Creating Competitive Advantage During The Covid Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has created recession, accelerated virtualisation, and driven some sectors to the ground. Many leaders will focus on business maintenance and avoid deep decisions until there is more certainty, with the belief that in a storm you should not aim for higher ground, but this is not creating competitive advantage. In a storm, you should take the opportunity to be bold and shape your business model for the next ten years whilst others are distracted. The pandemic will gradually fade, but the core questions will remain the same:
- What can you do to make sure you are better than your competitors?
- What will your future customers want and how have they changed?
- How can you address these changes most profitably and productively?
- What needs to change – whatever your history and however difficult?
1. Harness Your Ideas
It is not force that creates competitive advantage, but intelligence. The intelligence to strategically understand and continuously articulate where your organisation is now, how it can do better and secure effective change. Increasingly, advantage lies in ‘ideas’ as opposed to capital or products. It is the ability to harness these ideas and knowledge that becomes the most creative force in our businesses and the environments they operate in – not the personalities behind them or in charge.
2. Look Further Ahead
With volatility, many of us feel that our economic lives are out of control and that to regain control and satisfaction, we must strategically adopt new practices, processes and thinking. We are compromised when we are driven by history and volatility which leads us to piecemeal incremental change or a maintenance-only approach. The counter is to create businesses that are more fluid and to look further ahead to where the volatility is likely to take us – and then to be bold:
- Strip out the layer cake and hierarchy and reconstruct market boundaries.
- Place yourself ahead of your customers’ demands, not behind.
- Assess what new products, strategic alliances, territories, or acquisitions are required?
3. Creating Competitive Advantage
Competitive advantage is not about talent or luck or finding the brilliant new ‘saviour’ product. Instead, we must work strategically to seek a better understanding of where our market is heading and therefore what actions are required to make our organisations better. We must research more, using better environmental scanning techniques and data analysis, so that we identify the clues that will guide us to secure clarity and an understanding of the probabilities. The understanding and clarity provide the insights which help us to create the plan and energise the changes. This requires:
- Vision and determination to create something better beyond the volatility.
- Dissatisfaction with the status quo.
- Being prepared to act in opposition to convention.
- Open minds, careful observation and intense listening.
- Clear roles and responsibilities with the permission to strategise.
- Acceptance that failure is part of learning.
- Research and creativity, analysis and intuition.
- Willingness to disrupt or change, even when things are working.
- The space to ‘write’ the script as opposed to ‘follow’.
- Teamwork and belief.
So, where is your market going after this pandemic and why and how can your business do better to create competitive advantage?
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can watch our webinar on the topic – “Creating Competitive Advantage in Volatile Markets” – here.
Avondale are EME business advisors. Through our management consultancy, we support growth and scaling up. Through our M&A and corporate work, we secure investment and finance for EME businesses, help people buy and sell companies and enhance shareholder value. We recognise ambitious owners who require ambitious, specialist advisors.