The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused disruption and challenges for businesses worldwide. However, amidst the chaos, some companies have managed to thrive and even achieve unprecedented levels of success. These pandemic-era success stories offer valuable insights into what it takes to grow a business successfully, even in times of uncertainty and volatility.
To understand the factors that distinguished companies that failed during the pandemic from those that survived or thrived, cloud hosting solutions provider, Liquid Web conducted a comprehensive study, surveying 1,000 owners, partners, and C-level executives. The survey revealed that 40% of the respondents had scaled their businesses in the last five years. Interestingly, only 25% of the successful businesses surveyed attributed their success purely to the increased demand for their goods or services due to COVID.
In this article, we will explore some of the key success factors and takeaways from this study that can help organizations to thrive in the face of adversity. Excluding the “COVID-friendly” businesses, the study identified three key factors that contributed to the success of the remaining companies:
- employee attraction and retention,
- outsourcing, and
Attract and retain top talents during a skills shortage
The global labor shortage has posed unprecedented challenges for businesses across all industries. According to Korn Ferry, a leading workforce research firm, this talent shortage could reach 85 million people by 2030. In the field of IT, the demand for skilled talent is so high that it far outpaces the growth trends of managed service providers.
According to the study, businesses are addressing this dilemma by focusing on their employees at a personal level and improving their quality of life. The pandemic-induced shift to remote work has allowed employers to attain and retain top talent by embracing the “work from home” culture.
Over half (61.2%) of the surveyed respondents have let at least 50% of their workforce go remote. Furthermore, 11.7% of companies have transitioned into a 100% remote structure, and 41.24% of tech-related businesses surveyed have gone fully remote.
However, top-performing managers and C-level executives are doing much more than just going remote to keep their best people. 40% of the companies in our study have raised employee compensation in the last 5 years, while the same percentage have improved their employee benefits packages, providing increased mental and general health resources to keep their employees happy.
Reduce expenses by outsourcing
Businesses are increasingly turning to outsourcing to fill highly specialized roles on a project-by-project basis. The study found that 75% of the predominant industries surveyed preferred to outsource talent or rely on a hybrid model of outsourcing and internal hiring. In the IT sector, this ratio jumps to 70.1%.
This trend is driven by the highly specialized nature of IT roles, which require in-demand skills and knowledge of specific software platforms or systems, often at a higher cost. Hiring specialized IT professionals on a freelance or contract basis allows employers to remain competitive and avoid the high costs of hiring and training.
IT roles were identified as a crucial factor in business growth, regardless of whether organizations opted to hire or outsource. Of the businesses surveyed, 79% hired additional employees in the past five years, with 72% of those roles being IT-related. Out of those roles, 40.6% were IT positions.
The companies that chose to outsource IT services saw a higher return on investment by receiving top-quality services at a lower cost, saving time and energy.
Hiring IT professionals on a freelance or contract basis allowed 36.83% of respondents to expand the range of services they offer, reveals the Liquid Web study.
Moreover, nearly a third (30.53%) of these companies were able to hire workers with specific credentials required to comply with regulations such as HIPAA and PCI, and 21.65% were able to address IT challenges that they could not handle internally.
Scaling technology to scale business
To successfully scale a business, it is crucial to scale its technology as without the proper IT framework, business growth efforts may not succeed. The study found that 62% of businesses scaled their IT infrastructure to accommodate bigger virtual machines.
This enables businesses to move from on-premises to virtual environments, use less outdated legacy IT assets, and handle complex IT issues such as horizontal vs. vertical scaling for application hosting. Popular ways businesses used to support and manage their growth included improving reliability and uptime, cybersecurity needs, CRM platforms, accounting/bookkeeping, and adding general business growth tools.
It is difficult to scale a business during challenging times, but by recruiting talented individuals and enhancing their work environment, outsourcing as needed, and prioritizing technology, businesses can overcome any obstacle.
Businesses must examine the strategies and tactics employed by these companies for adaptability, innovation, and resilience.
Source credits: Liquid Web