How to deal with business disruption: Three recommendations

New technologies, discoveries and inventions have always created changes in business, but when the COVID pandemic hit this year, the pace of that change increased exponentially.

In order to survive, most businesses had to make major shifts in the way they operated and delivered or sold products. Some businesses that got creative actually found entirely new markets and new ways to reach customers.

Yet even before the COVID crisis, businesses were facing ongoing transformation. For example, look at what happened to the taxi industry when Uber came along, to retail businesses with the international growth of Amazon, or to hotels with the rise of AirBnb. In all those cases, traditional businesses took a huge hit, losing customers and profits. 

Whether due to technological advances, new business models or pandemics, change will only continue – so how do you prepare for disruption and make sure your company survives and even thrives? 

There are things you can do that will help – and maybe even make your business a disruptor in the industry. Here are three recommendations on how to deal with, and prepare for, business disruption:

  • Listen to customersDon’t assume that customers are afraid to change. When given new options that meet their needs and solve their problems, consumers will quickly latch on to a different model, provider or service. For instance, this year, many customers turned to mobile payment and home delivery options to get the supplies they needed.

    Now is a great time to ask your customers about what their problems or pain points are and listen carefully to their answers. Online programs like SurveyMonkey Alchemer and SurveyPlanet allow you to send out fast, easy surveys to customers. If they tell you about issues with your product or service – or ways a competitor does things better – take note. Then, with customer feedback in mind, look for new and innovative ways to solve problems or simplify processes within your business. 
  • Build loyalty through personalisationAmazon has continued to grow during COVID for many reasons, but in part because they personalise the customer experience extremely well. When you buy something from them, they recommend something else they think you’d like, or they email you that it’s time to order the same thing again or allow you to set up an ongoing subscription. 

    By capturing information about what each customer wants and buys – and then using that information to re-sell and up-sell – Amazon makes the buying process simpler and easier for customers, and thereby builds loyalty that keeps customers coming back. 

    If you can gather data on customer wants and preferences, and then use that data to anticipate their needs while helping them save time, you’ll make it easy for them to remain loyal to your business 
  • Be ready, both strategically and financially

    Change will come again in your industry – with or without a pandemic – and it will create both challenges and opportunities for your business. In order to tackle those challenges and take advantage of opportunities, you’ll need to be financially secure, ready to spend money on finding (and possibly retraining) employees and altering parts of your business.

    If you have a strategic plan and are financially prepared, you can beat your competition, gain revenue, grow and establish your business’s security for the next era.

Remember: Disruption is not the enemy – if you’re prepared, it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to your business.


Need help in preparing your business for future disruption? Contact the financial experts at Accru today.

About the Author
Known for a direct approach that achieves results, James is often asked to assist outside of the direct responsibilities associated with partnership at Accru Harris Orchard. He is the South Australian representative to the Institute of Chartered Accountants Public Practice Advisory Committee and is on the South Australian Family Business Association (FBA) advisor group.
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