Sudden closures from covid-19 enforced lockdowns have made it difficult for businesses around Australia to remain financially viable. For businesses wanting to come out the other side of this pandemic in a strong position it is essential for businesses to build resilience by being flexible in the way they sell their products to customers.   

Craig Dangar from C&D Restructure & Taxation Advisory says that “many businesses have achieved resilience through covid, lots have expanded their business offering but there is still more to do. We are finding that businesses that have embraced technology are thriving whereas staying stagnant has resulted in a lot of businesses failing” says Mr. Dangar.

When clothing stores shut their doors during the lockdown they were forced to improve their online clothing store in order to continue selling their products. Libraries had to offer home delivery services by dropping books off at their customers doorsteps. Restaurants who were unable to have customers dine in on their premises were forced to sell items such as; milk and bread to customers at a similar price offered by the supermarkets.  

All of these examples listed above highlight the numerous changes Australian businesses had to make in order to remain financially viable during the peak of the covid-19 pandemic. Moving forward, to ensure a successful and prosperous 2021 there are number of initiatives Australian businesses should consider adapting into their business model.  

Craig Dangar contends that “Covid is not simply going away, businesses need to have a fundamental communication ability and be consistent with it, the social media platforms are cost effective and efficient and smart businesses are now using these to get to word out. Marketing is key and communication is important, small businesses need to keep letting their customers know they are there and still trading”.

It is recommended that businesses undertake a strategic review of their existing operating model, with an aim to innovate and build a plan for the recovery phase. It would also be wise to re-assess commercial agreements and be prepared to re-negotiate for terms that minimise risk.   

“In our experience a lot of businesses did not understand their costs and financial obligations during covid, there has been a lack of cost control and businesses have been seeing profitability (with Government support) as things are okay, there has been a lack of hard financial discussions. Cost analysis and rationalisation, it is the key, the only key and something that has been often overlooked” says Craig Dangar.

Lockdowns have restricted the movement between suppliers and customers. As a consequence of this it is important to determine what aspects of your businesses products or services need to be temporarily halted. By doing this it is essential to re-evaluate how these products can be re-distributed to customers in a manner that is suitable for the societal conditions of the current covid-19 pandemic.   

To assist employees, it would be highly beneficial to implement a program to support the wellbeing and mental health of staff to reduce the reliance on workers compensation. It is also important to have company polices that support flexible working options.  

“Times have been challenging and it is valuable to keep communication going during the times, with uncertainty brings conflict, and we have seen where there are risks of significant change that businesses take talk to staff are better placed than those that keep people in the dark” says Craig Dangar.

In a world full of disruption, it is important for business owners to shift their mindset from crisis mode to the ‘new normal’. It is advised to make sure that mechanisms are in place so that feedback can be given from employees and customers to enable continued improvement.   

It is important for organisations to operate with a customer-centric approach. This can be achieved by providing customers the ability to access information via social media platforms. This has the potential to greatly reduce the number of inbound calls and prevent high levels of frustration coming from customers who have had to wait long periods of time to get a response from the business regarding any enquires they need to make.   

“Technology has been widely adopted but businesses still need to work out what suits them best and what they can do to maximise their digital operations. For businesses with strong digital capability covid adoption has been an opportunity rather than a cost” says Craig Dangar.

Utilising the assistance of real-time data in the workplace can significantly help with raising early alerts of potential disruptions. This allows issues to be proactively managed before they get out of hand, thus allowing the organise to find a prompt resolution.