The latin phrase “Audentes Fortuna iuvat” is one of the oldest and most often quoted expressions in world history. Translated as, “Fortune Favors the Bold,” this phrase has been used to inspire armies, educational institutions, sports teams, families and businesses for thousands of years. And while its application is relevant during prosperous periods, it carries significant importance during times of crisis, too.
Throughout history, there are countless examples of institutions that used moments of catastrophe to unleash bold, new, innovative ways of operating, resulting in monumental gains against competitors when things returned to normal.
Take Netflix, for example. In the peak of the 2008-2009 recession, the technology company turned the video rental industry on its head. Amidst a floundering economy, the company gained three million new subscribers by rolling out its TV/movie streaming platform. Now ten years later, thanks to this business move, Netflix remains a giant in the space. Despite a recession, Netflix came out on top because it invested in a bold business idea during a time of crisis.
In this age of COVID-19, businesses of all sizes and industries are faced with challenges that none of us could have foreseen even a few months ago. None of us really ever contemplated the idea that huge portions of our economy would come to a complete standstill. Most of us never imagined an environment where we couldn’t visit a customer face-to-face. The list of “I never expected that” goes on and on. But that is obviously where we find ourselves today.Done.
Is “Hunkering Down” a Bad Business Strategy During COVID-19?
In times of turmoil, the natural inclination of business leaders is to pull back, hunker down and try and ride out the storm. And to be clear, that is not a “bad” strategy. For some businesses, that may be the only viable strategy.
But I’m old enough, and have seen enough, to suggest a different strategy.
I believe this pandemic provides many of us an opportunity to pursue a bold approach and invest in our operations. Now is the perfect time for many of us to look inward and ask, “What are those bold initiatives that we’ve hesitated to pursue in the past, even though we know they will eventually become a necessary part of our operations?”
As bizarre as it might sound, now is the perfect time for many companies to boldly advance their operations. These brave actions will not only help your company survive the current climate, but position you for significant growth relative to your competition once we emerge from this lockdown.
Now (More Than Ever) is the Time to Invest in Technology
For the past few months, we’ve seen many new COVID-19 technology trends emerge. That’s because one of the most important areas in which companies can act boldly is upgrading their digital platforms. We at LaborChart are doing just that.
While we are all aware that we will emerge from this coronavirus world one day, we are also certain that business as we know it will forever be changed by this experience. Sadly, in-person activities, while not eliminated, will certainly occur less frequently and with fewer individuals participating. Most organizations and most industries are going to be forced to create virtual alternatives to physical meetings, or at the very least find ways to operate with minimum physical contact. Digital platforms that retain the efficiencies of in-person contact while leveraging the cost savings of technology must be explored and adopted.
If nothing else, this crisis has shown us that most businesses do not need giant office spaces with employees packed in shoulder-to-shoulder in order to deliver value to their customers. The economic savings achieved by smaller office spaces and remote workers could be significant on its own. When coupled with the increase in productivity achieved by technology, businesses have a unique opportunity to achieve a substantial advantage over competitors.
Go Big and Stay Home
But to truly make this work, leaders cannot just dip their toe in the water. The most effective leaders will step outside their comfort zones and pursue a bold path. Going beyond what you are comfortable with requires management to look at its business from end-to-end and explore all of its current operations. While I know resources are scarce in this uncertain time, history shows us that focusing on big initiatives provides much stronger and measurable success than making minor adjustments to limited areas.
Organizations that make incremental adjustments in non-core areas of their business almost always fall short of their goals. Tinkering leads to ROI that trails the cost of capital. Companies that go big and use technology to redefine their business have consistently outperformed their peers in both the short and the long term.
As is often the case, the greatest learning opportunities arise during the most challenging of times. We as a country, a people and an economy have been facing a crisis unlike any that we have faced in our lifetimes. While we all have responsibilities to ensure the safety and health of our families, employees and fellow citizens, we also have a responsibility to learn from this episode.
I would encourage each of you to take this opportunity to look at your business, decide what that business is going to look like when we “emerge” from this pandemic, and then take those necessary bold actions to ensure that you are one of the winners when this is all over. For it is as true today as it was when it was first uttered thousands of years ago: Fortune does indeed favor the bold.
Ready to make a bold move? Discover how LaborChart is helping organizations just like yours increase productivity with technology, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us today.