While many businesses throughout New Zealand still struggle with the immediate effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of business strategy and forward-thinking cannot be ignored if you are to achieve long term success in a world after the crisis and beyond.
But what does this mean? In simple terms, business strategy becomes less of a matter where we are merely responding to the crisis, and more of a matter in which we are preparing for a robust future.
To do this, it is essential to address key trends. It is notable that most of these trends existed before Covid-19 but remain to this day. The difference is that they were catalysed/accelerated, or altered significantly due to the pandemic.
Such trends now impact businesses in such a way that they need to be a part of every business strategy, not just to survive but to thrive and prosper your business over the next five to ten years.
Our team researched and identified the following trends as those that stand out above all in the current business environment.
1 – Digitalisation
It may seem obvious but further digitalisation is and will continue to be one of the top trends for businesses to foster for decades to come. However, it is not just more of the ‘same old’. Innovative solutions will continue to evolve and inherently businesses must do the same.
In many ways, 2020 marked the need for change and brought to fruition exactly how urgent digitalisation is and the direct impact it has on businesses.
This ‘wake-up call’ has shown us what being ‘digital’ truly means. It is not just about fancy apps and complex web funnels, but about having a solution chain that runs deep across all processes, people and technology.
It’s a fundamental change in the way we work, live and do business and as a business owner, you should be asking yourself:
- Do I have an adequate sales and marketing team?
- Do these departments have the digital and data capabilities to create a better connection with my customers?
- And can this collaborate effectively with my supply chain?
2 – Responsible Business
When we hear the term ‘corporate social responsibility (CSR) our minds instantly think about things like environmental sustainability, transparency and philanthropy.
However, there is a rapidly growing movement towards consumers as a form of responsibility for businesses. It’s a developed understanding of what matters most to the consumer and adapting your business and offerings accordingly.
The times where businesses could merely focus on profits and shareholder value maximisation seem to be dwindling. Of course, such companies still exist and they may prosper financially, but the mindset of the market has changed.
It’s now about having the flexibility to respond to the market quickly and the ability to better understand consumer needs, expectations and the common human values behind these.
For B2C businesses, it’s a necessity to realise what matters most to consumers right now and be able to respond quickly. This naturally shows your consumers that – “we understand what’s on your mind right now and we’re here for you”.
More than ever, it’s a business’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or equivalent marketing resource who is in the best position to bring the voice of the consumer to the table, which ultimately flourishes the overall consumer experiences.
3 – Employees and Good Leadership
What does it mean to be a good employer and to provide good leadership today?
Put simply, it means being good to one’s employees by offering working conditions in which they flourish and feel good. This can be inclusive of but not limited to:
- Paying proper salaries.
- Providing employees with a certain degree of autonomy and control over their work to develop a true sense of purpose.
- Encouraging opportunities to learn and upskill.
- Providing a good work-life balance.
- Fostering an inspiring, safe and healthy workplace.
In other words, it means you understand and are taking care of your employees. Although this is not a new initiative, it’s been something that’s consistently desired but rarely achieved for a lot of individuals.
Additionally, with new generations entering the workforce, ideas about careers and work are gradually changing. Employees are increasingly looking for careers that offer them a sense of purpose and meaningful life. What this means is that they focus more on what they enjoy, rather than on the sheer necessity of needing a job. This concept doesn’t apply to all circumstances but where there is the luxury of choice is available, more and more individuals are choosing this route.
Additionally, the ever-growing issue here for organisations, is that there is a gradual shortage of skilled people within certain industries. This means businesses then face the challenge of how to attract and keep the right people.
Alternatively, employee job safety aggressively counters the aforementioned as there is an overriding nervousness for a lot of employees that they may lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. In the June Quarter of 2021, New Zealand’s unemployment rate was recorded at 4.0 percent due to our current climate.
Analysing internal and external data or conducting research to develop actionable insights for your business is no small task. However, with our 28+ years of experience within the realm of market research, the HOED Research team will make it look easy.
Our team are readily available to help if you have any questions or queries.
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