Businesses across all sectors face uncertainty and challenges. Business resilience is all about being adaptable and showing the ability to maintain the status quo. It enables the company to continue moving in the right direction during uncertain times when events can move quickly and challenges can be make or break.
Alison Watson, Head of School of Leadership and Management at Arden University, provides some insights on the importance of business resilience and how businesses can work towards this in the current times, she looks some of the challenges businesses face and shares advice on useful strategies and actions.
In this article she is writing about the importance of business resilience and how businesses can work towards this in the current times. The article looks at what are some of the challenges businesses face and shares advice on useful strategies and actions
To demonstrate effective business resilience, leaders need to be able to act quickly and decisively to enable the business to adapt quickly in the face of disruptions. They need to be able to spot potential challenges and plan ahead, identifying the problem and assessing the best way to react to generate the best overall outcome for the business.
Business resilience is vital for all organisations looking to ensure they are set up for a long and successful future. It is key because it provides longevity for the organisation and enables it to thrive, even when the chips are down and substantial challenges are presented to the leadership team.
It enables organisations to respond to market forces and demand, and also prepares them to counter unexpected events which may otherwise throw them off course.
The pandemic has created a number of challenges for businesses who have had to, with minimal warning, adapt to a world in which consumers leave home less and shop online more. It turned our world upside down, and businesses have had to move quickly in order to survive.
Limited footfall and social distancing were both major drivers in a shift towards online environments throughout the pandemic. Organisations that were digitally ready and easily able to adapt their sales and/or services to the online environment were much better placed to thrive during this unprecedented period of disruption.
However, it was not all about the business themselves; some were reliant on client readiness for online operations. Estate agents, for example, grappled with online viewings while their customers were stuck at home and while there have been successes in this area, buyers of major purchases, such as property, are much more likely to want to see the physical product before committing to the transaction.
Meanwhile, supply chain disruptions, most evidently seen during the fuel crisis this autumn, have caused further problems for businesses who have been unable to get hold of parts, or ship their products to the end user.
On top of this personnel issues such as mental health and wellbeing, which have been exacerbated via the isolation caused by business closures and remote working, have been rife during the pandemic. For businesses looking for long-term growth, getting the maximum performance from their teams is now more important than ever.
The future of retail
Businesses in the retail sector should first review their business model and consider how they can maximise their online presence. With increasing competition in this space, any edge they can ascertain via utilising innovative technologies such as AI will help them to separate themselves from the competition and increase traffic and sales conversions.
It’s vital when operating in the online space to develop tighter connections with customers and the local community, as this will help the business to maintain a presence in the market and maximise brand loyalty.
As a priority, any business in this space should be reviewing their supply chain and balance demand while considering how possible delays in supply might impact the business.
And at the same time, a review of logistics should take place, to ensure that delivery and collections are being fulfilled in the most effective way.
Finally, future-gazing is key. Business owners in the retail sector should be scanning the market for future developments and ensure they are enhancing their operations, products and services to maximise these future trends.
A new approach
Businesses have learnt a lot from the last two years, and the successful companies to have emerged from this spell will have had to demonstrate a degree of business resilience to get this far. These learnings should be taken forward to ensure our businesses are equipped to survive and thrive in the face of any future issues.
Undoubtedly, agility and the ability to change quickly and adapt to emerging situations have been key throughout the pandemic. As has digital readiness, with businesses which have adapted quickly to the online world faring a much better chance of survival during this unprecedented period in our history.
Stakeholder engagement is a key component of business resilience, and this will continue to be vital in the post-pandemic world. This is because it enables leaders to maintain networks and identify any potential issues ahead of time. Allied to this should be a risk management process and crisis plan which uses data to effectively guide business decisions in the face of another crisis.
And at the heart of any business, is its workforce. For this reason, teams should feel empowered and resilient – and senior teams should encourage this via transparency in their communications. This workforce should also be ready to adapt and embrace change as necessary to ensure the business builds from strength to strength in the coming years, no matter what challenges it may face.
Alison Watson, Head of School of Leadership and Management at Arden University