Kiwis are a resilient bunch.
Faced with a global pandemic we implemented remote work, juggled staff shortages, battled supply constraints and embraced technology like never before.
To use the business phrase of the century, we pivoted.
As 2023 approaches many businesses are facing The Next Normal and that means planning for change.
By Jon Dunn
Post-pandemic many businesses are finding themselves in an environment that was unimaginable just 18 months ago and a business that is in some cases unrecognisable.
This means previously successful businesses are now faced with the need to re-engineer their core offering and change channels in the face of major disruption within their operational and trading environments.
Reliance on e-commerce increased exponentially during lockdown, as many people began shopping online for the first time. Hybrid systems like click and collect pushed New Zealand consumers into an omnichannel environment.
For example, in the B2B world companies that were unable to travel internationally have developed product demonstrations that have now become online VR experiences.
In the SME space, e-commerce activity has grown in distances of less than 15km driven by solopreneurs leveraging social media marketplaces.
While Covid-19 tested our kiwi ingenuity and adaptability, many New Zealand businesses are thinking about how to re-engineer their business from just coping to competing, winning and thriving.
Building A Roadmap For The Future
Significantly shifting or transforming a company’s business model can be either a proactive or reactive exercise.
In a perfect world this is a proactive process, however in the real world, external events created by competition, changes in consumer behaviour, new legislation or global events such as Covid-19 can cause the latter to be true.
Transforming your business is a process that takes motivation and structure.
Let’s look at the 6 key considerations.
1. Purpose: Profit, People, Planet
When setting out to create a winning strategy, the first question to ask is, “What’s my organisation’s purpose?”
The saying “It’s hard to read the label when you are inside the bottle” applies here.T his means a fresh, impartial perspective can be the difference between success and frustration. Digging deep and uncovering the business’s strengths and weaknesses, competitive threats and unmet customer needs, lays a solid fact based foundation which may or may not parallel our gut feeling about a situation.
While it’s important to have a clear understanding of external impacts such as regulatory changes, consumer buying trends and market predictions, purpose is at the heart of the transformation equation.
2. Opportunities: The Whitespace
To pinpoint often hidden opportunities, key business stakeholders brainstorm potential paths forward.
These pathways can be slight adjustments or tacks and jibes to the existing business. Alternatively they can be a major pivot or expansion.
Each potential direction is then analysed to consider its long term implications.
These are the “How” questions.
How will it impact revenue? Do we have the equipment and structure to execute the new direction?
How will it impact our team?
How does it impact our product development plan?
How will our competitors react?
After analysing the options, the stakeholders need to review, align and set a strategy.
3. Building: The Strategy
This phase is where the research and insights converge to become an action plan.
What are the changes that need to be made? And in what sequence do they need to occur? What are our instincts telling us about these potential changes?
At this point it is vital that key stakeholders are working in a cross-functional manner, giving all areas of the business insight into the changes occurring.
A clear plan eliminates doubling up on effort and activity that could compete with or hamper each other, in addition to providing a comprehensive roadmap that ensures everyone understands how the change factors fit together and combine to achieve the end result.
4. Relevance: Fit For Purpose
When engineering a change in business strategy, it’s essential to make sure that your brand is strongly supporting and reinforcing your new strategy.
This begins with ensuring that your brand positioning speaks to your new direction and its audience.
This means reviewing messaging, tone of voice and the external expression of your brand.
While there is often an initial focus on digital touchpoints such as web and social, all external facing communications need to be reviewed.
This includes the visual expression of your brand framed in the brand experience of your new potential audience.
5. Culture: Getting Everyone On The Bus
Business is about people. So it makes sense that for a business transformation to be successful, it is vitally important to involve perspectives and participation from across the organisation.
This means including different departments, functions, and age-groups from within the company as part of the planning process, in order to get their input as strategy comes together.
Not only does this ensure that critical details aren’t overlooked, but also fosters engagement and deep buy-in to the process.
6. Execution: Turning Strategy Into Action
Transformational change is about solid intelligent strategy, human centred commitment and detailed well managed execution.
Successful execution depends on the tasks and decisions of each individual team member, so it’s vital to ensure everyone understands not only the company’s wider strategic goals, but how their individual actions and responsibilities impact overall achievement.
The execution of the strategy relies on monitoring consistant progress toward goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are determined during the strategic planning stage, and success is measured against pre-defined and agreed metrics.
Strategy Is A Work In Progress
A well executed transformation strategy will move your organisation forward and position your business for growth, profit and success in the future in this new world.
Since 2000 we have been helping businesses sharpen their strategies, grow their sales and develop new markets.
We help them find their purpose and identity to create brands that are authentic and innovative.