By Victory Oduneye
Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC), a leading professional service provider that offers business advisory services such as auditing, accounting, taxation, strategy management, and human resource consulting services has revealed 5 key issues business owners need to address in order to survive this pandemic.
Disclosing this in a recent report released on the organization’s official website, it revealed that private companies have been seen to struggle with the need to make their operations future-proof in a more digital post-pandemic world.
And because of this, it is important for them to consider and act on the combination of strengths they need to capitalize on and weaknesses they need to address.
Here are the 5 Key Issues PwC discussed:
1. Adapting business operations to the world of digital first
Digital transformation is an area where the pandemic has dramatically accelerated both the pace of progress and also the urgency of radical change.
In the past, digitization has largely been about introducing new technologies into the back office.
Today, the growing dominance of online sales channels means it’s now about reinventing entire business models to compete in an ever more digital world.
For example, during the pandemic, many retail businesses created or expanded their online presence, both as a lockdown survival strategy but also as an opportunity to future-proof their business.
2. Employing the right talent to address the demands of the digital world
Digital success requires the right talent, new skills that can build the future workforce for the digital world.
A world where employees are independent decision-makers for whom workplace flexibility, diversity and job satisfaction are more important than maximizing their earnings and where a company’s values and behavior are paramount when choosing whom to work for.
To effectively get this, private businesses need to first accept that they can’t do everything themselves and start collaborating externally around acquiring the new types of skills they’ll need.
For example, private businesses are often well established in their local communities, so active involvement in organizations such as Chambers of Commerce can open up untapped opportunities.
3. Protecting and transitioning wealth for the long term
A significant issue for many private businesses is the protection and transfer of wealth for future purposes.
Whether this involves ownership of family businesses transferring to the next generation, or owners thinking about how to use their wealth for other business or societal purposes, either way, the assets in question need to be protected for the long term.
Our client conversations confirm that managing a smooth transition of wealth to the upcoming generation is one of the biggest challenges private businesses face.
But in terms of strengths, a highly positive factor is that NextGens’ digital skills and socially-aware perspective can contribute enormously to the growth and longevity of both family wealth and businesses.
So what may currently look like a “perfect storm” of disruption and uncertainty could well become a “perfect acceleration” once the next generation gets their hands on the tiller.
4. Investing in becoming cyber secure
A prerequisite for sustaining growth and longevity is keeping assets secure against compromise or attack. With the move to digital operations, cyber security becomes even more important.
In the corporate world, cyber risks are primarily seen as a business issue centered on the potential loss of information. But for private companies the implications of cyber can be far more pervasive and personal.
For private business, cyber attacks pose threats that extend across all the “crown jewels” of personal wealth (even personal identity), business operations, and brand and reputation. All of which are critical to safeguarding the business’s longevity.
The broad scope of the cyber risks for private businesses brings the advantage that investments in cyber security can deliver returns simultaneously on multiple different fronts.
The disadvantage they face is that, historically, private businesses have tended to be reluctant to spend money on securing their back office, preferring instead to invest in growth and innovation.
But today’s reality is that a successful cyber attack could destroy everything a private business has built up – so investments in preventing that represent money well spent.
5. Making ESG a competitive differentiator
Finally regarding sustainability, many private business owners are set apart by their strong commitment to making a positive difference for the public and society at large. It’s no coincidence they were in the forefront of efforts by the business community to support society during the pandemic.
This is arguably the issue where private businesses could have the greatest advantage of all. In many large corporates, sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives are essentially a siloed process – a formal business exercise separate from the core of the business.
It is seen embedded in the owners’ values, purpose and legacy into strategy and decision-making.
This can provide a powerful competitive edge, if private companies learn how to measure and communicate their ESG agendas – an advantage that should be increased still further by demonstrating a strong commitment to sustainable outcomes.
Defining your future
Nobody is saying 2021 will be easy. But as the world moves beyond the recent turmoil and tragic events, many opportunities will emerge. Private businesses will play a critical role in solving the world’s challenges at large and helping the world come back stronger after the pandemic.
“And by targeting the five issues we’ve highlighted while keeping business, private and societal longevity in mind, we think they can put themselves in the forefront when it comes to realizing the full potential of the opportunities on offer.” It concluded.