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Thriving in a crisis: Tips for business owners leading through COVID-19

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Canadian businesses had to quickly recalibrate to survive the crisis. Those that succeeded did so via a combination of ingenuity and agility, and by acknowledging that how they’ve traditionally conducted business was profoundly, and possibly permanently, changing.

Earlier this year we launched our Navigator Resilience: Building back better survey, and spoke with 200 Canadian business leaders at the height of the pandemic about their experiences. Many of the findings were echoed by a cross-section of business leaders as part of our recent panel discussion.

What are some of the key areas that business leaders and owners should be focusing on?

1. Sustainability will be a key to recovery in the post-pandemic period.

Four in five business leaders say sustainability is now critical to building back better. As Questor Technologies’ CEO Audrey Mascarhenas says, “In the past we probably focused a lot more on profits. Now it’s looking for that balance between having a strong company, but also doing the right things.”

2. Being agile and treating both employees and customers well is key to success.

According to Accent Inns Inc. CEO Mandy Farmer, “In the earliest days we were a sinking ship — but we plugged all those holes, and the whole crew started bailing while we were singing and telling jokes, and to this day we remain afloat.”

3. Canadian companies are making changes to their supply chain partners.

While only 22% say they’ve reviewed their supply chains, early indications suggest that further supply chain diversification is coming. Blinds To Go CEO Stephen Shiller, a long-standing advocate for the importance of maintaining a robust supply chain, said it best: “Second supply is like insurance; you hope you don’t need it, but you’re really happy to have it if you do need it. Those are investments that are absolutely necessary.”

4. COVID-19 has brought businesses together, making collaboration a necessity to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

For Omnify Lighting CEO Will Andrew, his experience asking for third-party support and expertise to help the company pivot to new offerings was critical. “It’s amazing to me, the collaboration, both upstream and downstream - if you’re open to it,” he says.

Read more about each of these CEO’s experiences and tips for business leaders and owners here.

Listen to this episode as part of our Business Beyond COVID-19 – The Global Podcast Series.


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