You’d need a crystal ball to know exactly what was coming around the corner, but there are important steps to take to be as prepared as possible.
To future-proof your business for uncertainty, you need to factor in unforeseen circumstances into your normal workforce planning – but that’s easier said than done, right? How do you actually go about doing it?
This eBook, Future-proofing a business for uncertainty: the key things to consider, has been designed to guide you along on this journey of uncertainty – it’s about as close to a crystal ball as you can get. Here’s just a snippet.
Preparing for ‘floods and droughts’
A crisis won’t impact every business in the same way. While no business is entirely recession-proof, some offer services that become more essential during tough economic periods.
For example, car sales increase when the economy is soaring but drop when it stalls. However, in these current times, mechanics tend to get more work as rates of car repairs increase, because people who’d normally buy a new car choose to maintain their existing car instead.
And while many specialty retail stores have suffered financially during COVID-19 as people suddenly stopped spending on non-essential items, supermarkets had the opposite problem as shoppers stocked up on supplies to prepare for lockdown. These two situations can be likened to a drought and a flood.
A flood is where demand for products or services increases, and businesses have to rapidly pivot to meet this demand or extend their offering to take advantage of the situation. A drought is when all demand dries up, and businesses have to find a way to survive until it picks up again.
Now, a flood mightn’t seem like such a bad thing. Who doesn’t want a huge uptick in sales for their product or service? But we only have to remind you of the nation-wide ‘toilet paper’ saga to explain how such a sudden increase in sales can backfire.
To deal with the unpredictability of a flood, organisations need to have scalable solutions to make sure their workforce is capable of adapting to meet demand. It’s about having the right number of people – and the right people.
Then we have droughts. There are two different types: one where demand is low, and the other is when business comes to a complete standstill. The former is typical in recessions; the latter is what’s happening to many companies during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But for both, there are usually broad short-term and long-term strategies that can be implemented. For example, recently some businesses have looked to short-term, creative ways to generate revenue and continue business, such as offering home delivery services. Other businesses have favoured more long-term approaches, such as bold business pivots, such as expanding to a new market, in the hope they’ll emerge from the crisis stronger than before.
During COVID-19, many cafes and restaurants knew they faced an inability to have in-store customers and so began offering delivery options for the first time. Other businesses went as far as shifting their manufacturing to masks or hand sanitiser – taking advantage of the overflowing flood of other products to bolster their bottom line.
In a business drought, having visibility over your workforce always helps to ensure that your rapidly adapted business model is staffed to your maximum benefit. That’s where we can help. Download our eBook for more tips on managing the floods and droughts of an uncertain economy.
This is an altered excerpt from the ‘Future-proofing a business for uncertainty: the key things to consider’ eBook.