The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world as we know it. In just a matter of weeks, the effects of the virus and how nations have responded to it has impacted nearly every industry, requiring short-term changes to stay afloat. Dine-in only restaurants are now offering curbside, takeout, and delivery options. Gyms are streaming on-demand workouts. Movie studios like Disney and Universal are offering new releases to rent at home or for “free” on streaming services. Even farmer’s markets are making their products available for purchase online.
For many companies right now, short-term survival is their only goal. The bleak reality is that companies that are not making changes to last into the post-viral era may get left behind. In fact, businesses may never go back to what they were before the pandemic started. Businesses without the digital resources to meet customers where they’re at (home, now; anywhere, the future) will not have a lasting model. So, how can companies make sustainable changes?
Recently, global management consulting firm Mckinsey & Company released their answer to the question being posed by leaders across industries “What will it take to navigate this crisis, now that our traditional metrics and assumptions have been rendered irrelevant?” The firm believes five horizons must be met in order to make it through the pandemic and beyond.
- Resolve — Address immediate challenges for the workforce and customers.
- Resilience — Address cash-management challenges.
- Return — Create a plan of action for returning business to scale.
- Reimagination — Determine how to reinvent for the next “normal”.
- Reform — Note that regulations could affect your plans.
For the sake of this article, we’re focusing on horizons four and five: Return and Reimagination. How do you get past the “survival” mentality to start thriving again? When industry level shifts have never been more necessary, it’s a vital time to test digital products and services — time for diversification and industry level shifts. Those who choose to digitally innovate have a chance to succeed.
Fully assess the current state of your product/service offering.
Is your business at a standstill? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected how customers access your product or service? From your workforce and customers to your technology and business partners, what parts of your organization could go fully digital? Go back to the “why” of your company’s identity, why it started in the first place, and the niche it fills in your industry. Digitalization doesn’t have to mean sacrificing customer interactions or product functionality. Rather, it can simplify and enhance those trades with modern touches and sustainable growth.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Digital innovation doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t have to happen by your company’s own accord. If the majority of your business has succeeded based on contact commerce, it might be hard to think in terms of technology adoption. Now is the time to schedule a meeting with a technology consultancy, like SmallWorld, that accelerates digital products for a living. SmallWorld is offering free 30 minute consultations for businesses during this time, click here to connect with an expert. Leverage industry expertise in using digital products to bring physical products to meet consumers where they are. The point here isn’t to innovate for the sake of innovating. The point is to make your business more resilient, more generative, and more accessible to customers in a world where contactless commerce will become the norm.
Now that your business has been vetted and validated for possible areas of digital transformation, take your ideas and run. Consumers are at home and ready to engage. Your employees are eager to learn new technologies and help the business succeed. Ask loyal customers for their input on your ideas. Use this time of nationwide quarantining to your organization’s advantage by building and testing products/enhancements and allowing natural channels of feedback within the product and on social media.
Your first experiment may not take off. That’s okay. All that matters is that you’re thinking nimbly and outside of the physical box. You’re thinking past short-term survival. Your business, your workforce, and your customers will thank you for that.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford
Digital transformation required across industries was always inevitable. It was just a matter of when. Your business brings value to the world. Now it’s time to ensure that value lasts.