Those of us who live in the Gulf Coast communities know there is nothing like a hurricane to make business have to adapt. Now, the world is experiencing a global pandemic that may be the equal of a hurricane in many ways yet, different. Like a hurricane, there have been shut-downs and altered operations. Unlike a hurricane, we don’t know the timeline of how long COVID-19 could be affecting us. Leaders of organizations have been tasked with new challenges most have not experienced. I have lived on the Gulf Coast my entire life and have experienced the effects of hurricanes dating back to the 1960s, and COVID-19 is a different challenge. As a consultant and a small business owner, I learned from the ongoing experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For businesses and organizations, here are six takeaways I believe will help organizations through unexpected environmental hurdles.
Six Future-Focused Solutions
Outsourcing Finance Functions – The critical finance functions of your organization can include accounting, bill payment, receivables posting, cash flow and revenue projections, bank credit, lease/purchase analysis and, a number of other critical financial capabilities. Seeking the services of a CPA firm can offer you a suite of services with capabilities not available to most small businesses.
Adversity Planning – Whether it is a weather event, technology failure, or a global pandemic, any organization can unexpectedly be faced with adversity that could negatively affect your ability to operate. Develop a broad financial, organizational, and communication response to prepare you for operating under strained functions. This will give you the foundation that leads to effective business recovery and continuation.
Strategic Planning – It’s nearly impossible to reach a goal if you don’t define it and take action to achieve it. The benefit of strategic planning is that you put your vision in writing then establish initiatives designed to make progress on your goals. Engaging an outside consultant to facilitate creation of a strategic plan can provide leadership with accountability which will enhance the progress achieved on the initiatives you set.
Adopt the Current Technologies – Cloud-based software is widely available and user-friendly to make many critical organizational functions easier. Accounting, bill payment, payroll, HR, scheduling, project management, and accounts receivable can all be operated and maintained in the cloud freeing you of the time, trouble and expense of onsite hardware/software management. Adopting cloud-based technology may require some change, but it will provide you access to effectively manage your operation from anywhere with up-to-date, near real-time information while eliminating the need for you to continuously install updates. Bottom line, cloud technology is easy to use and frees your time.
E-Commerce – If you offer products for sale in your organization, you should consider expanding the use of online retailing. Today’s technology continues to make it much easier for organizations to establish cost effective online shopping options. In fact, service companies are experiencing growth opportunities provided by online offerings, as well.
Changes to Service & Marketing – Effective small business service and marketing has traditionally focused more on relationships than capabilities, but COVID-19 has shown the ability to expand. In the midst of the “stay-at-home” orders, the delivery of that customer relationship was transformed. Think of all the businesses that implemented a form of “curb-side” service or “contactless” service for their customers. Business like ours who offer services over products found electronic document transfer increased along with a growth in video meetings and even curbside service became valuable to clients. In addition, web-based marketing will help you reach beyond your immediate local market. It provides an extremely cost-effective means to enhance relationships with customers in unique ways by providing relevant and useful information in real-time.
Prepare for an Even Better Future
Implementing one or several of these solutions will benefit the growth and success of your organization even in non-catastrophic times. The great part is that each of these options can be completed without a huge time commitment, yet the outcomes will provide long-lasting positive effects. Avizo Group has experts in these areas ready to serve you. Reach out to us if you’d like to start preparing your organization for an even better future.
Dennis Sherrin, CEO & Strategic Consultant
Dennis is passionate about continual learning and subscribes to the ideology that “life is your leadership class”. To that end, he relies on the observations of the client organizations he has worked with to influence his ideology on vision, leadership, business and life-work balance.