It’s only March 2020, but already there’sbeen an extraordinary start to 2020, much of it devastating. Extreme weather – drought, catastrophic fires, red dust storms, destructive hail and then floods – together with the global threat of coronavirus has marred what should have been an optimistic start to a new decade. All of these factors will negatively impact business growth in the first two quarters of this year. Yet, in the true Australian spirit, the countryis getting on with rebuilding and trying to get back to business.
The Australian economy is still on track with some of the highest infrastructure investment across all states. The rebuild for the fires and storms will also help the economy to recover in the second half of the year. The extent of the coronavirus on tourism, accommodation, air travel, education and related areas will depend on the control of the spread and the medical response’s effectiveness. The effect of the virus will likely be global due to slowdowns in China and their trading partners worldwide, leading to China already taking measures to stimulate their economy.
Whilst many business challenges remain ongoing, more recent issues have emerged to dominate the business landscape. Here’s a summary of some of the biggest challenges facing businesses in 2020, as identified by business mentoring and coaching professionals.
Sustainability has rocketed to a priority for most businesses and needs to be incorporated at the level of businesses strategy. Business policies will also need to be directed to embrace the need for improving, developing, delivering and creating initiatives to better impact the planet’s environment. The sustainability pressure on business is ramping up from customers, employees, politicians, stakeholders and the community at large, who are all demanding action in this space. It would be potentially disastrous for businesses to ignore sustainability. Taking action is also the right thing to do.
After some terrible industrial accidents, Worksafe is cracking down. For example, new legislation will be delivered to enforce jail terms for employers who do not provide a safe working environment for their workforce. Again, being compliant is a moral obligation, but safety in business should be demanded by all concerned.
Employees, Salaries, Awards and Compliance
Worker underpayments (being dubbed as “wage theft” in Australia) have made headlines and attracted the ire of not only the staff involved and unions, but also the general community, and rightly so. Employers must ensure their workers are paid fairly and keep up to date with relevant laws. Legislation is being considered to make this a criminal act.
The rate of technology changes is heating up, with advances in all areas causing significant business opportunities as well as downsides. Not only are there advances in greater power and capacity of computers and handheld devices, but there’s also more interaction online. The information analysis of consumer behaviour and business employee time tracking software improvements using advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence, data analytics, big data and robotics are changing the competitive landscape and will require greater flexibility and adaptation from businesses to compete. Otherwise, many businesses could become extinct in the future.
Attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing an appropriately talented and skilled workforce is another top-of-mind challenge for business leaders. In a competitive environment, the hunt for talent is constant, and the best talent is very attractive to your competitors. Ensuring that your people are understood and well-motivated becomes of even greater importance. People management and leadership should be the basis for developing a stable workforce to support the business as it grows and changes to meet developing and often disrupted market places.
Diversity is not just a gender issue. For example, there has been a growing appreciation of the merits of incorporating a wider range of ages and people from different business experiences, education, cultures and backgrounds. It is vitally important to create a diverse, inclusive and harmonious workforce to tap into their wide range of ideas and sensitivities to markets, customers, process improvements and technologies. Like business mentoring, this diversity can provide a different perspective and enable the business to add to their competitive edge in their markets.
It is a great strategic starting point to clarify the current strategic business purpose. A business mentor or coach can talk with you to help you review and understand why you are in businesses.
Plan B and Succession
Many business sectors and individual businesses will get into financial trouble as a result of a downturn in their industry or as fierce new competitive pressures emerge, or both, such as the impact of coronavirus on the restaurant industry. With business mentoring, you can work through a future proofing strategy where you consider your options to reduce risk and plan to take advantage of changes. As part of future proofing, you will need to consider the succession planning for the people and the business itself. This will help to optimise the future organisation to achieve the strategy and be adaptive to the inevitable changes that will occur.
Support of all staff is needed to adapt to the changes and stay ahead of the game so you can out manoeuvre your competition. Training and development are essential components for business leaders to consider for themselves and all key employees.
Future proofing is an issue that was rarely considered some years ago. The world has undergone so much change in a short time, making it harder to predict what will emerge in the foreseeable future and beyond. However, keeping up to date with innovation in your industry and having discussions with a knowledgably and supportive business mentor or coach can help business leaders to freshly consider their options to future proof the business.
How Business Mentoring Can Assist with Challenges
All the above themes and challenges are currently hot topics when it comes to business mentoring and coaching. A business mentor or coach has exceptional business experience and can help business leaders address these and many other strategic challenges that they face.
Since each business has some unique business challenges, a business mentor will assess each individual’s situation and provide a tailored approach to help them with their business’ issues or goals. Business owners, CEOs, Directors and Senior Executives can all benefit from the wealth of experience a business mentor or coachcan provide, helping business leaders in all aspects of their business and the competitive scenarios that they face.