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Planning your business comeback? Don’t forget your customers.

Consumers and clients are central to your business recovery … and their attitudes are changing. It’s important to understand why.

By Michael Mekhitarian

We’ve talked a lot in recent times about how to sure up your business for the months ahead … How to manage remote teams, how to assess and mitigate risk, and how to create innovative strategies based on your core areas of profitability so you can successfully navigate the emerging uncertainty as Australia (and the rest of the world) slowly begins to come to life again post Covid-19.

But there’s an important part of the equation that must not be overlooked, and it goes beyond economics and business planning. It’s the consumer.

What do consumers want?

Recently, I wrote an article about the importance of brand trust over the pandemic period, and how it will remain critical in the months ahead, particularly while the coronavirus remains active.

But what else do consumers want? Attitudes have definitely changed.

Recently, global consulting firm McKinsey and Co., released a report on consumer sentiment in a post-covid environment. It found six insights:

  • Decreased optimism with most consumers expecting the effects of the pandemic to last for some time to come.
  • Less spending. Concern about global recession and reduced incomes.
  • A shift to online consuming of goods and services.
  • A desire for more assurance that where they go and what they do is ‘safe’ to undertake.
  • A desire for more emphasis on sanitation and cleaning of public spaces.

Of course – this is a global survey, and it reflects the experience of countries that have had a much harder time with Covid-19 than Australia. Nevertheless, it’s an important snapshot of what pretty much all businesses can expect in the months, perhaps years, ahead.

Post-pandemic psyche

But… there’s also something else to consider. As has been documented many times, during and after global crises – such as the world wars, the great depression, and more recently 9/11, the GFC of 2008-09 and SARS, these events have a profound effect on the human psyche.

In general terms, people come out the other side of these life-changing experiences wanting a simpler, more ‘authentic’ life. They also tend to be more patriotic, and to want more control over their own experiences. They also seek more connection with others in their everyday lives – with family, friends, co-workers and community.

In many ways these shocking global events present a ‘wake up’ call. People start asking themselves what they really want from life. They begin doing a life audit, trying to figure out if their existence is meaningful, and what they need to change if it’s not.

For example, while many people were forced to work from home during the pandemic, going forward many will choose to keep this arrangement, or opt for a hybrid option that will mean less time doing the long city commute, and allow for more time to do the school run, or help with kids homework, or spend time with the spouse.

Some real estate experts are suggesting that sea-changes are going to become more popular in the coming months, particularly now that there are more options for people to work remotely, and for many, a desire to get out of crowded suburbs and cities.

How are you meeting changes in consumer sentiment?

Something else that’s already starting to emerge this school holidays, particularly with international travel still in hiatus, is the return of the great Aussie road trip, good old fashioned camping, and the back-to-basics family holidays that immerse kids in the great outdoors, in the bush, or at the beach.

Planning is critical

While Australian small and medium-sized businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy, more than that, they’re often the cornerstones of our local community too, and will play a critical part in the recovery post Covid-19.

The smart businesses will look now, to tap into the new consumer ‘ethos’ developing in Australia, and they will be the ones who lead the recovery.

Take a look at our 5-Step process, to help you take control of your business, now and into the future. And if we can help, contact us.


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