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3 things to do to ensure your business steer through the pandemic and come out on top.

“In the face of a global crisis, well-prepared businesses can help protect their workers and their bottom lines” culled from Strategy+Business

The content of most emails relating to the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic have been pretty much identical. Business organizations have been increasing awareness on hygiene, implementing work-at-home policies and so on

This post intends to provide a structured framework for businesses to reduce the economic shocks of the virus on achieving their business targets for the year. Everyone organization is unique, but we hope that this article provides a guide to help your team at least better-frame their thoughts on how to tackle the high level of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

Who needs a COVID-19 strategy?

I think that people have realized that the virus is going to have a negative impact on the vast majority of organizations. The coronavirus pandemic is devastating the global economy. Oil prices have dropped sharply, air travel is demand has declined, sports leagues and big events are being canceled, countries are battling to keep the virus outside their borders by putting up travel restrictions, and public health officials and hospitals are gearing up for the worst.

Developing your own COVID-19 strategy is pretty similar to how you would any other strategy. In other words, a simple Strategy Model that includes concise Objectives (outcomes) that you want to achieve, supported by the strategic Initiatives (actions) you’ll be implementing to get there and the KPIs (measures) that you’re trying to positively impact.

According to Statistica.com global travel business wil loose about $800bn due to covid 19

There will also be the need to develop and implement a performance monitoring system that tracks your strategy execution. If you do not have this, no problem. H. Pierson has numerous resources to get you started on effective execution & monitoring of your organizational strategy.

 

Critical areas to consider in the development of your COVID-19 Plan

Your COVID- 19 strategy plan should be driven and centered around the following

  • Restructuring your business
  • Re-positioning your product
  • Redesigning your marketing & sales funnels

Let’s dive in deeper!

 

Restructuring your business

The economic impacts of COVID-19 are most likely going to be negative to your business. With many parts of the world including Nigeria exploring a lockdown to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, the rising cost of the outbreak for businesses and the global economy is coming closer home. Sales will reduce in tandem with market confidence.

Thus, there is need to ensure that your cost structure is positioned appropriately to offset this. This basically speaks to the survival and sustainability of your business in the short term, and there will be tough decisions to be taken to prepare your business to weather this storm. You therefore must take the requisite steps to effectively reduce where needed and do so straight away.

 

See below a sample objective, initiative and KPI that can be implemented by your business:

 

OBJECTIVE INITIATIVE KPI
Restructure workforce to ensure commensuration with current business demand Conduct audits of all staff productivity and make adjustments to employee headcount Reduce overall wage costs by 15%

 

 

Note that reducing head-count cannot occur without causing some discomfort. However, your ability to quickly take decisive steps about people who either aren’t pulling their weight, or who won’t be able to pull their weight in the short term will actually protect the business in the medium to long term. The best time is now!!!

Restructuring your business does not have to be about cutting down on your staff cost alone, there are other ways to minimize costs without the risks of losing out on opportunities to grow.

You also want to start thinking about minimizing your cash flow outgoings over the next few months, even if in the long term that means spending more money. When it comes to survival cash is usually king!

Finally, with regards to restructuring, endeavor to minimize the amount of account receivables owed to you, taking into consideration that you won’t be the only one trying to reduce costs, your customers might be too.

 

Re-positioning your product/service

In the previous point, we emphasized reduction of costs to a minimum. Inevitably, that means reducing expenditure on anything that could be considered a luxury or even a non-necessity. The reverse-side of taking that advice, is that your product or service could fall into that luxury or non-necessity category, unless you do something about it.

This will of course apply different to different businesses. Toilet-paper and hand sanitizer companies are sitting pretty at the moment as you’ve no-doubt read in the news. Whereas fine-dining restaurants, hotels, airline and travel companies have seen a noticeable drop in demand and revenue.

The question therefore is, where does your product or service fall on the necessity to luxury scale?

 

Here are some action steps that you can implement:

  • Reassess the current perception of your product/service and categorize based on necessity to luxury
  • Determine the products that can be re-positioned as ‘necessity’
  • Develop a revised marketing strategy for the re-positioned product/service
  • Implement revised marketing across your key channels

 

Be careful not to just focus on new customers though, you’ve got existing customers that you also need to persuade of your value in these difficult times:

You’re going to have to go above and beyond in ensuring that customers remain engaged with your product / service. This may mean accepting lower margins and giving away features or extras that would normally be reserved for higher paying customers.

 

Redesign your marketing and sales funnels

It is expected that due to the current business environment induced by the COVID- 19 virus, some businesses will fail, some will survive but may never be the same. Others will survive, consolidate and then flourish – perhaps even stronger than they did before.

One of the biggest changes that may remain a norm, is the accelerated shift to digital interactions that and that may likely continue even after the virus situation abates. Therefore, the way that future buyers and customers interact with your business will never be the same again.

For some organizations, this may not a major shift. However, the shock of this change to faceless interaction will be massive. Physical commerce as always comes to mind, but this change will also affect entertainment (streaming services up, cinemas down), consulting services (old-school accountants have started embracing Zoom).

