Budgeting and forecasting in times of hypergrowth and instability
Global business has been upended across all sectors and industries over the past thirty months. Health challenges, raw materials shortages, political unrest, and financial adjustments have brought considerable stress to our economies.
Some industries have evaporated while others have surged into hypergrowth. The pandemic placed the importance of managing one’s health squarely under the microscope. Placing a price on health has enabled tech, wellness and personal health to capitalize on the upside.
We now enjoy a world that is encouraging us to microdose on wellbeing-hacks for sleep, stress, exercise, mindfulness and nutrition.
Businesses that are shrinking or growing at above-normal rates experience pressure albeit of a different nature. But how do we manage the onslaught of a business under fire or a business in hypergrowth?
Good Soul tips to navigating your finances during turbulence
1. Stay Fluid
The global economy is, well, global - so there is a lot of real estate, real and imagined - to be managed. Pre-pandemic we were becoming very interconnected. It wasn’t uncommon for a brand to buy raw materials in South America or Africa, use manufacturing plants in China or India and then rely on marketing hubs in the US to sell the final product.
Interruptions in the supply chain have forced businesses to reconsider local alternatives as part of risk management and shifting consumer sentiment. With workplaces disrupted for such an extended period, processes were remapped, technology introduced and new ways of working emerged.
With a “global village” comes huge unpredictability. We have witnessed how quickly brands and entire economies have been forced to adapt to new conditions. Storms of all types can stop best laid plans - be they financial, political or Hurricane Ida striking the coast of Louisiana as a Category 4 storm in 2021, shutting down the region’s plastics & chemical companies for weeks and resulting in the global plastics markets meltdown.
US polyurethane and polypropylene production fell by 15% in 2020 - that matters, because the materials are used in pretty much EVERYTHING we consume and use
Tip: Be tri-focal.
Keep an eye on the future - watch the macrotrends, study other similar and more mature businesses than yours. Watch indicators in the economy like bank rates, Forex, funding trends and unemployment.
Forecast and track medium-term goals in the 3-12 month range - the tempo will differ according to your business shorter-term and market volatility. Stay close to how you are resourcing and energizing key projects.
Notice what’s happening day-to-day and week-to-week. How is staff morale? What are the shorter term tensions that you need to ease?
Articulate contingency plans - a spectrum of possible outcomes ranging from conservative - hypergrowth. And no matter how good the data looks, always leave enough room to manoeuvre. If we’ve learnt nothing else over the past 30 months - it’s that anything, no matter how unimaginable, can happen.
2. Constantly Rightsize
In simple terms, rightsizing is the process of restructuring a company so it can make a profit more efficiently to meet updated business objectives. Its poor cousin, the dreaded “downsizing” reeks of an emergency response from the executive and board to shed staff as they approach the edge of a financial cliff, or a sale.
There will be a once-in-a-lifetime wave of capital spending on physical assets between now and 2027, with US$130 trillion flooding into capital projects.
Brands have been rightsizing their workforce throughout and beyond the pandemic. Job descriptions have been redefined, staff structures reorganized and new talent hired to fill gaps in expertise and to supercharge growth and operations in the new data-driven marketplace.
Tip: Own your scorecard.
Your scorecard is a simple one-page set of metrics that place the impact you make on your customers at the center. The numbers represent the key levers in your business, underpinned by your vision, mission and values. Every staff member should live by these numbers as they execute against them sustainably and comprehensively.
A well-designed rightsizing will enable you to respond to future risks and threats more efficiently. It can also set the foundations for a stronger and faster growth
3. Keep Marketing
Peter Drucker, the business guru, said: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs."
• FACT: Consumers today spend nearly 60% of their time on the Internet on their mobile devices
• RESULT: 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile (Source: SocPub).
Staying present, relevant and helpful during downturns is paramount for great brands. Tough times are a testament to who you are and who you serve. Keep your good messages flowing and be smart in how you tell your story. Be heard over the white noise in the marketplace.
Tip: See marketing as an investment.
When forecasting and budgeting, see marketing not as a cost, but a crucial investment in your future and core operations. Today’s marketplace is competitive - overflowing with innovative products and services, technologies and next-level solutions.
Staying relevant, top-of-mind and differentiated is vital for brand health and business. Commercialization is key in turning sales. Innovation alone can seldom sustain a company. Marketing can be the difference.