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How to Engineer Growth in a Turbulent Business Environment
Currently, every business is facing one question: what is going to happen when the pandemic is over? For instance, consumer goods manufacturers have already experienced a spike in their regular sales: will it sustain? Likewise, airlines and the hospitality industry have experienced an unexpected drop in demands: when will it bounce back?
Over the last few months, various sectors such as retail, finance, health care, and entertainment are working towards developing a plan for engineering growth amidst the upheaval.
As we’ll see, traditional strategic thinking won’t be enough for mid-market companies to plan for growth in the next "new normal". Instead, the most helpful answer will come from a new approach: one that makes it possible to combine conventional business strategy with novel thinking from innovation theory and social science. Let’s take safety for example, there's an opportunity to apply the same concepts behind engineering growth from a new perspective. A series of unique product and service innovations supported by safety concerns can create a host of benefits for customers and businesses. Importantly, it can help unlock the next stage of growth opportunities which will be essential for companies in this challenging environment.
Take Sitecore, the digital customer experience management company. Before the Coronavirus crisis, they would hold their Symposium in Orlando, FL for thousands of global marketers. This year, they could not gather their partners, marketers, or clients physically, because of the safety and social distancing concerns. So, they shifted to the first all-digital Sitecore Symposium and the attendance skyrocketed instantly. By emphasizing safety, Sitecore eliminated barriers such as - the need to travel and the expenses of doing so – thus increasing their reach for their physical event.
Your Post-Covid Business Plan Is the Linchpin for Success
A properly planned growth is possible in this new environment - and it can prove be a goldmine for companies. For example, recently, Netflix has experienced tremendous growth despite of the global lockdown.
Now the question is, how can mid-market brands prepare their business for growth in this new normal?
First, Have a Post-Covid Business Plan
Planning for post-pandemic world means solving first three concerns -
How does your company really make revenue? Several brands haven't taken the time to properly convey their key differentiators or find out how the goods, information, and money flow from suppliers to consumers.
Next question is - who do you rely on to drive the business? Establish your most important stakeholders and their key behaviors that has an impact on your business model.
The third important question is - what will the consumer behavior shift after this pandemic. This would be more difficult to answer. Although the pandemic is temporary, it is continuing long enough to turn fleeting behaviors into structural shifts.
After getting past these existential questions, you might be left with only a handful of behaviors which are complex to forecast. For instance, will domestic travel become more popular than international travel? Will people shop in-store as a way of bonding with their kids? In such cases, think what the brand would do to make sure the success rate remains higher despite of the behavior. By thinking several scenarios and adding to the behavior list, you can have a playbook to adapt regardless of the unexpected situations.
The brain can get foggy when we are dealing with great uncertainty. It may feel like it is almost impossible to plan as things can change quickly. At this point, it is extremely crucial to have a mindset of learning to create a radical plan to unlock growth.
Innovate and Gain a Competitive Advantage from Technological Transformation
Technological Transformation is at the center of today’s economic development due to its wide-spread use during the pandemic. Innovative technology can bring an increased efficiency to expand the businesses. Brands can reach out to remote markets that lack infrastructure. If mid-market companies want to truly harness the technology, it is vital to be aware of the current wave of technology and how businesses can attune themselves to it.
The rapid spread of technology has been intensified by the pandemic. Now it has led to an urgent need for businesses to evolve and grow. Many mid-market brands, especially in developing economies, are still digitally detached. For instance, they might not have the proper access to workforce with the right skill set and face tricky business environments. Employees, on the other hand, may not have the right flexibility or skill set. To prepare for these challenges, mid-market brands must embrace technology and upgrade their training programs to enable their staff with the relevant skills. Mid-market brands should consider offering apprenticeships to equip future workforce with the proper sets of skills.
The key focus should be -
Making strong social protections by providing reformed finance arrangements according to the labor market norms. This would facilitate work transitions while lessening the hindrance of formal jobs.
Making sure efficient access to internet is possible while still adhering to the regulations such as data protection and privacy rules.
Accelerating future investment in lifelong learning and human capital (knowledge, skills, and health) to adapt to future labor markets.
Build Resilient Growth for your Business Through Market Cycles
To build a solid spectrum of growth, businesses should put an emphasis on creating a robust portfolio of market-competing and market-creating strategic moves. Because both moves will help to generate today's revenue and ensure tomorrow's growth. Only depending on market-competing moves, will not enable growth across the business market cycle.
For example, companies like Salesforce, Apple, or Cirque du Soleil turned the 2008 financial crisis to their advantage. They accomplished a dynamic bounce back and spectacular growth despite the bleak economy. Each of them depended on market-competing moves that offered a leap in value.
So, what measures should a mid-market brand take to best manage growth throughout the market cycles? Here are a few pieces of advice -
First, to have growth resilience, it is crucial to build a well-balanced and healthy suite of market-competing and market-creating strategic moves. Here you should consider a mix of red and blue ocean strategies as both are important to create today's cash while ensuring tomorrow's growth.
Second, make sure that your market-creating initiatives are a fundamental component of your organization’s strategy. If you wish to attain market-creation, you must make it a priority. How to do it in the best possible way? Ensure and check who owns this initiative. Is it your top management? If not, it must be. This will set a significant tone that market creation is the center to your brand's future.
Third, act now. Don't wait for your brand's growth to be slow to make market-creation an important strategic priority.
Achieving inclusive growth in today's scenario is not easy. But by combining innovation theory and social science, your efforts will highlight the potential for improvement. When everyone in the company realizes the competitive advantages, you can create when you focus upon the growth. With the right steps and actions, mid-market brands can approach this post-pandemic crisis as an opportunity to create for the future.
To discuss on how to accelerate mid-market business growth, connect with us today here.