Building better businesses

Phone Email Contact

Managing the R Rate - REVIEW for Business Recovery

Managing the R Rate - Strategies to get your business back on track during uncertain times is a series of insights by Mark Harris from The Business Company aimed at company owner/manager/directors.  The series acknowledges five integrated strategic threads that all organisations are facing, and how they can implement them within their business to accelerate a successful transformation as we move through the next phase of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

We’ve heard so much about the ‘R Rate’ and suppressing the ‘R Rate’ in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Every business owner/manager/director should be starting to evaluate their own business against what I see as 5 Rs; Review, Re-design, Return, Recover and Re-assess.

The first of those Rs is Review.  This involves reviewing every facet of your business, looking in detail  - both internally and externally, at your own organisation, identifying the business climate you find yourself in, the market for your product/service,  your  current customer base, the short-term economic situation in your sector and defining what needs to be addressed both immediately and in the short-term to start moving the business forward (in the right direction).

The Review begins with a marketplace, competitor, and financial analysis and then progresses through to an assessment of leadership, management, and organisational structure. All of this will be underpinned by reviewing the systems and processes within the organisation to ensure compliance and business agility.

Questions need asking about every component of your business, and that starts with a thorough marketplace analysis. Prepare to sit down, with (or without) your management team and create a picture of the market that you were in before Covid-19, and exactly what that market looks like now.

Everybody is finding it very difficult to analyse the market and predict what the Post-Covid world is going to look like, but we’ve got to put a marker in the ground somewhere. Now is the time for some blue-sky thinking about where your business is presently, and where you would like it to be in 3 months’ time, in 12 months’ time.  At this stage it’s not going to be necessary to look much further forward than that.

Having done the marketplace analysis, is there still the demand?  Is there likely to be demand in 3 months, in 12 months?

You then need to look at that landscape in terms of competitors, by undertaking a competitor analysis. Where are your competitors? Where and how are/were you positioned against them? Where and how are you positioned against them now?  Use key criteria to undertake the analysis.

How many competitors are there out there? What type of competitors are there? A price analysis would also work here; what are your competitors doing now in order to gain market share? Remember, everybody is going to be trying to buy market share as we move out of this pandemic.

Externally, the customer still comes first. It is imperative to assess here what your customers/clients are thinking. Have their needs changed? Has demand shifted due to Covid 19? Reviewing and understanding the current client/customer relationship management process makes it easier re-engage with customers, understand any new issues, and work out how, as a supplier, you can provide support to match that demand.  Understanding the ins and outs of your existing relationship with customers is a must, before you begin to redefine and then build upon that relationship.

Understanding the financial situation is also paramount, in terms of working capital requirements. Reviewing the budget and developing contingencies and understanding exactly where you are at the moment, and what finance you need to support the business moving forward is critical.

The ‘people’ part comes next. Turn your attention initially to the leaders and managers in your organization. Have they the capability? Is it what you are looking for? Do you need all of the managers and the leaders that you’ve currently got? Having done the analysis of managers, look at the organizational structure and the operational roles and responsibilities, undertaking the same process. What will the team be moving forward?  It’s critical to note here that if you have to prune, prune very quickly, and prune hard. You can always build it back. Establishing a low-cost base and being an agile business in what undoubtedly is going to be a fast-moving, turbulent and evolving marketplace is crucial.

Ensure that your business has got the competencies and the capabilities to enable it to take advantage of the opportunities you see out there in the marketplace. Feel confident that you’ve got the right team with clear succession planning, training, and development in place.  Communicate, communicate, communicate! That means communicating externally to the market, but equally, in implementing your plans, you must take your people with you. Communicate with your teams. Now you have started to evolve, you have done the review and committed to an emerging plan, it’s important that you give confidence to the entire team that you have a plan and are ready and able to move forward.

Underpinning all of this, is the final thread of the Review-R, to reconsider all systems and processes, and ensure that you have agility there. From office services to sales, marketing and business development processes, HR and personnel operations, through to health and safety, new Covid-related regulations, financial systems, marketing, PR and quality. Compliance in ALL of these areas will become much more important. From there, you will be able to define new ways of working and develop new working practices that are flexible enough for staff to feel confident and comfortable in operating back in the work environment.

Once the Review is done, you will have a snapshot picture and overall profile of your business, data that goes back over the last three to six months, and some projections of where the marketplace stands now and how your business fits into that space. The Review gives you the foundations that will enable you to take the business forward, and leads us nicely into the second R; Re-engineer/Redesign which will be our next key focus content piece.