What is the New Business Normal?

I haven’t written a blog in a while. That’s unusual since I tend to do one or more each week. In truth I’ve been focused on other things. In lock-down, I’ve been working to ensure that the wheels still turn and that we are operational. There is so much uncertainty that, outside of key industries, few have been untouched by the crisis.

The Need to Pivot

I’ve read a lot about the need to ‘pivot’ one’s business. What are you doing to pivot? It’s isn’t always possible. I like the idea that some restaurants are moving to offer takeaways. Obvious perhaps, but even in these tough times, opportunities pop up for business development. Clearly, that isn’t the case currently for tourist destinations, and for leisure destinations. But, let’s hope that they can continue to operate, that they can be innovative and resourceful, and that they are supported by the public once lock-down ends in the summer.

Flexibility is the New Normal

It’s likely that the business landscape will be different when we emerge. Many businesses will re-evaluate how they do business operationally and otherwise. Can staff work from home more frequently? Do they still need the expensive premises? Can flexible working actually work? There are lots of decisions to be made. Flexibility is going to be vital from employers and employees. We must not let bureaucracy and inflexible rules dictate how the future looks. Big companies take note.

New Models will Emerge 

New ideas will come out. Business development will also demand greater creativity and thought. Undoubtedly, there will be a move to online, to the virtual world. However, it’s important that we ensure that peer to peer communication remains. Relationships count for a lot. We don’t want to live in a virtual world. Let’s hope that, at both a local and national level, we see opportunities for working together to put local first. It’s probable that there will be a move towards online but perhaps there will also be a shift in how we purchase and a move away from large format retailing. 

Local is Beautiful

Buying locally is most definitely not a message for a Brexit-induced isolation. Rather, we should support local communities by considering local purchasing to help them flourish. We will be sad when they’ve gone if they don’t have the ability to weather the storm. The over-reliance on foreign-produced goods is a risky strategy. There will be opportunities for UK businesses as we emerge. But, how far will consumers go to pay for locally produced goods? How far can the government go to support those providers?

Habits Need to Change

This is a time for us all to reconsider. I don’t believe that habits will change easily. Once we are allowed to do so, will we flock to UK coastal resorts, the Lake District and beyond for our summer holidays? Let’s hope they see a Renaissance. Will leisure businesses that service customers still be open if we do? Or, will we resume our old patterns for travel and for other consumption. 

Large Businesses Need to Take the Lead

The situation in which we find ourselves challenges us all to think outside the box. Let’s all be supportive of each other. 

And, here’s a plea to large businesses that they should make it easy for small businesses to trade with them. That includes:

  • favourable contract terms
  • simplifying compliance and,
  • fair payment terms. 

I’d welcome Government action in order to encourage this. It’s a joint effort. Every business and employee needs to take responsibility and do what’s right for us to come out of this in a positive manner. We can’t get through the other side just to resume business as ‘normal’. Normal is where we were. A new normal needs to be constructed. And, that’s likely to be a more flexible pattern of working, buying and of doing business. Let’s hope those that make the decisions in every respect grasp the opportunity. 

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