If the signs above sound familiar to you, adaptability will be crucial to coming out on top. “If you want to repurpose or pivot, you’ve got to think differently,” Nuttall says. “Think about the market first, then come back to your organisation.”
Maintaining a startup mentality can be helpful here, no matter the size or age of your business. “Startups are just trying to get market fit. It doesn’t have a core business. It’s absolutely focused on what product or service will fit the market. That attitude of continual reinvention, innovation and scanning the future is a fundamental competency, regardless of how big you are as an organisation.”
Finding your growth market
Next, finding your growth markets will be key. “In a normal recession, everybody is subject to a downturn. What’s different about this moment is it’s a K-shaped recovery. So some businesses are going absolutely gangbusters and others are completely drying up. What that says to someone operating in a declining market is there’s a need to generate new revenue, and it clearly has to come from a growth market,” Nuttal explains.
“To give you an example, one of our clients is an industrial shelter company. They looked at market demand and saw an opportunity to repurpose their product for COVID-19 testing stations. It was just a scaled-down version of their industrial shelters, and it took them less than a week to make the switch.”
Once you’ve identified those relevant growth markets, moving quickly is essential.
“If you think there’s a growth market and you can repurpose existing assets and capabilities to suit that market, take your minimum viable product and get out and talk to real customers,” Nuttall counsels. “Test your ideas as fast as possible for the lowest cost and the lowest risk. You don’t have to get clever to find new revenue – you just have to move fast.”
If your market is changing and it’s affecting your business, chances are change might be on the horizon. But keeping a close eye on the signs and acting quickly can help pull your business out on the other side of a downturn.