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Refreshing Insights

If anything has become certain for business owners in the past few months, it’s that nothing about the immediate future is certain. Economic fallout from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic will be significant, but economists can’t yet predict the shape of the expected recession or foretell the U.S. recovery. 

For the past month, organizations have been fighting for their very survival, barely keeping up with evolving conditions—forced closures, furloughs, work from home or social isolation. As the world starts to emerge from the immediate shock, however, businesses looking to overcome a struggling economy will need to reevaluate how they plan to operate in the future.

Thanks to technology and shifting consumer behaviors, many industries have experienced significant change in the past two decades. The companies that have thrived have taken proactive steps to adapt to evolving technologies and satisfy consumer demands. What will it take now to capitalize on future opportunities and succeed? 

The answer to that question will be different for every business, but a good place to start is with an old-fashioned SWOT analysis to get a full picture of your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses as well as your external opportunities and threats. This kind of analysis might feel especially difficult during a time of uncertainty, but a white board and a pot of coffee may give you just what you need to get through this difficult time.

Once you have a firm grasp on who you are in the changing marketplace, you can start to strategize your next steps and use this as an opportunity to evolve and grow.

Know your company’s strengths. What do you do particularly well? What internal talent or proprietary technology do you have? What is your niche product line or key revenue stream? Consider factors that give you an advantage over competitors and be honest if any of these components may have been altered by COVID-19. You have likely discovered how disruptions in other businesses, industries or countries affects your main revenue streams. If you want to retain an advantage, now is a good time to build resiliency into the strengths of your operation.

Know your company’s weaknesses. On the other side of the coin, what does your company lack? What are your resource limitations? What do your competitors do better than you? Consider the things that put you at a disadvantage. For a lot of companies, COVID-19 shined a painfully bright light on their shortcomings. Many companies learned they have a weak supply chain. Others found they lack adequate human resources knowledge to navigate this situation. Whatever it is, risks created by weaknesses should be prioritized and managed.

Know the market opportunities. What are the emerging market trends? Is there high demand for a certain type of product or service? How are other industries changing? Think about the ways that your company could serve these needs. On the other side of COVID-19, working remotely may emerge as a much more normal thing that could include expanding remotely into new markets or hiring individuals in other states.

Know the market threats. What market trends could negatively impact you or get in the way of your success? What role do your weaknesses play? Could these threats possibly represent an opportunity if you improve your weaknesses or better capitalize on your strengths? As much as you may have learned through this situation, so have your competitors. To capitalize on opportunities, it will be important to adapt to the market quickly. 

You’ve Got This

This isn’t the first time that American companies have reinvented themselves or found and capitalized on specialty products or services. Organizations often grow because of strategic decisions in the face of difficult times. Moves that most likely came from business soul-searching and a similar SWOT analysis.

The COVID-19 pandemic and social isolation has forced every business in the world into a temporary adjustment, but sometimes temporary changes like these make permanent ripples across an entire ecosystem.

American entrepreneurs are no strangers to adversity. Companies who take the opportunity to forge new paths, learn and grow will weather the storm and reinvent their businesses again. 

For tools and resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our coronavirus resource page.

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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.