Success during a crisis

Success during a crisis

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This is a guest post from Grant Thornton LLP
(Member since 1969)

At a Grant Thornton roundtable earlier this month, finalists of the 2021 Halifax Business Awards gathered to discuss the impacts of the pandemic, the challenges they encountered and how they moved forward with resilience.

Difficult times often reveal strength of character, and Nova Scotians are no exception. During the global pandemic, communities across the province displayed resilience as people came together to support local businesses and each other. Halifax saw its population grow—and add more jobs than it lost. As a result, the province is well-positioned to recover post pandemic.

That’s not to say it’s been an easy ride for the region’s local businesses. The varied group of attendees at the roundtable—which included representatives from different non-profits and industries: from retail and professional services to technology, pharmaceutical and specialty trades—each brought a unique perspective. However, they all agreed that a positive post-COVID future starts with a unified business community—one that exchanges ideas and works together to move the Canadian economy forward.

Members of the group shared their experiences and through this discussion, four consistent leadership approaches emerged that helped them not only adapt but succeed.

Remain agile

In times of turmoil, businesses need the ability to act quickly if they hope to succeed, which is why it’s critical to revisit policies and processes to facilitate agility. Encouraging an agile mindset is important. One organization, for instance, made agility part of its performance reviews.

Businesses had to get creative to keep sales flowing, particularly during lockdowns, when customers couldn’t shop in person. Leaders recognized that, first and foremost, customers wanted to feel safe. So offering contactless pickup, reducing lineups by serving customers in different areas of the store and even launching outdoor pop-up service kiosks ensured they can still serve customers, while meeting their changing needs.

Communicate openly and honestly

When everything shifted online, establishing trust among clients and staff became even more important. Open and honest communication became paramount. Many leaders chose to transparently communicate everything, from operational challenges to increasing costs, and it’s important to voice those changes early. This approach allowed them to continue sales and effectively set their team and customer expectations.

Collaborate with your community

It can be easy to feel like you’re all alone when battling tough economic times. But, in these instances, external resources can be invaluable to help. This can involve partnering with industry associations, which can help you stay on top of new training requirements, public health guidelines or job safety requirements. For non-profits, it can mean collaborating with members of the community as well as healthcare professionals and government.

Invest in technology, early

Reconceptualizing the organization in a digital world was top of mind for these leaders. The accelerated shift to e-commerce for one business for instance, expanded sales by over 50 per cent. For some, it was shifting to the work from home environment and ensuring the team had what they needed to continue to serve customers.

The path forward

It’s clear from these business leaders that Nova Scotians are not only adaptable and agile when it comes to supporting the local economy. They can also compete on the global stage. Most importantly, involving the community in the path forward is a strategy any region of any size can leverage and benefit from. And at Grant Thornton, we’re excited to see the province continue to make a positive mark on the world. If you’re looking to discuss ways your business can become more resilient, reach out to us.

Katrina Beach

Partner, Assurance

T +1 902 491 7730

Heath Moore

Managing Partner, Nova Scotia

T + 1 902 491 7750

Jillian Murray

Partner, Transactions

T +1 902 491 7745

Leah White

Partner, Risk and Forensics

T + 1 902 491 7718

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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