Calling all leaders, managers and business owners big and small…

I’ll apologise in advance for another sporting analogy, but I watch a lot of rugby! I do believe sports helps to paint a great picture though of the business landscape as we launch into a new year…

The first half is done, New Zealand businesses have had their breather, and the whistle is about to blow for the end of half time. The 2021 business playing field is ahead and it’s time to pull up those socks and get back out there.

We have a tendency as the clock ticks over from one year to the next, to see the world with rose-tinted hope and optimism. In reality, I’m not sure how those rose-tinted lenses will help us in this game that still has time on the clock.

I don’t know where your business sits on the scoreboard after this first half, but whether the scoreboard sits in your favour or not, it doesn’t actually matter. The 2021 that is ahead of us has just as many (if not more) challenges than we faced in 2020. When the clock ticked over midnight on December 31st, nothing changed – the global challenge we face is still there.

We started to see signs prior to Christmas of little niggles that the global pandemic is delivering – delivery of product, increased cost of shipping, tighter margins, and then supply challenges. The thing with a global pandemic and worldwide lockdowns is that products and parts quite simply don’t get made at the same rate that they used to.

This is not over. NZ business relies heavily on the rest of the world – not just for their tourism dollar, but for their manufacturing of products and resources. It does not matter if your first half was epic, an epic failure or somewhere in between – you need to be focused now, more than ever. Games are won in the second half.

It’s time to double down and ensure you are set for the challenges that will arise. At its most basic level – if your product or service relies on ‘something’ from ‘somewhere’ overseas – then you need to check and re-check your supply chain.

While we do have Government guaranteed loans, and super low interest rates, the funding appetite is a little varied – some funders are opening their wallets while others are much more cautious – it’s a classic mixed $1 bag of lollies from the corner dairy.

It’s fair to say it’s not all doom and gloom though – there is so much opportunity out there for great business, and it’s about being ready to go when the whistle blows. I am telling my clients to have Plan A, B and C. Plan A is about identifying potential opportunities – be it expansion, margin improvement, bringing supply chains in house, or acquisition. Identify, know what your appetite is and be ready to go. Plan B is checking and fool proofing your supply chain as much as possible if you can’t bring it in house – as I mentioned above, make sure you can get that ‘something’ from the ‘somewhere!’ If not, look ‘elsewhere’. And Plan C…I don’t even want to say the word but please have a plan for if we return to *whispers* lockdown.

Business, like rugby is a test. It’s physical, mental, it takes stamina, mindset, and a playbook.

The referee’s about to call time – are you ready for the second half?

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