Keeping your customers and clients and arms length is likely to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. As is providing an environment where your customers stay apart. But should you see this as a threat or an opportunity? And more importantly, how can you adapt your business model to the new trading environment?
Whilst the obvious impact will be felt by the leisure &hospitality industries, where social interaction is central to their offering, it is going to change the environment for most businesses. With this in mind, I would like to look at how the ability to adapt to new scenarios can really deliver opportunities.
Adapt Adapt Adapt..
Adapting to new environments is critical for survival across pretty much every ecosystem. This is no different in the business world. There has undoubtedly been a seismic shift in the trading environment and the successful businesses will be the ones that are able to adapt their models to this new environment. The good news is – We are already seeing this happening:
- Conferences and events are going virtual
- Restaurants and pubs are moving to high quality take-away delivery model
- Craft food & beverage producers are moving from wholesale to online retail models serving local markets
And those are just in our local area, and are all doing OK.
Opportunity or Threat
Assessing opportunities & threats is a classic part of business planning – I am sure most people will be familiar with the SWOT analysis.
Taking this approach to the current situation its easy to focus on the threats, as they tend to be stating you in the face, but in most cases there will be opportunities too.
Take craft F&B who have relied on wholesale markets, those markets may have shut down, but new retail markets have emerged. Conference & event organisers are seeing the demand for online events is growing rapidly. The key is to identify these opportunists and adapt quickly to deliver.
Being Small and independent can be an advantage.
In this rapidly changing environment agility is key. As such small independent businesses who have a short decision making process and who can react quickly to changes will have a distinct advantage over larger business with more complex decision making processes.
Take the current 2m rule. Businesses have had time to develop and adapt their business models to cope with this new regulation, but now they are open. If this changes and for example moves from 2m to 1m then that will deliver opportunities. Big businesses will take time to adapt and communicate these changes through their organisation. Small independent businesses on the other had can quickly adapt and reap the benefits.
Over the coming months this ability to quickly adapt as the situation changes will give smaller businesses a real advantage. The key is to jump on the opportunities as they arise.
Think long term
I just want to finish by encouraging people to think long term. Rather than thinking “How do I adapt and cope until this is all over”, think about how adapting to the the new environment could improve your business into the long term. Some things you are having to do now, could actually reap benefits to your business long into the future!