For some time now I have been talking about the need for businesses to be adaptable and flexible during this global pandemic.  I’ve discussed the importance of coaching and mentoring your teams to streamline productivity, alongside the need for resilience in these challenging times. A key element of adaptability that we still need to reflect on is how to approach the new fiscal year.

January did not, unfortunately, deliver the positive beginning to 2021 we had hoped for but in April we embark on a new financial year which could bring with it the fresh start we all need. The insights in this article will help you to keep your business focused on planning for the new financial year ahead.

Technology is Key

Cutting edge technology is vital to help you keep your business competitive and progressive. COVID has compelled us to embrace the virtual environment to its fullest potential, from online meetings to complex financial contracts. Regularly updating your technology and ensuring your team is properly trained in its use will help to protect your business during this time when social distancing is still preventing face-to-face contact.

As this article from apm states, a renewed focus on using technology in your business will help you to increase productivity and ensure that the needs of your clients are met seamlessly, well into the new financial year.

Set common goals

A new financial year is the perfect time to set targets for your business that everyone on your team can strive towards. This BCG article points towards a case study where employees at Tata Steel BSL in India adopted new work protocols to ensure maximum employee safety during the initial stages of the pandemic. Establishing ‘work pods’ that were individually accountable proved challenging at first, but ultimately perseverance with the new system of working yielded positive financial results for the company as productivity was maintained throughout.

A bonus was that employees, by embracing the suggested changes and adapting the way they worked, felt they were a part of the solution, contributing to the continued viability of the company. Positive team morale helps us to foster a productive environment to allow our companies to thrive.

Quality not quantity

Due to the prolonged closure of retail premises and the associated drop in sales throughout lockdown, many businesses will struggle to recover financially. When businesses do reopen, some will attempt to sell their stock and attract customers back using sales and incentives. This might involve large numbers of sales with low profit margins, with the intention of rebalancing margins at a later date once habits have been restored. This could be a mistake, because research shows that people are missing valuable experiences, and that there is pent-up spending power. Offering a lower value product or service for a lower price may not be the way to relaunch and recoup lost income. Adaptable, in this sense, can be seen as adapting your offer to create a better service, an improved experience, and become an essential part of your client’s post-lockdown life.

This article from Harvard Business School makes the point that it might be more prudent for businesses to rethink their business models and encourage spending online, even when face to face outlets can open. Just as many companies are considering closing office buildings, many retailers may consider shrinking their asset base of high street space.

Swedish furniture company IKEA stands out as a beacon of adaptability. When it ventured into Russia with its traditional homeware goods, it found that the value of nearby shops increased.  So, to improve its income IKEA also invested in building shopping centres to bring other retailers close and help to create new habits amongst Russian shoppers.

Find out more about adaptability for the new financial year

If you’d like to find out more about applying adaptability concepts to help you thrive in the coming year, talk to us about AQai – an approach to measuring and improving adaptability in individuals, teams and organisations. We can help you to measure and improve your own adaptability.

If you’re not sure what direction your business needs to take as we hopefully emerge from lockdown, and you just want to talk through the thoughts that are flying around in your head, I’ve set aside part of my working week to offer free mini Executive Coaching and Mentoring to people who would value some help in adopting new ways of working. Get in touch if you’d like to talk.