Robert Jordan said, “The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.” This is an important lesson we can take from 2020 when many companies found that the way they were used to doing business no longer worked well for them. The keys for survival during the pandemic (and beyond) is to develop business resilience and agility, as well as pivoting quickly when circumstances change. The right finance and operations planning tools can help you stay on course and grow your business during this unprecedented time.
Business Resilience Defined
What do we mean by business resilience? It’s being able to react quickly and economically to changes without a major disruption. These changes may fall in the areas of finances, business laws and regulations, industry trends, etc. Some industries are more volatile than others. Over the next several quarters, the businesses that prosper will be the ones that have focused on building up their resilience and nimbleness.
Aberdeen Survey on Business Resilience
Aberdeen launched a study to look at how businesses could maximize performance in an atmosphere of uncertainty. To get answers, the company worked with 1,976 respondents to find out what kinds of tactics the most resilient companies are using and whether these tactics have been successful.
Technology is still a priority, with the majority of respondents. Seventy-seven percent of the companies surveyed stated that they are “continuing or increasing” the amount they are spending on technology.
The survey also revealed companies have experienced significant challenges in shifting employees to a remote workforce. Now that a significant number of employees are working from home, 70% of employees surveyed say they are pleased with the arrangement.
Work-from-home employees shared that their main challenge was being unable to communicate and collaborate with colleagues in person, followed by interruptions from family members (including pets) during the workday.
The study also found the companies surveyed have seen a 14% drop in revenue. Most of the revenue loss has been due to customer demand fall off.
How to Build Business Resilience in 2021
1. Communicate regularly with your customers.
It’s important to collaborate with customers to determine how the current business environment is impacting their organizations. This data is key for forecasting and placing orders. When demand shifts, you will want your business to respond quickly and appropriately.
2. Connect your finance and planning operations.
The next step in building business reliance is to improve your ability to analyze financial and operational data. Ideally, you want to have a real-time view of all your business operations so that you and your management team can make better, more thoughtful decisions.
3. Increase the amount of your working capital.
Take a look at your books and do what is feasible to generate cash. Put it aside so that it can be used to work for your business.
4. Implement automation across work processes.
The idea of automation is not to replace a person’s “job.” Instead, automation breaks down segments of a job into different tasks. It helps to check off whether a task has been performed or moves it along to the next person to be dealt with. Automate your data imports, financial consolidations, and forecasting to keep your financial departments running smoothly. The updated data is crucial to respond to changes appropriately.
The right business software will give you valuable insights that will help keep your operation resilient as you move through 2021. Sage 100 gives you a complete view of your business from a desktop computer, tablet, or handheld device. For more information or a personal consultation, contact ASI today.