Post-Pandemic: An Opportunity To Innovate
When times are hard, your best course of action is to find a way to change the way you do what you do fundamentally. Are you ready to innovate?
It’s the most challenging of times when we’re most likely to adapt and evolve for the better.
This is especially true of the business world. The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed how CEOs run their businesses, employees think about work, and clients interact with providers and producers.
Do you expect everything to go back to normal at some point? If so, you’re in the minority.
Business Leaders Anticipate Fundamental Change
A recent survey of over 200 business owners throughout the country paints a stark picture of how the business world is likely to change as a result of the pandemic:
- 90% believe that the pandemic will permanently change the way they do business between now and 2027
- 85% worry about the long-term impact of the pandemic on their clients
- 21% feel they have what they need to innovate and grow
- 66% see this as the most challenging moment of their career
It’s not all bad news, though—75% consider this era to present significant opportunities for growth, should they be strategic about pursuing it. Those that lack strategy or resources (up to 30% of those interviewed), are unconfident about their ability to capitalize on these opportunities.
All this goes to show why innovation is so important. You need to be willing to investigate and invest in new capabilities and digitally transform your business to survive and grow in the near future.
Are You Hesitating To Innovate & Embrace Digital Transformation?
There are two primary obstacles that commonly prevent businesses from embracing digital transformation:
Lack Of Strategy
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just saying you want to “digitally transform” your business. It takes an understanding of available technologies and how they can be applied to your work, along with a clear vision of how this can help you achieve your business goals.
Fear Of Potential Risks
Many are hesitant to adopt new technologies because of what they could mean for data security. Usually, this comes down to the nature of outsourced, remotely-accessed technologies—whether it’s the Internet of Things or enhanced mobile device use in the workplace, managers, and owners worry about how greater access to work data will affect the security of that work data.
The important thing to understand is that both of these concerns can (and should) be addressed by your IT company, so long as they’re up to the task. They should have the knowledge and capability to securely help you align new technologies with your business goals. Doing so can give you access to several new tech-based advantages.
The Potential Of Innovation
When an innovative Digital Transformation implementation is a success, it catapults the enterprise to new heights in efficiency and success. It ensures that everyone in the organization has bought into the solution, which greatly improves the chance for it to succeed.
Most organizations that want to implement solutions to enhance their business need to start with a review of the different areas of their organization—this determines their Digital Transformation readiness. This process should start with questions for the stakeholders about what is working well in the organization and what needs improvement.
This will then lead the stakeholders down the right path to where and how the most impact can be made on the enterprise through implementing a solution.
Likely areas for review include Finance, Operations, Marketing, Sales, HR, Client Experience, and Management. When the areas of the organization that have the most room for improvement are identified, finding the right solutions will be obvious to the stakeholders. When properly implemented, these solutions will offer the most benefit to the organization, such as enhanced collaboration, automation, or a new project management process.
How To Kickstart Your Innovation
The first step is to gather data, look for patterns, and develop an informed foundation for whatever your strategy may eventually turn out to be.
- Gathering data should be top-down and involve every client-facing component of your organization.
- Every instance of customer interaction is an opportunity to gather important data.
- Collected data has to be properly tracked, analyzed, and synthesized.
Once you have your data, you should be able to spot key patterns in it. New problems arise for your clients, new spending priorities, and more.
Using the data you’ve collected, your next step is to examine your business model and identify misaligned or unnecessary areas. You shouldn’t be devoting resources to tasks that no longer address your client’s needs or generate profit.
A good thought experiment is considering how a different business model would work with your company. If you were, for example, acquired by a different company right now, how would what you do fit into what they do?
Thinking outside the box is a great way to gain perspective on what you currently do and how that needs to be changed.
The next step is to determine how you will pivot what you do.
Make sure to weed out any unfounded assumptions by challenging every potential course of action. Do not let an assumption become a truth without backing it up with data.
As always, focus on what produces value for customers. Innovation doesn’t have to be a revolutionary process of overhauling your entire business when simply adjusting or expanding one key service will make all the difference to those you’re selling to.
Launch & Grow
Once you’ve determined your course of action, it’s time to start. The modern business world can rapidly facilitate the entry of new ideas into the market, so there shouldn’t be too many barriers in your way.
For example, think of how quickly businesses were able to pivot to manufacturing key pandemic resources like tests and masks. The same agility should favor your pivot.
Once you’ve gotten your initiative underway, you need to be ready to scale up quickly to meet the demand that your intelligence has told you is waiting for you. Keep an eye on your supply chain, and give yourself healthy margins to mitigate delays and shortages.
Grow Your Network
Don’t assume you have to innovate on your own.
Over the course of the pandemic, many businesses that were competitors became allies, helping one another capitalize on new opportunities without eating into each other’s market shares. Doing so will require an agile and mobile business structure, which will help you move quickly and effectively.
Don’t Wait To Innovate
This past year has taught business owners a lot of different lessons. Key among them is understanding that no matter what happens, the future of your business is in your hands.
With the right tenacity, teamwork, and a little luck, a global pandemic won’t necessarily mean the end of your company.