I was reading a great report from Vistage – CEO Projections 2021: Reigniting the Growth Engine. Although written with a strong weighting around the US economy it really highlighted a few things for me, and for us in this part of the world.
Firstly, that we, too, are poised for growth again this year after last year’s crippling downturn in so many sectors. The general consensus seems to be that this will gather momentum during the next few months and we will see a marked uptick from around mid-year, so now is the time for you to be finalising your plans.
Of course, with the massive changes in the market (WFH, online sales, etc.) companies will be looking at make significant investments in technology (the top area identified in the report) and also in people (2nd largest area). These two areas are significantly ahead of all others identified in the investment landscape.
The technology investments will be uiltised for the digital transformation of the business, continual optimising of systems and processes (necessary in this time of great change), and for enhancing cybersecurity – especially important with increased remote working.
On the HR side, companies will be looking to recruit top talent to meet their growth projections in the new market. This will mean something of a ‘war for talent’ so retention strategies will also be a key area, as will upgrading the skills of existing staff to meet the company needs. However, leaders will also need to understand some of the challenges staff are facing in terms of morale and uncertainty, and will need to work on adapting the culture to more staff working remotely whether full-time or part-time. And remember, too, in the higher-growth times ahead succession-planning is even more important with the potential for key performers leaving.
Of course, central to all of this will be managing your external relationships, too. Both customers and suppliers will remember how you worked / interacted with them during the pandemic. Companies that closely partnered with their customers will find a great opportunity to increase business through their existing base, and referrals, potentially taking business from competitors whose customers felt less appreciated, but will need to ensure they are ready for the increased expectations and changing buyer behaviour of both existing and new customers. The sharp decline in face-to-face sales will make switching much easier for customers.
So, what are you doing to ensure your business is ready for growth in this ‘brave new world’? Is your board working with the team to develop appropriate strategies, and are you working hard with your customers and suppliers to understand their needs and the best way forward?
We’re living in exciting times and while the challenge of the pandemic is still with us, there is light ahead and it’s a great time to get ready for growth.