I’m in the process of concluding a short, focused post-Covid strategy project with a client. We’ve been working on how the business can continue to grow and thrive through the pandemic and the inevitable economic downturn.

We’ve made a lot of progress in a few weeks and I thought that it might be helpful to share these 7 lessons that I’ve taken from this engagement:

  1. as a result of the pandemic. How have their working, lifestyle and shopping habits changed and which of these are most likely to stick? Once you have identified these behavioural changes, you can then assess the implications for your proposition, strategy and business model.
  2. Stress test your existing strategy and your current priorities against a range of possible future scenarios and determine how it needs to evolve and change (see last week’s newsletter for more details). Strategic clarity will make every other decision you need to make far easier.
  3. The coming recession will create severe pressure on margins. You must proactively focus on how you will protect profits without losing your ability to drive short- and medium-term growth – i.e. don’t just cut the marketing or training budgets!
  4. In my current project, we have identified three new product launches, agreed to rapidly accelerate two others and deferred two launches to best reflect likely customer priorities over the next 2-3 years. What new products and services should you be adding, accelerating or slowing down as a result of changing customer needs?
  5. In the previous recession, Aldi and Lidl successfully targeted the shoppers of the major grocers. What previously unattainable customer groups may now be willing to consider your brand(s)?
  6. Research shows that the companies that perform best during – and beyond – a recession are those that continue to invest in their brands. A shift to greater digital marketing is likely to be appropriate for most businesses, but you might also find that the value-for-money of ‘traditional’ marketing channels will also increase over the coming months.
  7. Other businesses may be shedding staff during the recession, or even going out of business, but this will create opportunities for you to attract new leaders with new skills to take your business forward.

The post-pandemic recession is going to be extremely challenging for the vast majority of businesses. As a result, you may be tempted to sit tight, cut costs and wait for the tough times to pass.

That would be a mistake.

The post-Covid world will be very different to the pre-crisis one. Your strategy, your customer proposition and your business model may all need to change – and the best time to start these changes is now.

What’s more, as you go through this process, you might just find (as my client found) that, alongside the inevitable commercial challenges, you will also discover new, exciting growth opportunities.

Off The Record: 7 Days Too Long by Dexys Midnight Runners

I say good things will come,

Good things will come to those who wait, right?

Well, I’m not going to wait around forever

Listen to me –

Seven days is too long with you, baby

Come on back to me

Coronavirus White Papers

I have written two white papers to help business leaders respond to the coronavirus pandemic and crisis.

Agility For Life

 The crisis has led to faster, more agile decision-making and action across businesses. Applying six key principles can help leaders embed these changes to create ‘agility for life’

Succeeding Beyond The Coronavirus Pandemic

If you want to succeed in the post-Covid world, you need to plan and act fast bow to reshape your business to the new realities and opportunities. Succeeding Beyond the Pandemic gives you a clear, 5-step process to reshape your strategy and accelerate your success.

© Stuart Cross 2020. All rights reserved.