CMG Consulta is ending its first calendar year in operation and what a year it has been!! 2020 has thrown unimaginable challenges at us all and, in our own ways, we have somehow survived. Through our work with businesses in different industry sectors we summarise 7 key business insights that businesses can take away from 2020.
1. The world is smaller than ever
Lockdown, social distancing and working remotely have forced us to rely on technology to conduct our business as well as for our personal relationships. This has also pushed us harder to reshape our concept of time and distance. Now we are practically as comfortable having a video call with a colleague a mile away as we are with someone in another continent. This realisation has had and will continue to have a great impact on the way we plan our workforce, our products and services and our businesses.
2. Remote working can work
The business world has discussed remote working for years on end. There have been countless debates on whether it is possible, effective and useful. However 2020 has pushed us to the point where many businesses had no option but to work remotely. In many instances, businesses have realised that this could work after all. It has pushed the definition of remote working from simply having employees work a few days at home to even having permanent remote workers in another country. It has pushed businesses to look at this as an opportunity in terms of how to grow their employee-base. (See our post on 7 Remote Working Trends in Malta) . It has also made businesses realise that their Remote Working Policies needed to be looked at in some more detail…
3. Be Prepared
When Covid hit, it was clear that many businesses were not prepared for major contingencies. They had no contingency plans in place on how to operate if the offices were not usable if employees could not be at the office and if clients could not visit the office. Technology was all that could be relied upon. These businesses were caught with their pants down in a global emergency and many are still paying the price today. (See our post on surviving Covid 19 as a business)
4. Agility to adapt is crucial
In facing this global emergency, there were businesses whose market was wiped off overnight, businesses who realised that they just could not exist in these conditions. There were other businesses who were impacted to a lesser degree. Regardless of the impact, 2020 showed us that the businesses who were agile to adapt to the new circumstances emerged the winners. It is important to note, however, that when one speaks of agility to adapt, we do not mean simply running into a situation to take advantage of it in that moment, we are speaking of an agility that enables a business to identify an opportunity, size it, plan a response, carry out that response and sustain this response over a longer period. These businesses have shown us that they are not only able to simply respond to an instantaneous pressure, but they are able to reshape themselves permanently in a short amount of time. (See our post on Resilient Organisations)
5. Do not put all your eggs in one basket
Many businesses came crashing to a halt since everything they were about was challenged with the circumstances faced in 2020. The situation was dire and completely out of businesses’ control. Despite this, there were businesses that managed to scrape by and others that managed to grow. These businesses typically spread their risk by having different areas of their operation that were dependent on different industry sectors or product areas. This allowed them to continue trickling in revenue in one area while other business areas were at a standstill. (See our post on acting now to survive later)
6. Save for the rainy day
When faced with months of reduced revenue, many businesses realised they could not sustain themselves for this period and they needed to look for help from Governments, reducing costs, cutting employee hours etc… None of these measures can get a business to the state it was before Covid. Some businesses were wise in the past as they put aside some of their hard-earned profits in reserves for a rainy day. These businesses had that extra muscle to help them survive this period and even use the time to carry out internal housekeeping and development that was long overdue.
7. Innovation is key
2020 has seen our commercial landscape turn upside down. It was challenged on many fronts and many business activities that we were used to practically ceased to exist. In this tough period, some businesses actually registered growth. Others used the time to plan and re-shape so that they will emerge strong on the other end of Covid. These businesses are the innovators, those who were able to look at what they are doing, make changes, and do it better, they are the ones who were able to look ahead at the challenges that customers would have in this pandemic (and beyond) and they quickly created products and services to address this. 2020 has shown us that the innovators will be rewarded however this innovation needs to be long-term and not short lived simply to scoop up a momentous opportunity. (See our post from as early as March 2020 on Thinking Ahead in Covid times )
Overall, 2020 has been a very interesting year. We have learnt a lot as a global business community and, as CMG Consulta, we are happy to have helped our clients learn a lot too and identify and take up opportunities that they were possibly not aware of. The business world is dynamic, and many businesses spend a lot of energy in coping and in pushing ahead with their operation. The part that is frequently a little lacking is the awareness of a bigger picture and a context within which the business operates. Business owners and managers are frequently too absorbed in the running of the business to actually have time to think about this context. CMG Consulta are honoured to have been able to help our clients identify this context, become aware of opportunities, and plan a strong response to the challenges faced by a business (including the 2020 exceptions) in order to emerge stronger at the other side. If you’d like to discuss similar situations for your business please do get in touch with us for an exploratory conversation.
We look forward to a 2021 where we will continue to work with our clients to help them truly understand their strengths, the context they are operating in and the future they can plan for their business to grow and evolve. We are truly privileged to be trusted advisors to owners, to accompany them and share in the success of their businesses.