Strategic challenges in the new normal
As we move towards a post-pandemic recovery and the economy begins to stabilise in the next few months, businesses face new challenges and will have to adapt to a new normal.
Supply chain issues
Supply chains were disrupted as producers and manufacturers shut down during the pandemic. Some businesses are now facing difficulties in obtaining the materials or products that they need. In other cases, the price of raw materials has gone up due to scarcity caused by lack of production throughout the past 18 months or so.
Managing supply chain issues is difficult and the best thing that businesses can do is to manage the expectations of their customers. It is important to stress that supply chain challenges tend to be temporary. As the global economy recovers, manufacturing, production and shipping should eventually return to normal.
Many businesses are struggling to fill roles. Perhaps potential candidates are unwilling to move during uncertain times, or maybe the booming tech industry has absorbed all the best talent. Either way, many businesses are struggling to hire good people.
Some businesses are adding creative perks or benefits to attract staff. Besides health care or pension contributions, some firms are attracting talent with unlimited holiday, remote working opportunities or career development through staff education programmes and sponsored learning.
Businesses that have survived the pandemic may have burned up their cash reserves or taken on additional debt to finance themselves throughout the last 18 months.
Businesses should plan for a difficult trading environment for some time yet. Sales could continue to struggle, the cost of materials could be higher for some time yet and labour costs, taxation or regulatory costs could be higher. As such, businesses should try to keep costs down where possible. In addition, they should double down on their marketing efforts in order to drive sales and ultimately, revenue.
Last year, businesses had to adapt to conditions created by the pandemic. In 2021, they must adapt to the aftermath. There will be opportunities to innovate and evolve business models, introduce new products or services, etc. The businesses that adapt and create new opportunities or competitive advantages will be the most successful.