Guest authored by Jason Toshack, General Manager ANZ at Oracle NetSuite
So far, 2020 has been a challenging year for many Australian businesses. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that two-thirds of Aussie businesses have reported a decrease in revenue compared to last year.
Business leaders have had to adapt fast, including re-thinking how they deliver products and services and how they support their workforce. These challenges are all too common in business and can strike at any time, so having a plan in place to navigate these times is essential. Here are three ways business leaders can build resilience.
Communicate transparently with your team
The ABS reports that nearly half of Australian businesses have already made changes to workforce arrangements this year. Employees are looking to business leaders for guidance on how to move forward amidst uncertainty.
This is when the benefits of communicating transparently becomes more important to ensure workers stay motivated and aligned to the company mission. Businesses with a ‘clearly articulated and understood’ vision also perform better in the long run.
To succeed, business leaders need to clearly define the business vision through regular communication with their employees to ensure it remains front and centre. This is especially vital during times of change, as it can be all too easy to focus on what may be ‘urgent,’ but not valuable. The vision must also be tied to objectives as this drive strategy and actions. Everything should ladder back up to the purpose and be measurable, so employees can see what impact they are having and how their actions are moving the needle on the business’ goals. Doing so will make it far easier for teams to stay motivated and filter out non-core activities.
Use data to drive operational value and reduce costs
With alignment around a common business vision, business leaders should use data to drive greater transparency about the value of every activity. Data informs insight-driven decision making, which can help business leaders direct resources toward effective action.
To be truly effective, data should be easily accessible in a unified platform that everyone can use to identify issues and opportunities that require attention. Centralised data provides this visibility and enables a new level of operational productivity, as opposed to static spreadsheets that fail to give business leaders the real-time data they need.
Data could be used to help qualify which platforms customers are engaging with most regularly and inform how budgets could be reallocated to the best-performing products and services. Data can also be used to examine order fulfilment times or inventory levels to show how effective, and efficient, logistics processes are and where they can be improved during times of increased ecommerce spending.
Stay connected with your customers through technology and collaboration
Technology can help businesses stay connected, enabling teams to access common resources, including sales data and provides an avenue to stay in touch with customers. Beyond helping businesses overcome challenges, or deal with new working arrangements, tech tools can also help businesses capitalise on opportunities, such as ecommerce spending, which has seen explosive growth over the last few months.
While it may initially seem counter-intuitive, periods of economic ambiguity may be the best time to focus on technology investments.
When a business is rapidly growing, business leaders tend to allocate budget to develop products or services to meet customer demand. However, when demand experiences a lull, there may be less spending in these areas, freeing up budget for initiatives that can help unlock long-term growth plans and operational efficiencies – benefits that are far-reaching. Using data-driven insights, business leaders will be able to confidently identify where extra investment in technology will pay dividends.
It is beneficial for leaders to align the business to its core vision in times of instability. With the vision clearly established, business leaders and their teams will be empowered to streamline their priorities to focus on value-generating activities, with the help of data-driven insights and technology. This will help build long-term business resilience and customer loyalty which will serve the business well into the future.