From the 4th July, more of our economy can ‘unlock’. More businesses will reopen and more people will be back at work. There is a strong steer in Government guidance about the importance of technology to facilitate a smooth reopening and support social distancing, whilst maximising revenues.
Customers are likely to be nervous about engaging with our businesses in the way that they previously would have. Online meetings and presentations, previously possible but not overly utilised are increasingly prevalent. Office spaces lie dormant. Retail businesses, once allowed to open, will do so with restrictions to preserve the health and wellbeing of staff and customers alike.
We as business owners must recognise that the way we operate must change to take account of these shifting mindsets. We must continue to embrace technology so that we can continue to operate. We must replace physical touch-points with our customers with digital ones. We must use technology to adapt our operational business models so that we are able to market, sell and fulfill orders, manage our teams and recruit effectively. We must exploit technology to diversify our business models and to go to our customers, rather than them coming to us.
This is not all doom and gloom – it’s just change. And in every crisis, every challenge, every change there is opportunity. If technology enables our businesses to operate effectively from a fractured and varied business-base then why not continue to do so? Why pay thousands for physical office spaces that are superfluous to requirements? Once we replace our physical boundaries and our customer’s physical touch-points with digital ones we can then recruit the best and brightest talent for our businesses, not from individuals who live within a certain mile radius of our office premises, but from people across the globe; we can operate around the clock, we can break-down barriers and tap in to wider markets previously inaccessible.
The possibilities are endless, and will be different for many businesses based on their sector and their individual capabilities. What is a certain is that the way and route through which our economy revives is by harnessing the power of digital and that “business as usual” needs redefining.
Digital Catalyst is a free support programme targeted at SMEs across Humber to help them better use technology to redefine business as usual and to get them restarted and thriving in these unusual times.