2020 was a tough year for business in the UK, having to adapt to a new way of working as the new world ground to a halt. 2021 was perhaps anticipated as the year where things would return to normal but as the government has enforced a new lockdown, it seems that we will be bringing parts of 2020 into the new year. This is a time where businesses will sink or swim, building on what they learnt last year, and making lasting changes to their business models.
There is no doubt that the COVID pandemic has brought a profound impact to the business world. Some previous models of business are now completely redundant and entire sectors were obliterated overnight. Offices shut and working remote. Firms have had to furlough staff or let them go completely. Financially, the effect of the crisis has resulted in the prediction that a fifth of all small businesses will collapse in the UK. Although this is a bleak prophecy, the aftermath of crises often leads to a new period of creativity, inspiration and growth.
The COVID period has allowed firms to reflect on their business models and ensure they are fulfilling their founding purpose. Businesses unable to pivot and alter their model are likely to suffer, whereas firms that are willing to adapt and innovate are likely to see success, Firms will have to redefine their corporate personality – how will your business adapt this year?
Three of Future Strategy Club’s business advisors share their tips on how businesses can adapt and make permanent change to solidify their corporate position in the new year.
Justin Small, Founder of Future Strategy Club:
“Business owners and managers will have faced innumerable challenges over the past year. Business leaders don’t just need advice, but a hands-on approach to see their firm through the second year of the pandemic. An outside consultant can bring a fresh perspective to businesses looking to make a change this year, integrating a new, more flexible ethos to firms who are looking for the best way to accommodate new business models. Consultants talk to other consultants and these peer-to-peer conversations help to share the knowledge of experts who have dealt with previous crises, such as the 2008 crash, that can now be applied to the pandemic. A highly skilled CRO or transformation expert could be the difference between growth and capitulation in 2021, and thanks to Future Strategy Club, you no longer have to pay through the nose to get this help.”
Gurtej Sandhu, former Digital Director at The Times and Future Strategy Club advisor:
“2020 taught us lessons as we asked the question of what matters for businesses, and this will continue this year. Will they be dependent on an office? Will demands for talent change? Businesses will need to change how they operate and communicate and continue to take advantage of the situation. There may be an opportunity for much needed structural reorganisation – the process of sharing ideas is important and needs to be considered. The culture of companies is also being reviewed, and changes can help to future-proof firms as we move forward. COVID has really made leaders think about productivity and encouraged them to strip back to reveal what matters.”
Gareth Tennant, former Head of Intelligence for the Royal Marines and Future Strategy Club advisor:
“COVID has brought the importance of planning for disruption and contingency into the spotlight. Leaders needs to build resilience in their organisations by having an all-encompassing strategy. It’s cliché, but every crisis is an opportunity. Some firms have found an increased demand for their services. The organisations who were able to adapt are the ones who have thrived in this period. There are two pieces of advice I would give; the first is to consider the future shocks that may occur. Ride the wave of success now, but do not be complacent and think that your firm is now invulnerable to future dynamic shock. Secondly, I would say that firms should be more value driven. A lot of people have suffered during this period and I think we may emerge into a world where our societies are far more driven by social value, rather than just fiscal value. It is important now to be magnanimous with our success and empathetic to others around us.”
Businesses are definitely facing a tough year, but companies that are willing to learn and adapt are likely to survive, and even thrive. With the leanest talent, a nimble business plan, and a sense of comfort regarding the unknown, firms will come out of this period feeling more prepared and stronger than ever.
Future Strategy Club is a members club of over 250 of the UK’s most experienced c-level consultants and leading creative talent – offering organisations a continuous and dynamic outside-in stream of robust thinking and strategic guidance to identify, plan and execute the necessary change required to solve complex innovation and transformation challenges.