 

Are you prepared for this change? Here are some steps you might want to consider:

 

  • Identify and benchmark best-practices in digital marketing for your industry marketing
  • Develop digital sales & marketing strategy that reflects current trends
  • Rapidly implement an accelerated adoption of the digital marketing strategy solutions to your business

Your organization may be good at digital marketing, but remember that your competitors will also stepping up massively in this regard too. costs, Digital marketing is definitely an area where additional investment is almost certainly prudent. If in doubt, start by hiring an expert in this space, even in a temporary capacity to help you get started.

 

Think outside the box as regards selling your products/services, and accept that your customers may not be willing / able to churn out huge amount of money upfront. The ability to rapidly adapt your business model may be the difference between survival, failure or success in the next 6 months.

 

Stay positive & resolute

 

Need to bridge the gap between your strategy development & execution? Book a time with someone from our team!


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In a bid to develop a long-term view to strategic planning for Plateau State, the Executive Governor of the state, Rt. Hon Simon Bako Lalong, recently organised a four-day retreat to unveil the broad vision for his second term in office and to kick off the policy execution for the state.

At the session, the Plateau State Government made a commitment to expand investment in what it considered areas of strength, which included tourism, agriculture and mining, in order to boost job creation, revenue generation and the long-term sustainable development of the state.

A statement explained that leading the functional level strategy and retreat sessions was H. Pierson Associates Limited, a leading indigenous consulting firm in Nigeria with expertise in Public Governance Advisory and Strategic Consulting.

The retreat which held at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, had in attendance members of the State Executive Council (SEC), Permanent Secretaries and Heads of key government agencies and departments.

Themed ‘New Imperatives for Sustaining the Rescue Agenda in the Next Level’, the Governor and members of his government made a commitment to focus less on Federal Allocation for the funding of capital projects.
“Instead, the government will aim to improve internally generated revenue within the state,” the statement quoted him to have said.

Executive Vice Chairman, H. Pierson Associates, Mrs. Eileen Shaiyen, while speaking on the success of the retreat stated that it was important for governments at all levels – federal, state and local – to engage in such strategic long-term planning in order to achieve tangible growth in Nigeria.
She added: “H. Pierson Associates has been deliberate about offering public governance advisory and consulting services to governments because we believe this is of crucial importance to the delivery of sustainable development in the states and the country as a whole.

“This includes state medium and long-term governance strategy designs, restructuring of MDAs, conducting peer governance reviews, retreats facilitation, research and more. The better our Governments are able to perform, the faster our economic growth. With Plateau and other states we are working with, we expect to begin seeing the results in the short to mid-term.”

According to the statement, to ensure the retreat was robust, facilitators and resource persons invited included representatives of the federal government and regulatory agencies, doyens of industries and academia, the development community, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and security agencies.


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The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) recently lent support to the global strive for the achievement of the sustainability principles, particularly gender parity.
This came to the fore at its recent workshop on gender mainstreaming, which was facilitated by the Emerging Businesses & Sustainability Unit of H. Pierson Associates, a leading management consulting firm.

The workshop was in furtherance of the declaration made by the Executive Secretary of the Board Engineer Simbi Wabote, at their 2018 Practical Nigerian Content Workshop, to promote affirmative action in the oil and gas industry and engender the participation of more women.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for women in the oil and gas industry to deliberate on issues affecting their entry into the sector as employees or entrepreneurs, their career advancement to top positions, their peculiar challenges, as well as showcase role models and share their success stories.

The Executive Vice Chairman, H. Pierson Associates, Mrs. Eileen Shaiyen, outlined key success factors for female corporate executives and entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector.

She stated during a panel session that the reasons why most women crashed out along the way was their inability to effectively balance their desires for a career, with the demands of motherhood, building a family and responding to adverse societal stereotypes about the role of women.

To get to the top, she encouraged women to set clear career targets for themselves, build a strong support system and stay very focused. She also emphasized the need for them to abhor mediocrity and strive for excellence always.

On his part, Wabote stated in his welcome address that the NCDMB would use its platform to drive subtle policy decisions that could give women some edge in their activities in the oil and gas sector. Also in his closing remarks he emphasised that the NCDMB would put together a robust implementation strategy, which would address the outcomes of the workshop in the short, medium and long term.

Speaking also at the event during a panel session was a sustainability expert, Dr. Natalie Beinisch, which focused on “Overcoming barriers to career progression and mentoring the next generation”. She shed great insight on how women can overcome barriers as they progress in their careers.

Beinisch, highlighted that women should be more aggressive in taking advantage of opportunities. They should erase the thought that top positions in the oil and gas industry are for men alone. Women should be more authentic, show capacity and interest each time they are called upon, and very importantly women should possess the virtue of integrity in their careers and business progression.
The event also witnessed the presence of some important dignitaries, which included Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, who presented a keynote address. Goodwill messages were also received from Mrs. Hadiza Bala-Usman Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and Engr. Mrs. Joana Olutunmbi Maduka, Rep. Women in Energy Board of Trustees.

H. Pierson Associates, is a boutique-consulting firm with over 60 seasoned professionals with varied experiences in both the private and public sectors. The firm has been in operation for over 29 years, playing a leading role in providing consulting and capacity building solutions in various sectors of the economy (power, oil & gas, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture, etc) in Nigeria and the West Coast.
It provides uncommon value-adding solutions to its clients towards the achievement of their business objectives.


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