How to Grow Your Business in the Post-Pandemic Era
Achieving post-pandemic success means rethinking, redefining and recreating our world.
Right now, most businesses are focused on establishing a "new normal." Leaders are mulling over the return to work and weighing the benefits of in-person, remote and hybrid models. Others are considering the pros and cons of vaccine mandates. And certainly, every CEO needs to take decisive action one way or the other. But beyond these hot-button issues, there’s still one facet of running a business that has demanded attention all along — growth.
Some businesses have kept growth front and center during the pandemic. Streaming services, food-delivery apps and big tech were some of the biggest winners, with many companies reaching unprecedented new heights.
But many others faltered or went out of business completely. And now, even major players like Netflix and Target are starting to see their record-breaking success taper off. As we look ahead to the “post-pandemic” era and all its uncertainty, how can leaders sidestep financial minefields and keep their businesses growing?
Rethink supply chains
First, executives need to completely reimagine supply-chain logistics. Supply-chain bottlenecks have caused delayed shipments, shortages of essential materials and numerous other manufacturing headaches. Any company that wants to grow in this era has to get ahead of these problems and find new ways to work with suppliers. This means improving supply-chain resiliency, incorporating real-time monitoring, increasing transparency and fully embracing the most innovative technological solutions. Risk, compliance and audit governance should also play critical roles. Effectively managing supply chains means anticipating problems and having plans in place to circumvent hiccups, as opposed to waiting for these issues to resolve themselves.
Though growth has remained important for businesses of all sizes, its definition has shifted. Businesses that excel during this time will do so through humanized growth. Instead of viewing growth through the lens of consumers and capital markets, leaders need to create value for consumers, business partners and communities. Humanized growth requires flexible business models and strategies, more inclusive approaches to defining markets and prioritization of people over processes.
Pandemic-proof your offerings
The 2020 business playbook required pivoting to some degree. Businesses temporarily expanded into new categories to meet customers’ pandemic needs; for example, distilleries produced hand sanitizer and apparel brands designed medical masks. But long-term success can’t be defined by reacting to current circumstances. These same businesses need pandemic-proof offers to show consumers how they’ll provide value over time, not just for now. This might require introducing bigger-ticket products or services and building an emotional story around the brand to reinforce the value of those products or services.
Stop thinking local
During the pandemic, a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses took the leap into ecommerce out of necessity. Likely, this move was motivated by a need to better serve their local customers. But once a business is online, it’s a national company. Maybe it even has global customers. Thus, small companies have to find the balance between honoring the folks who’ve helped them build their businesses and meeting the needs of their new clientele. They can accomplish this through story-driven content that details how they provide value to the community and how they can provide that value whether the community’s next door or halfway across the country.
Understand changing value drivers
Lastly, businesses have to recognize that consumer tastes and market trends change constantly, not just in a pandemic. To retool strategy and grow successfully, leaders must embrace and incorporate new technology as soon as it catches on and adjust their offerings to meet consumers where they are. The goalposts will keep moving, and winning means adapting every time it happens.
The post-pandemic age definitely isn’t short on uncertainty, but if leaders remain agile and open-minded, growth won’t just be possible — it will be inevitable.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor