How to create a system that scales up alongside market recovery

Reviewing your customer base and your sales cycle as attention shifts to recovery can help build a deep understanding of where the opportunities and risks lie, allowing you to manage those effectively to support recovery and growth.

Boosting distribution channel performance – If your choices around distribution channels have been reactive, taking a more proactive or strategic view can help improve efficiency. Carefully reviewing your intermediaries can help identify performance issues, or enable you to take lessons from those performing well to apply more broadly. Other options to consider include enhancing direct channels to reach a broader customer segment and reduce your reliance on intermediaries, or consolidating your distribution channels through acquisition, which could increase control, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Improving sales and supply chain relationships – Making the most of recovery means having the ability to react quickly to changes in customer demand. Building close relationships within your sales and supply chain can help meet growth quickly and efficiently, enhancing your business’ reputation and supporting sustainable growth through recovery and beyond. Improving communications throughout the sales and supply chain could help strengthen relationships and provide confidence for your business plans.

Retaining and acquiring customers – If you continued trading during tough times, you may have acquired new customers. Retaining them when business as usual resumes can provide a boost to your growth plans. For those businesses whose sales or production paused, re-establishing relationships with key customers is crucial. Adding value to the relationship, providing good service and reliability, and even favourable terms, will all count. There may also be the opportunity to acquire new customers, so ensuring you have the capacity and capability to meet potential demand is vital.

Prioritising payments and managing cash – By streamlining your payment collection and reducing the risk of non-payment you can make sure that cash is moving efficiently through your business and that funds aren’t stretched. Credit checking new customers and negotiating tighter payment terms could help. Other options include offering alternative payment options, making it easier for customers to pay or using receivables finance.

Ensuring you can fulfil demand – Recovery can take time, but pent-up demand can lead to an initial rush of sales, that can be hard to manage. It may be hard to balance supply and demand in that situation but ensuring you can fulfil customer orders and not stretching cashflow too thinly is important. Talking to suppliers and distributors, keeping a close eye on production capacity, and forecasting demand can put you in a strong position. Meanwhile ensuring you have the staff and skills needed and appropriate financing in place, can help you manage the recovery phase and rebuild a business that’s sustainable over the long term.

Please contact your local HSBC representative to discuss how we can help you and your business.