Only when the tide goes out, do you discover who’s been swimming naked
2020 has certainly been an unusual year – but like many other years in history, there are themes and learnings we can apply to what might happen going forward. For example, for several years after the Financial Crisis (of 2007/2008), there was a heavy concentration of activity for mid market mergers and acquisition – some companies which had survived, and even prospered, during that period had cash reserves and an appetite for growth through acquisition. Others who had done less well and perhaps been caught out by the severe shock were forced to take more drastic action – either restructuring or even selling at a reduced price.
COVID-19, like the Financial Crisis, has forced business owners to act – they have had to take action to either ensure survival, pivot to a different way of delivery or even a different product. Others have had to decide to exit, sell or close their business.
We have also seen a substantially increased focus on employee engagement, for people who had teams working from home “unsupervised” they were keen to make sure those employees were connected, engaged, and motivated. The strategy to introduce employee ownership works well in most businesses, with the owners seeking to engage employees and encourage them to think and act like business owners, with all parties benefiting from the improved performance. In difficult times, employees need to fell part of the team.
2021 will also be an interesting year – some countries have managed COVID very well and are already in recovery and growth mode. Others are struggling with COVID still increasing and lockdowns in place – they are only waiting for a vaccine before they can enter growth mode again.
The key lesson here is to think strategically, plan for the long term and ensure your business and your finances are well-managed, strategically planned, risks are mitigated, and you are well-placed to take advantage of whatever opportunities arise in the next 12 to 24 months.
For those who have taken the hard steps in 2020 and prepared well – this is often the best of times to set up for the next ten years.