Business Resilience: A Vital Necessity For All Business Models
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Resilience is often defined as the ability of an enterprise to successfully handle and engage with a crisis and return back to the pre-crisis levels or status quo. Businesses across industries and economies have experienced unthinkable challenges during COVID-19. Resilience today reflects the ability of any business to adapt and innovate to be able to survive, thrive and grow when faced with risk, adversity, disaster, threat, disruptions, stress, regulatory changes and in today’s parlance an added term called ‘lockdown’. But it is sure a must-have element in every entrepreneur’s DNA.
Business resilience is often judged on aspects such as technology obsolescence, change in customer behaviour, government policies and regulations etc., but in scenarios like a lockdown, it is tested to the fullest limit. Being classified as an essential/non-essential commodity or service can make or break a business, thereby demanding complete innovation of the offering to qualify into the ‘new normal’ to ensure subsistence. Added to this aspect is ‘business continuity’, an integral part of being resilient to be able to navigate challenges like supply chain disruptions in situations like a riot, war, natural disaster, law and order breakdown to even an Internet blackout which can switch off many businesses.
Resilience is fundamentally necessary for businesses to be able to adapt to the disruptive ever-changing market demands, technology, investment landscapes and also other unforeseeable factors including new emerging business models that include online aggregator models. The new generation of consumers who lean more towards technology and focus on ‘ease of living’ continue to grow. This puts an unpredictable amount of pressure on conventional as well as emerging business products/services as well as their models to innovate constantly not only on the ‘what’ but also on the ‘how’ to ensure acceptability and continuity.
Resilience will become an integral part and cannot be for the sake of it, it has to be passionately engrained in business models and questioned often with a devil’s mind for failure scenarios. The pandemic has certainly been successful in questioning the fundamental aspects of business continuity and business resilience plans for companies both conventional and new age as none would have prepared for such situations since even in war, it may be probably easier to predict models of operation. Also, since the last pandemic of such scale happened much before the full-blown industrialisation of the world, virtually no past precedence or experience exists in this regard. While most mature companies which have seen decades of existence always plan for a business continuity, new-age startups may not have planned from that perspective and it is time for every business to start with a foundation of gradually building resilience as they grow.
In fact, this also puts a question on whether future disruptions will cause people to look for ‘work’ or look for a ‘job’. This is a common phenomenon that has already matured with the migrant workers and the gig economy category where people come to the city looking for work and not necessarily a job. It is also time for employees working in organizations to constantly innovate and become resilient else they may suffer the same fate as their organizations.
Resilience, adapting, revamping are all aspects that every business will need to address. It has to be a concerted effort of both the business and its employees to not only to sail through crisis but also adapt to move from their own version 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0 and so on for the future. The pandemic has definitely proven that businesses cannot be run with risk aversion and caution. It has also at the same time ensured that never let a crisis go waste. It is now imperative and common sense to everyone that one needs to be prepared, flexible, adaptive and innovate constantly to ensure future survival and growth.
To build resilience for the future, businesses should ideally follow what I call the 3P2SInC model which is plan, prioritize, prepare, strategize, synergize, innovate and communicate. Whether the business is small scale or large scale, remaining competitive is the most critical factor to remain relevant which means that along with organizational and procedural changes, a business must be reactive and ready to bring about modifications in the product or service being offered to its customers. Innovation should be a perpetual state of mind for businesses. Having back up plans is critical for the business to tackle vulnerabilities that they may be exposed to in crisis situations.
Escaping a disaster is mere ‘survival’ but ‘thriving’ ensures you stand-up and grow stronger. ‘Failure’ is essential aspect to build resilience, as none can build resilience without realizing or experiencing what failure looks like.