The pandemic, supply chain disruptions, inflation, the rise of AI, ever-increasing cyber attacks, and a host of other factors are all contributing to a state of deep economic uncertainty among Australian business owners. Recently released data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reveals that these tough circumstances are taking a considerable toll.
Company failures were up 17.2% for the 2022-23 financial year. Considering the fact that the 2021-22 fiscal year also saw a significant increase in business closures, this is a sobering statistic.
While the story is certainly grim, it doesn’t mean every Aussie business is at risk of getting sucked into a downward spiral. There are strategies you can use to thrive, no matter how shaky our economic foundations become. The most critical of these strategies is flexibility.
Unique value propositions, robust IT infrastructure, clever marketing, and the ability to inspire brand loyalty are all important. However, flexibility is what will allow you to pivot when needed, adjusting swiftly to the constant flow of changing circumstances. From your business plan to your monthly overheads, working flexibility into the mix will give you the range of movement needed to roll with the economic punches rather than being knocked off your feet.
With decades of combined experience supporting Aussie businesses and government agencies, the Invotec team has observed six specific applications of flexibility that consistently drive growth. We’ve dissected them in detail below:
Diversifying your revenue streams
Just as a diversified investment portfolio can protect you from market uncertainty, so too can diverse revenue streams safeguard you from economic upsets. Flexible business owners know when the time is right to pivot their business model and capture additional revenue streams and customer segments. This could mean releasing a new product line that caters to a different demographic or adding a service to your offerings that opens up a new way to earn profits.
By taking this approach, you can widen your customer base, giving you a powerful buffer against turbulent times. The key is to have enough flexibility in your business model and your mindset to adapt to changing circumstances and offer value to new demographics. With this in mind, it may be worth revisiting your business model and adjusting it to create space for new streams of revenue.
Running a lean operation with scalable expenses
A well-organized and transparent balance sheet is essential if you want to reduce the potential for surprises in your finances. This means you need to have a deep understanding of your margins and a working knowledge of all your recurring business expenses.
To achieve this, it helps to conduct frequent audits of your business expenses. Doing so will help you determine their ROI and importance to your brand. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make fast but informed decisions when faced with a crisis. You’ll know precisely which expenses you can trim and how to make it happen.
Outsourcing services like IT support and bookkeeping can give you extra flexibility with your expenses. As an IT Managed Services Provider, Invotec can scale our services up or down to accommodate seasonal changes, budget changes, and adjustments to business structure and size. This flexibility allows you to focus on your core operations while ensuring that your IT needs are met by a team of experts.
We can only speak authoritatively for the IT world, but many other services operate on a similar model. So outsourcing is a powerful tool in your arsenal if you want to ensure you have the flexibility to withstand economic uncertainty.
If you’d like to learn more about how outsourcing can help you save money, improve your efficiency, and protect your systems, visit our Managed IT Services Page. We cover all the details there, and you can even submit a request for a quick quote.
Creating a culture that thrives on shared values, not perks
Tech companies like Facebook and Google inspired an era of extravagant perks that stretched many businesses beyond their financial means. From beanbags and unlimited vacation days to offices that quite literally looked like playgrounds, the idea was to create a culture that made people happy to be at work. Unfortunately, many of these perks had an insidious undertone, whether intended or not.
Playground offices encouraged unpaid overtime, unlimited time off resulted in people taking fewer vacation days, and working from beanbags wasn’t ideal for the spinal health of many employees. That’s not to say that playground offices are bad. Nor are we suggesting that they could never work. The problem lies a little deeper than these surface-level perks.
Regardless of whether you’re running a traditional or playground office, your environment must be built on a set of values that unite your team in the pursuit of shared goals.
By focusing on the vision, mission, and values you share, you can create genuine cohesion in your team, without the need for costly and extravagant perks. The truth is that most employees would rather have a competitive salary, flexible work schedule, sufficient time off, and the ability to create work-life balance. Provide these necessities, work from a foundation of shared values, and you’ll have all the ingredients for a thriving work culture that cushions you against uncertainty.
Building flexibility into your value propositions
Bull markets and bear markets share one crucial feature in common: neither will last forever. With this in mind, you need to offer value propositions that will be relevant to customers in both economic states.
During tough times, you may need to offer special discounts, payment plans, and other offers that ease the financial strain on customers. For many businesses, it’s also worth the investment to create free resources like how-to guides and digital assets that support customers who are working with tight budgets.
This ability to broaden and adjust your value propositions can help your brand consistently thrive, regardless of what the economy is up to.
Embracing change so you can adapt to it effectively
Embracing change is vital if you want to effectively navigate the tumultuous terrain of an uncertain economy. To develop this skill, you and your team need to see change not as a disruption but as an invitation to get creative and innovate.
In our experience, businesses that cultivate this mindset welcome new possibilities and position themselves at the forefront of their industries. They’re then able to capitalise on emerging trends and shifting consumer behaviours.
The most successful businesses we’ve observed generally value input from all levels of the organization. They encourage their teams to proactively pursue knowledge, whether through continuous learning or market research. This strategy further equips them to make informed decisions on the fly.
Using technology to improve work-life balance
Modern technology offers an easy yet powerful way to promote flexibility in the workplace. Thanks to video conferencing software and cloud-based collaboration platforms, your team can work remotely without skipping a beat. In fact, many researchers are finding that, despite what managers assume, employees are generally more productive when working from home.
Giving your team the freedom and flexibility to work from any location can boost their productivity while reducing the costs associated with your office space and utilities. Time-tracking and performance-tracking software can help you ensure your employees are working the agreed-upon hours, achieving the desired results, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Meanwhile, employee feedback tools can help you ensure everyone is adjusting well to the remote or hybrid model.
Armed with these tools, you can make quick adjustments as needed, ensuring you maintain a productive and enjoyable work environment, even if it’s fully remote.
As a well-established Melbourne-based MSP, Invotec has the privilege of supporting government agencies and Australian businesses of all sizes. We always take the time to listen to a client’s needs and goals before developing a customised plan that ticks all their boxes. Your success is our success, so if you’re ready to partner with an IT company that genuinely cares about supporting your growth, contact Invotec today for an obligation-free consultation.