After over a year of lockdowns and social restrictions, businesses need to adopt the mindset of a startup company. To be more open to change and doing things differently.

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, with the need to find new ways of delivering a great customer experience and people working from home. Changing the way, we work and do business in the modern world.

Our article looks at why more well-established businesses should behave more like a start-up. To drastically improve business agility and respond to the changing environment.

Why Behave like a Startup Company?

Traditional companies are often set in their ways with rigid hierarchies, boundaries and processes. Businesses now need to press the reset button and behave like a start-up, now is the time to be agile, adapt your strategy and culture accordingly so you can respond to the changing environment and market.

Many new start-ups coming into the fold recognise the importance of having technology at their core and how this adds to business agility. For example, FinTech (financial technology) start-ups like Starling Bank are based on simple smartphone apps to manage your finances. Making the process of setting up an account quicker and easier than traditional banks.

Changing Business Models

Futurum Research in North America and Europe revealed that 57% said their entire business model needed to be reconsidered in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

Four key aspects of business have changed in 2020:

  1. How we work
  2. How we do businesses
  3. How we deal with customers, partners and suppliers
  4. Adapting the products and services we offer

It is time to take stock and evaluate what has and what hasn’t worked over the past year.

How COVID Accelerated Innovation

A McKinsey & Company study reported that businesses have on average accelerated their digital offerings with 7 years of progress in a matter of months. They were reacting to the first lockdown, ensuring business continuity was in place and now companies need to focus on how to optimise their remote teams and develop leaner business models.

Stages of business COVID response diagram

The last year has demonstrated that businesses have acted with agility because they had no choice in responding to the environment and the market. They must continue to be agile and flexible and not return to a fixed mindset of being stuck in their ways. Not only to survive the aftermath of lockdown but to thrive going forward.

Adopting Hybrid Working

It is expected that when lockdown ends employees will want to work from home and the office therefore adopting a hybrid working approach. A CIPD and YouGov survey in March 2021 stated that some 40% of employers said they expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home after the pandemic has ended.

Businesses will be confronted with the challenges of implementing and managing hybrid working which will require new management skills further to managing the remote workforce over the last year. Communication will be key to its success.

If not managed well hybrid ways of working will have negative implications for business. Like poor information flow producing knowledge gaps, barriers to effective team working and isolating team members who are not present in the office.

Unified communications are crucial for hybrid working where employees need to work and communicate seamlessly between home and the office. Flexible technology is required to transform internal and external processes such as communication, operations and customer service.

To successfully adopt hybrid working businesses will require a robust and reliant infrastructure to withstand the capacity and capabilities required to ensure they have the desired connectivity and security.

The Move to the Cloud

By moving to a cloud-based telephony solution for example, businesses will be able to scale up and down, facilitate the management of communications, save costs and provide the flexibility to add on new technology and applications when required.

Cloud solutions also deliver analytics on data usage which can be utilised for business decisions and understanding more about the employees and the customers to add value and intelligence.

Seamless Unified Communications

Businesses need to look at deploying a unified communications solution so employees can communicate and collaborate wherever they are. This is a step up from quickly implementing a remote working solution to moving to a comprehensive unified communication solution.

Enabling employees to communicate and collaborate with each other ensuring that it is integrated to your front and back-office systems. Such as a contact centre or CRM to deliver improved communications, automated processes and customer experience. 

Improve Efficiencies with Automation & AI

The pandemic has fast-tracked customer expectations. With demands increasing, the need for a personalised and seamless service has increased dramatically and competition is tougher than ever.

Businesses need to get creative with AI and automation technology to improve the customer experience by optimising processes. Automation solutions can be designed to handle a multitude of digital interactions, self-service options via web chat or AI solutions can deal with customer enquires reducing the cost to serve from £4.00 a phone call to £0.20 using AI.

Time to Act like a Start-up

We must remember when Bill Gates famously stated:

Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent.

When lockdown lifts businesses will embrace a new culture where creativity, innovation and shared ideas are welcome. Employers and employees will operate in a transparent environment where no one is scared to fail. After all if we don’t fail, then how will we evolve?

The COVID pandemic has taught business to to be agile and accept change and that we need to keep moving and not to stand still. Time to act like a startup company!

Our Top 5 Business Learnings from COVID

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