WARNING There’s Nothing “New” or “Normal” About It!
If there was ever a time when the power of words and their ability to shape our perceptions and actions was more evident, I can’t remember it.
Just three months ago the word was “CRISIS”. COVID CRISIS. Health CRISIS. Financial CRISIS. It was appended to everything … and we reacted accordingly. Withdrawing into self-imposed isolation. Donning masks and gloves. And waiting fearfully for the sky to fall in.
Which, of course, it did not!
Now the ubiquitous phrase is “NEW NORMAL”. Crisis averted, phew!. Safety net in place. Effective support available. Nothing to worry about … we’re simply “pivoting” (I hate that word) to the NEW NORMAL.
A phrase that is lulling as into a false sense of security when, once again, nothing could be further from the truth. Or, in this case, more dangerous for a business owner to believe.
Putting language to one side for a moment, the purpose of this article is to clarify and identify what is required to succeed in the “Same-same but Different” environment we now find ourselves in.
The truth of the matter is, there is not much that is “new” or “normal” about the current business environment.
- There is nothing new about a recession. We’ve been through recessions before (two consecutive quarters of negative GDP). And there is little doubt that we are entering one now.
- Whilst the length and severity of this recession is unknown, like all recessions before it, this one:
- Will affect some industries more than others
- Will affect some businesses more than others
- Will create growth opportunities for those businesses who adapt best and fastest
- Also, like previous recessions, this one will cause (is already causing):
- A spike in unemployment
- A surge in bankruptcies and business closures
- A credit-squeeze
- A reduction in business investment
- A drop in consumer confidence and spending
- A reactionary surge in government stimulatory expenditure
For those of you who did not live through the ‘91/’92 recession. I would simply say the business environment is going to get tough … but is imminently survivable if you do the right things.
However, “doing the right things” this time around is no simple task. Because this recession promises to be like no other before it …
You see, whilst the business and economic impacts of this recession are likely to be very similar to those of previous recessions, the things that make this one different (and certainly not “normal”) need to be carefully factored into your business plan. These include:
- Significant changes in consumer / business needs and behaviour triggered by:
- Lingering health and personal safety concerns (flowing from fear of a second wave of COVID19 and awareness that other pandemics might follow)
- Increased willingness to adopt technology solutions that reduce personal and business risk (such as, but certainly not limited to, zoom meetings in lieu of travel)
- The imminent withdrawal of the government safety net in September, which has delayed and disguised the true impact of this recession and includes the cessation of:
- Job Keeper funding
- Increased Job Seeker payments
- Loan repayment moratoriums
- The wavier of trading insolvent regulations
- Significant changes to the macro geo-political environment we find ourselves in, viz:
- The need to maintain strict border control to mitigate the risk of importing a second wave of COVID19 infection
- Our exposure to international supply chain interruption (everything from fuel, to manufactured goods, parts and health care supplies)
- The growing tension between our closet ally and our biggest trading partner that is already leaving Australia with one foot firmly planted either side of a growing divide (OUCH!)
If you still don’t understand just how exposed your business is to the above “new normal”, you have my permission to stop reading now and put your head back in the sand (sorry to have interrupted your well-earned snooze).
If, on the other hand, the above analysis sends a shiver down your spine that includes a mixture of fear and excitement … read on.
This next part is for you.
CLICK PAGE 2 AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN TO READ MORE