We are approaching this year’s first milestone of business: we are closing the first quarter. It is an important assessment point every year because it shows quite accurately to what extent our plans for the given year were realised. Although at this point, nothing is definitive, it shows pretty well whether we are following the right road to reach our goals. If Q1 is considered important in general, what could we say about its closure at the end of March now, in 2021? We do not need to find the right words; I think we all know what the stakes are.
What did we know last year?
Last year, the market collapse forced every company to build up a new strategy and rethink their entire business activities. No market actor avoided having think through more precisely than usual whether their business strategy, products, and services lost their validity due to the pandemic, at least for safety reasons. This added an extra burden for all the managers when closing last year. However, owners expect that well-paid colleagues can successfully meet this challenge. Goals had to be defined even though a lot of information that had a significant effect on business was not available. Who could calculate the pace at which vaccines would arrive and how it would affect the number of new cases? We can also say that not many professionals took it for granted that there would be a third wave of the pandemic, not to mention that an even smaller number of them published that it would be more shocking than the first two waves. We did not know how people would react to these events. Who would have known that humanity’s sense of fear would significantly decrease
We also have to take into consideration the local differences regarding the speed of recovery. Israel was the first country to rapidly vaccinate its population, while everybody was tremblingly observing how they seized the opportunity. They succeeded. Who would have thought that Europe would lag behind the USA regarding the management of the vaccines, and while in the USA they are thinking about the pace of reopening, the third wave is running rampant in parts of Europe. In addition, nobody ever thought that in the meantime, business life would be restarting at high speeds and that while the current lockdowns destroy the B2C sector, the market is about to “come back ‘round” in the B2B sector. We could keep listing the surprises and inexplicable changes or start to analyse how unpredictable all of these things were even a month ago. However, that would make no sense. Business can be cruel, and at the end of the day, everybody expects results. In addition, there is more information available about how some companies benefited from the crisis, and nowadays, we do not talk about the ones that were supposed to deliver a good performance due to the crisis. Disinfectant manufacturers are no longer on centre stage.
A growing number of companies operating in economic fields that were negatively affected by COVID-19 can share their good results because they could take serious strategic steps, they were proactive, and it granted them a significant competitive advantage compared to their competitors. It is a sensible calculation that we cannot be in big trouble until we can increase our company’s market position to a greater extent than that of the market downturn. A lot of people took this calculation extremely seriously. 2021 is like a marathon where not only professional athletes compete. This sport is becoming more popular because people love to set out goals and work towards achieving them. However, not everybody can always run the whole distance, and there is no problem with that. Everyone starts the competition, but some competitors give up the race after certain intervals. It is natural. If a professional athlete did so, other competitors would probably be surprised. It does not happen very often; however, we have seen examples of it. This year’s marathon has started. The stakes are higher than ever, and we have reached the first quarter. Some people have already given up the competition. Some professionals reach this point with weak times and have to change tactics. Some amateur competitors deliver a surprisingly good performance, and some professionals deliver their usual performance as if nothing has happened. Which group do you belong to?