The COVID 19 pandemic has forced the hand of business owners and demanded that the way we work and operate businesses be revised. Data from a recent Yelp study shows that 60% of businesses on the platform have permanently closed. Business owners and managers have had to rethink their business models from top to bottom to survive and grow. Restaurants began offering meal kits and take-out wine, grocery stores had to start offering curbside pick up and delivery, and retail stores now had to build e-commerce stores. Almost every business, regardless of its industry, was affected by the pandemic—some in a positive way and some in a negative way. A significant difference between the businesses that survived and thrived, and the businesses that failed, was their ability to implement the four main pillars of digital transformation—people, preparedness, proactive and pivoting.
With just about all governments worldwide at one point or another issuing stay-at-home mandate, companies were forced to allow their employees to work from home if possible. Though this may have caused some companies quite a bit of money to ensure all employees had the tools they needed to do so, the companies that adopted this successfully saw many benefits to employees working remotely. For example, a 2013 Stanford study found that the work from anywhere model can increase productivity by 20%. This also means that companies won’t need as ample office space as they used to or possibly won’t need any office space at all, ultimately keeping more money in the company.
The companies that didn’t have the digital infrastructures in place before the government work from home mandates were given, found themselves at a disadvantage to their competitors who did. In order to stay amongst their industry leaders, companies must build dynamic and flexible business operations. The next step for them to take to be prepared is to increase their information security and cyber security measures. With so much valuable information being managed outside the confined space of the office, the risk for information or cyber security breach is heightened.
Just like the businesses who already had digital infrastructures in place before the pandemic, and the businesses who are now actively ensuring their information and networks are all secured and able to withstand attacks, the proactive ones will adapt no matter the circumstance. The advancements and speed of technology have gotten clients and customers accustomed to tailored, speedy responses to their problems. Business owners must also use all the technology at their disposal to capture as much data as possible to best help their employees serve their customers and clients.
Pivoting & Exploring
As a business owner, it’s hard to spend time, money, and resources on a project or idea without knowing if it will ever be needed or received well by your employees and customers. However, this is the only way for businesses to get ahead of their competitors. Unlike ten years ago, it is extremely affordable for companies to build MVPs(Minimum Viable Product), test them, and see which ones can assist in transforming their business. If companies continue ‘just competing’ with their competition, they will always be in what Rene Mauborgne called in her book, Blue Ocean Strategy, a “Red Ocean.”