The Four Stages Of Business Recovery

By Kawal Preet | February 3, 2021

What will accelerate your business towards greater recovery in the year ahead? We outline the 4 big moves that matter.

2020 is behind us. A year that changed the world, caused major global disruption, impacted communities and affected businesses and the lives of Asia Pacific’s entrepreneurs in unexpected ways. But as we begin on the road to recovery, we have the opportunity to re-think how we do business - create a more compassionate, sustainable future.
So how can we use the experience of 2020 to drive recovery in the year ahead? There is no single answer. Different thinking and different approaches are required. But by observing what I call the four key stages of recovery - grit, resilience, agility and transformation – we can transform challenges into meaningful change.

When so many factors, often outside your control, are stacked up against you, grit that can take you forward. This is true in business as in life. Back in late January 2020 when the crisis first hit, our first and foremost priority was the health and safety of our team members. Then, with rapid lockdowns across the globe, FedEx became an essential service provider to move much needed medical and relief supplies and keep commerce flowing. Our teams showed immense grit and determination which meant we were able to act fast and stay focused.
Mindset is everything. The courage to take calculated risks and not give up has enabled many businesses to survive and move forward. As an SME, it’s your grit that will carry you through.

Staying strong at times of pressure is crucial for business success. Building resilience into business strategy, supply chains and especially your company culture is critical. Resilience means more than safeguarding your financial stability and credit. Equipping your teams and employees with the tools (like hardware and software for remote working) and a positive outlook (staying connected and offering access to mental health support) to drive the business forward is what resilience is all about.
Put simply, resilience is your strength and buffer against adversity. For small businesses in particular, which have been among the most vulnerable during the pandemic, the need to adopt a resilient mindset is even more pressing. That means being prepared for upheaval, having contingency plans in place when faced by setbacks, and being ready to grab any opportunities that may emerge.

Business agility is the quality that allows businesses to respond rapidly to changes in the internal and external environment.
The ability to make quick strategic decisions and act on them without delay has been lifesaving for many companies and business sectors during 2020. We’ve seen agility at work throughout the year as companies pivot, accelerate their digital offerings and re-think how they do business in this changed environment.
E-commerce has skyrocketed as more and more consumers buy online, and companies shift their sales strategies. At FedEx, our focus on agility has helped us find ways to work differently when responding to crisis, and in turn overcome new challenges and support our SME customers.

Time to re-imagine the path ahead. Innovation that drives complete change is the final, most dramatic stage of business recovery. For us at FedEx, COVID-19 has accelerated trends we’re already invested in, such as digital transformation, healthcare, contactless delivery, and e-commerce. Through our investments in innovative technology and partnerships such as FedEx SenseAware and FedEx FedEx Surround, we are driving major transformational shifts at the intersection of technology, transport, aviation and aerospace – essentially, Where Now Meets Next.
But for smaller businesses, there’s no need to engage in huge leaps or leave behind the concepts and values that shaped your company before. Transformation can come through diversifying product lines to selling in new markets. It can come through change in internal policies such as enabling working from home. A new commitment to sustainability or diversity and inclusion within your workforce can bring about positive transformation too.

Recovery is not linear – it can’t be, yet.

Each of these four stages can be approached in any order and at any time. But by showing true grit, resilience, agility and being brave enough to transform when needed, we can emerge as stronger, relevant businesses. At FedEx, we are ready and supporting our customers’ transition toward recovery and profitability.

Looking for new and useful business tips? Follow Kawal Preet on LinkedIn for regular trend analysis, monthly blog updates and more.
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About the Author
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Kawal Preet

President,
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, FedEx Express

Kawal started out as a FedEx engineer in Singapore over 20 years ago, and she’s now the President of FedEx Express AMEA. Kawal is based in Hong Kong.

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