The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings in many businesses by disrupting their daily functioning and operations. The pandemic spared no industry or sector as every business faced a unique set of challenges – managing finances, customer retention, disrupted operations, etc. In 2021, as businesses cope with the losses and disturbance caused by the pandemic, they must have a plan to grow and strengthen their capabilities.
Important focus areas
There are a few key areas that are pertinent to the functioning of any industry –
A company is only as strong as its workforce. Companies should focus on their employees’ mental, physical, emotional, and psychological well-being and promote a healthy work culture to make them resilient. Coronavirus has also allowed businesses to understand the value of upskilling their employees and training them to deal with unforeseen circumstances and crises. With many businesses moving online, employees have had to adapt and adjust to the new normal – working remotely and mediating via a screen and microphone.
The need and use of technology have been observed now more than ever. Technology now plays a role at every step of any business – from automated operations to collection of data to improving and interacting with customers to ensuring collaboration. Thus, businesses need to leverage technology to make processes more efficient and smooth. This will eventually enable companies to stay ahead of the competition, meet customer demands, improve operations, and prepare for future obstacles.
Customer needs and demands are constantly changing. Businesses need to be proactive and attend to the needs of their customers by constantly innovating and adapting to retain their customer base. By constantly engaging with customers online and offline – through social media, campaigns, on-ground engagements, etc. – businesses ensure their customers that they care about them and their needs. Prompt responses and customer feedback will enable companies to provide their customers with quality products and experiences.
Leveraging innovation to grow businesses
Innovation is an essential part of growing any business. The need for innovation in a post-COVID world is almost inevitable for companies to grow. It is, therefore, important to understand how innovation can be leveraged to grow businesses –
- Increased productivity
Innovation and technology in the business help companies to resolve problems, improve processes and operations, and ensure healthy work culture. This ultimately results in increased productivity as employees are motivated, problems are eliminated, and processes are efficient.
- Reduce costs
Innovation helps in reducing costs by enabling businesses to focus on their long-term goals. When companies innovate, they come up with efficient and effective ways to operate. Streamlining processes and operations, cutting down on unnecessary and wasteful expenditure, eliminating production bottlenecks, and reducing machinery can help companies reduce costs.
- Improve customer satisfaction and relationships
Companies that innovate are constantly adapting and adjusting to the changing market landscape and customer demands. This helps businesses to remain relevant and competent. On the contrary, businesses that operate in their comfort zone without innovating often become redundant or outdated.
- Boost market position
When businesses use innovative strategies to market their brand online and offline, they create a presence for themselves in the industry. This helps businesses to increase their public presence, establishing a unique brand identity. In this way, businesses also gain an advantage over competitors.
Business priorities when focusing on growth and innovation
- Clear strategy and vision
When businesses strive towards growth and innovation, they must have a clear strategy and vision in mind. Businesses need to understand the gaps between where they are and where they wish to be, analyze and set financial targets, and examine the risks involved before they implement strategies to grow and innovate.
- Culture of growth and innovation
Establishing a culture of innovation and growth is of prime importance for any organization. This not only creates and fosters an environment that will drive innovation and growth but also helps prepare employees to embark on this journey. Such a culture will encourage employees across the organization to experiment and harness their energies to create fruitful results.
- Effective execution
Once businesses have their plans and strategies for growth and innovation in place, they must effectively execute the same. The main components of smooth execution are careful and deliberate planning and effective, error-free communication. Each department and employee must be aware of their roles and responsibilities in driving this change. Any error or mishap could hamper the future and growth of the business.
The path to recovery post-COVID has been challenging for many businesses. However, steady efforts towards stabilizing operations and innovating are helping companies get back on track and resume functioning. With the right balance and focus on essential areas, businesses are likely to return to normalcy soon.