The new normal has set in. The initial phase of adapting has set in. What is critical is salvaging the current situation and making it work for a better tomorrow. You are at the edge of the cliff. No supersonic plane is going to come to your rescue. It is time to unravel the Superman or Superwoman in you.
What is the new normal?
Digital working and payments are likely to become more ingrained across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. So, having a strong digital presence is essential for all businesses. Digital marketing all along needs to be considered by most businesses. Systems and processes need to be added and people need to be oriented towards working productively from home.
Meetings in person, especially for the service industry, are required as it remains a high touch and high tech model. Recovery remains a challenge. For the manufacturing sector, labour has started to come back. However, continuity of operations remains a challenge if covid spreads. Digital ways of manufacturing may need to be thought of on the lines of Siemens. It depends on the industry and its way of working in the end.
Organisations need to be more flat to ensure faster communication and decision making in a work from home setting. Compliances and legal indemnities need to be strengthened as we are meeting people more online. This also helps to filter people who do not connect with our mission or have different value systems. Background checks need to be more stringent. NDAs may be needed to be signed by key personnel as work and life have become integrated in a work from home approach.
Banking and key stakeholder relationships to be reworked on the basis of cash flow projections for all levels of businesses. In fact, the larger the business the more one needs to be careful about this as it can affect the very existence of the company.
Let’s evaluate how the plane can be built on the fly going forward in the new normal.
1. Place technology at the heart of operations
In a work from home model, technology plays a key role in accomplishing tasks. In the current scenario, the idea of the company needs to be reworked to a technology business which serves clients and key stakeholders.
Sales and productivity trackers need to be inbuilt to ensure monitoring once in a while. Many of us have a tendency to work more. It is important to define timelines as that helps people to maintain their sanity. This also needs to be communicated well to the teams.
The paradigm shift will need to be evaluated internally in your organisation to see what changes are fundamental to cross the chasm. Now is the time to do it.
2. Build an online brand
Most of us spend at least one to two hours online everyday in the current milieu. Since we are looking at this possibility, it is critical for us to look at the online channels which help us connect with our clients better and make a difference to their lives.
3. Strengthen the HR systems
People are at the core of the client experience. Starting from assessment tools to employee engagement initiatives, the entire scheme of things needs to be looked at. Also, an autonomous way of work will need to be looked at with occasional interventions to see if things are on track. This would help to ensure growth from an HR point of view.
4. Network online
Your network is your net worth. Starting with the business plan, it is important to identify different social media channels relevant to you. The key thing is to look at a mix of decision makers and influencers who you know as well as you would like to connect with. LinkedIn is a good way of reaching out to key people who can help accelerate business goals.
It is critical to sign NDAs with key staff at the management level. Also non-compete agreements with employees are important with client facing staff. These help in terms of taking action if clients are poached. This is more important to service businesses whether B2B or B2C.
According to Sanjay Israni, advocate and solicitor, ”In the present situation, an entrepreneur must be careful in considering the invocation of the force majeure clause as per Section 56 of Indian Contract Act 1852 if there is no force majeure clause in their agreement. To avoid any litigation, the entrepreneur must enter into negotiations with the counterparty to resolve any dispute amicably. This approach will help the entrepreneur in avoiding expensive litigation and saving time and resources to focus on business activities in these difficult situations.
6. A review of cost structures
Cost structures need to be reviewed from a short-term as well as medium-term point of view. The business to be made variable cost-oriented to the extent possible to stay competitive. It is also a good time to evaluate sustainability of the business and look for other avenues if needed. If you are in a platform/service business, the salaries should not exceed more than 20 per cent of your sales even in a worst case scenario. That is the secret sauce for sustaining operations even in tough times. For some it would be renegotiating their loans.
The path would unravel as we walk ahead. Become a butterfly and grow step by step!