB business model has been cruelly exposed with bookings ‘falling off a cliff’ and its inability to change tack.

Consumer behaviour is unpredictable and it’s not homogenous, so previous assumptions cannot be taken for granted. During the peak of the crisis the natural instinct has been to gravitate to more basic requirements of food, health, safety, well-being and security but how much of this will be engrained and stick remains to be seen.

Consumers are likely to seek tangible evidence that business is changing and brands are responding. While financial performance will still be desired, there will be increased expectations that business will contribute more to society, share their success more widely and follow more sustainable strategies.

Society will push for change – and some of the trends that were already on the horizon with the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution may be accelerated.

Different sectors and markets will be affected in different ways, but it’s a time to move forward with focus, speed and agility.

However, all this requires an understanding of what issues and challenges will need to be tackled to plan what is next or new for your business. There may still be a lot of unanswered questions but starting with what you can control will drive a degree of clarity as the start point of the business’s forward planning momentum. Understanding the current position – using any number of established analysis tools to do this – is critical. This is not an academic exercise but a reality check.

There is a lot to navigate through, but we see it as helpful to cluster the issues and challenges into four forward-focused priorities– otherwise there is a risk of over-thinking or diving into action and going down the wrong path. Taking a balanced approach to strategic thinking and decisive action will be essential for navigating the coming months. We see four areas where organisations can focus to start answering these questions:

By this means, the business will better understand the current context and direct action to where it is most impactful.  Embracing this requires a level of strategic thinking and decisive action. Success will depend on getting that balance right and the emphasis of each will be different for different businesses and shift over time.

Authors: Lucy Unger & Alex Frisby

Lucy Unger is our Associate Director in London and a member of our UK lead team. Alex Frisby is Associate Director at SaturnFive Vancouver and leads our operations in Canada. 

SaturnFive® Consulting works with organisations to develop and implement their strategy so that they are well placed to exploit the benefits of a changing marketplace in a fast moving world. If you would like to know more about SaturnFive’s strategic services call us:

UK +44 (0) 1865-950799   Canada +1 778-358-5202   South Africa +27 (82) 320-3540

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