The last 18 months has been disruptive to say the least. Business owners who initially considered doing nothing in the belief Coronavirus would blow over quickly soon realised that approach wasn’t an option.
Following the initial pause of the nation-wide lockdown in April 2020, businesses regrouped and what we have seen since is three distinct behaviours. In this article, we share our insights on the changes business owners are looking for to remain viable and thrive in changeable business conditions.
While it’s normal to progress through various business lifecycle stages, it’s usually a gradual process over a period of weeks and months, sometimes years. However, the pandemic has been a trigger for migration to these stages more rapidly.
Flight to safety: For many business owners, making the most of the government incentives provided a safe option that would enable them to ride out the worst of the disruption. Their goal was to maintain their position, accepting that they were unlikely to grow, but not wanting to lose too much ground either.
A time of opportunity: Triumph over adversity may well be the catchcry for many business owners who had their heads up and looking for opportunities as COVID unfolded. The term ‘pivot’ became common in the business vernacular. Under pressure to remain viable, ‘time of opportunity’, which is always present for businesses, was suddenly amplified in COVID conditions.
Succession: Succession is a fundamental stage in the business lifecycle. Generally, considered ‘in the distant future’, succession is often relegated to the backburner in favour of more immediate operational priorities. In COVID conditions, succession has earned a newfound appreciation as business owners re-evaluate their business future.
Regardless of the stage our clients are in, or might be moving into, overwhelmingly it’s change they are looking for.
This includes change in expectations of profitability, of productivity and of efficiencies, particularly from the amount of time directly invested by the business owners themselves. When placing value in their time, business owners are more closely assessing their reward for effort and how that should be reflected in their sense of financial direction.
For us working with businesses during this time, we’ve seen more winners than losers. This is partly due to our location, as Queensland businesses haven’t experienced the severe lockdowns that have been imposed on the southern states. But it’s also because our clients recognise that ‘winning’ the long game is a team effort that includes professional advice.
Engaging with your professional team, including us as your accountant and business advisors, brings technical know-how and practical support, as well as experience and fresh insight, without having our judgement clouded by being ‘buried in the weeds’ of the situation.
We understand that in times of uncertainty, the big picture can only be apparent when you have confidence in your numbers. Evaluating the numbers and forecasting current trends along with future and ‘what if’ scenarios provide credible insights enabling well-considered decision making.
Clarity also does wonders for business owner confidence.
Even if the evidence isn’t great, it enables strategy to be developed and opportunity to implement solutions that can make the best of difficult situations and set the business up to thrive when opportunities present.
Now more than ever, business owners need to be armed with clear and accurate information that enables better forward planning and better decision making.
Being prepared will do much to mitigate the shock of events, be they COVID, drought, floods or bushfires, so decision making is part of a plan rather than losing unnecessary ground by having to constantly regroup.
As business owners ourselves, we’ve had to practice what we preach. That’s involved implementing the advice approach we use with our clients. We’ve analysed our own numbers, implementing clear strategy for budgeting and cashflow, reviewed our business structure, asset protection, tax planning and other business advisory matters.
By taking these actions, we have and will continue to pursue our own desire for change, and we want to say quite clearly, we’re here to help you find the change you’ve been looking for too.
P+Y Accountants and Business Advisors are known for expanding the possibilities for professionals and enterprising business owners.
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