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As we mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the world to a virtual standstill, many forward-looking businesses are realising that the trials and tribulations of the pandemic are far from over.

While we close off the first quarter of 2021, it is becoming evident that many challenges still lie ahead, and that some of the effects of the pandemic may become more pronounced over the coming months.

With that said, the last thing that business owners should be doing, is to abandon all growth plans for their business. Inaction may ultimately force companies that are in survival mode to close their doors. Within this context, the three recommendations below are aimed at helping business owners to identify and act on growth opportunities during these uncertain times:

1. Consider new business models

The business landscape has changed more rapidly than ever before, and your company may no longer be at the forefront of its market, or even be relevant anymore. Acknowledge this possibility and explore ways that your company can pivot to a business model that addresses current pandemic-related needs. Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean a complete change in the way you do business – simple changes in the way your business interacts with its customers or tweaking your product delivery approach in light of current safety protocols, could in fact boost your business and set you up for better growth now and into the future.

Of course, this requires you to be vigilant and to stay abreast of changing consumer needs and trends.

2. The customer experience needs to be front-and-centre

The past year has been extremely trying for everyone – not just for your market. Evaluating how the world has changed for your customer is essential, if you are to cultivate growth opportunities in this difficult economy. This may in fact lead you to discover that your intended customer has developed needs for new products, or that some of your products or services have become less relevant in the current marketplace.

Being proactive and discontinuing redundant products before inevitable declines cripple your business is an option that you must explore. For example, savings on production costs may free your company up to focus on viable product lines that have a future. Identifying new product or service opportunities early on will give your business the competitive edge before competitors start to weigh in.

3. Look for more opportunities to collaborate

It’s impressive to note the number of businesses that have recognised the importance of supporting each other throughout the pandemic. However, there is still scope for businesses with similar interests to band together and improve their combined chance of growth.

Reach out to suppliers and other business stakeholders as well as potential partners to brainstorm the needs of your industry. You may be surprised to learn how different the experiences of other businesses in your field are to your own – and there may be more than a few “a-ha” moments in the process!

There are many routes to experiencing growth during this uncertain period, and always remember: Opportunities to build out your business can be found everywhere, even during this ongoing pandemic. Agile businesses that are willing to adapt and collaborate will survive and be successful.

About the Author: Ben Bierman

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Ben Bierman has been our Managing Director since 2015. He joined our company in 1990 and has risen through the ranks occupying various positions ranging from being a management accountant, Head of Information Technology and Chief Financial Officer. Ben is an avid reader, enjoys classical music and being in the outdoors including for hunting trips. He is our go-to-spokesperson for our SME Confidence Index, SME sector policy and trend matters, and business leadership articles.