SME success strategies in the wake of a pandemic

forecasting

As Australia recovers from the economic fallout of the pandemic, here are the strategies that will protect your business from the impacts of another downturn and set the scene for success in 2021.

Agility 

The key to success will be to remain agile and adaptive. This is especially true in a year that’s already been marred by sporadic outbreaks and lockdowns.

Agility will set your business up to respond rapidly and flexibly to changes, including announcements of snap lockdowns – like the “billion-dollar lockdown” we saw in Melbourne this February.

Last year, we saw many organisations move to remote working with little notice. While most of our clients did well in the face of this adversity, those that really exceled had a few things in common:

Innovation

Innovation will remain critical to success as businesses that succeed will seek to stand out from their competitors.

Last year saw many businesses pivot to products and services needed in response to the pandemic, products that were in demand, or that better suited supply-chain limitations.

Some of these organisations want to keep capitalising on their new-found success and innovate further. Others should recognise the importance of innovating, especially given the speed at which digitisation sped up over the course of COVID-19. 

Consider whether the Research and Development Tax Incentive is something your organisation can benefit from. A recent increase in the R&D exposure threshold from $100 to $150 million per annum means those businesses that up the intensity of their R&D are the biggest winners.

Planning

It might sound obvious, but planning and setting your desired goals is also vital. This could mean a tweak or a complete revamp of your current plan.

At William Buck, we ask our clients to consider what’s worked for their business in 2020 then distinguish between what was temporary and needed for survival, and what will continue to produce results into the future.

It’s advisable to develop a people strategy this year, if relevant. A volatile 2020 resulted in new remote working procedures, employee wellbeing programs, and, for many, a reduction in hours and pay. Consider how you can prioritise your people, ensure their wellbeing and position your business for success.

Digital readiness

Technology played a major role in business continuity last year, and newly adopted technologies will have a long-lasting impact.

Contactless payments, improved work collaboration tools, telehealth tech and IoT devices are just some of the tech trends that saw increased adoption.

Not only will these continue to boost efficiencies post-pandemic, their preservation will improve the readiness of business in the event of another lockdown or economic crisis.

Social media has also had a significant impact on customer behaviour. With a few Facebook posts and some COVID press, you can drive people straight to the supermarkets – take Toilet paper-gate for example!

Government incentives and stimulus

With the demise of JobKeeper, it’s time to look at the remaining incentives if you’re still in a less than ideal position.

The Federal Government’s business website www.business.gov.au, is a good place to start, with many links to Federal and State Government support measures.While this isn’t an exhaustive list of measures, it’s certainly a start.

Scott Harrington, Director of Business Advisory, William Buck