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Pause for a pit stop

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In times of extreme economic challenge
, don’t just power through the crisis, pause for a pit stop to retune your business for the twists and turns on the road ahead.  

COVID-19 continues to challenge the business landscape like no other event before it and many in the mid-market are now fully-focused on building greater resilience into their operations. However, true resilience goes beyond short-term survival – it means achieving a velocity that returns the business to a growth trajectory.

Building resilience requires a thorough – and ongoing – monitoring of the trading environment and then tuning the business to optimise performance in those conditions. It is about treating the current downturn – in the words of Professor Andrew Scott of the London Business School – like a pit stop. 

In Formula 1 racing, the strategy is for the car to spend a very short time off the track undergoing a highly-focused performance review and reset. That involves changing tyres, refuelling and retuning to complete the race in optimal alignment to the conditions.

So too for businesses responding to COVID-19, they need to look at their external drivers: how their customers are behaving; the changing market dynamics and competitor landscape; where they can access funds; and anticipate and prepare for regulatory changes.

With that insight, businesses can then adjust or transform their internal enablers such as their: people, talent and skills; technology and innovation; operational agility, and the risk and governance processes that will underpin their strategy and programmes. All of these areas work in sync to boost performance. 

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader – network capabilities at Grant Thornton International, says: "This is a classic pause, reset, and go moment. Circumstances have just collided in such a way that everybody's being forced to sit back and take a harder look at what they're doing. It's a good time for businesses to 'retune' themselves."

For some, mere day-to-day survival is the number one issue. Ian Pascoe, CEO and managing partner of Grant Thornton Thailand, says: "We're talking about a pit stop team, but many businesses have had a crash. The track ahead has many sharp bends, and the way forward will be difficult in many industries. Yet the companies thriving in a post-COVID world will be the ones that learned to reinvent themselves during times of adversity."