Unfortunately for many SMEs, the formulation, content, and implementation of their business plans for 2020 and beyond may well have been rendered inapplicable in the light of a pandemic that was unlikely to have been part of their strategic planning. Nevertheless, it has happened, and working out a response which enables them to survive, let alone thrive, is crucial.
Because of the current uncertainty, many businesses are understandably in survival mode and their previous expectations of the coming year have shifted. Moving forward, that need to react quickly and operate in a frictionless and contactless way is likely to remain, as is the understanding that in the post-pandemic world, planning for previously undreamed of scenarios will be normal.
Many SMEs have adapted to changing consumer preferences and accelerated digitising their systems and processes. Similarly, what formed the basis for their strategic planning in the past may not be satisfactory as a basis for their strategic planning in the future.
As things have changed, traditional business models may also have to change. Not only may businesses find themselves planning for various scenarios over which they have no control, they may also plan no further ahead than 6 to 12 months as a matter of course.
However, it is important to try and remember that with accelerated trends, come accelerated new opportunities. A key core strategy will be the willingness and ability of businesses to learn, relearn and adapt their plans and processes, quickly and effectively.
At the moment, the scale and speed of recovery is unknown, and many businesses are reeling – but the opportunity may be there to reconstruct better as well as trying to recover what has been lost.