Small and medium enterprises could soon experience the same fate as those in 2008 when the world experienced one of the hardest economic crises in modern history. Everyone is talking about the impending crisis but a minority of businesses is actually doing something specific to prepare for it.
In order to thrive, continuously grow and run a sustainable business operation, adaptability is not a differentiation factor, but a necessity. Here are some of the basic features of companies that are change-friendly, highly adaptable and flexible:
To avoid mistakes caused by late responses in possible crisis signals, it’s important to create conditions and assign roles for early recognition of negative signals. Primarily, this means that a company needs to hire expert staff members and build strong connections between them and management. Experts will be the ones who will spot things way in advance; otherwise, you will be caught off guard just like most other organizations hit by a crisis.
A wise businessman will use history and previous experience to learn how to recognize signals earlier than others in the market. At the same time, it’s important not to be too paranoid and avoid interpreting every drop as a crisis in the making.
The first important thing to emphasize is the importance of talent in nimble, adaptable organizations. When you’re adding new staff members to your team, make sure that they are flexible and stable, after all, an organization is as strong as its weakest link.
The next step is to define and constantly re-define the hierarchy in the organization based on the current state. Upper and middle management prepare for the crisis and assign organizational roles where everyone knows what their tasks and expectations are.
No, this is not a reference to Akerlof’s Market for Lemons, but a reminder that perspective can yield up something good out of every negative thing. This is not an optimistic cliché, nor a call for opportunism. Simply put, adaptable companies use their nimble hierarchies and processes to successfully run their business even when market conditions are hard.
Just like in the world outside of business, every crisis is filled with misinformation, panic, wrong estimates, uncalled-for pessimism, optimism and much more. That’s why it’s important that you have an overview of the actual state of the market that’s as accurate and objective as possible.
As an organization that wants to be ready for change, you can update your AS-IS analysis every time it’s evident that the market conditions have changed and that the company needs to respond to those changes. You can create AS-IS reports with the help of online tools and services such as TrustMyPaper [writing experts available on demand] or ProcessMaker [business process management software that you can use to create an as-is analysis]. To make it objective and precise, avoid speculations, predictions and subjective analyses that are not based on numbers and facts.
A TO-BE analysis documentation is just like AS-IS, only happening in the future. When crafting this document, you approach the facts in the report as if they were already true, even though they haven’t happened yet. Still, you have to use objective, true facts that will make this report plausible and probable.
“If it’s hard to picture a change in the organization, the industry or the market as a whole, sit down all together and create a to-be business process. Use objective input, outcomes and scenarios that have the highest likelihood and respond to feedback from your staff members”, says Maya Geller, a writer at Studicus.
Management staff has to constantly examine and reassess the market position of the company, all players included:
Doing so will prevent nasty surprises and disappointments that are often the result of over-confidence.
The most recent crisis had a significant impact on every organization in the world – all stakeholders felt a sharp drop in income, expenses and reputation. It’s likely that the coronavirus pandemic will hit the market even harder.
In the previous case, only rare individuals recognized the signals on time and adapted. Now, we know that if an organization takes a positive and smart stance toward the upcoming crisis, it can be used as fuel. Let’s not forget that there are businesses that thrive in the recession, as well.
Organizations have to be able to react today because tomorrow might already be too late.
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