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COVID-19: Time to turn disruption into innovation (guest column)


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This is a guest column from Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA:

“All around the world we are facing an unprecedented crisis, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale since before most of us were born. Like most industries, this also has also had implications for the music business, some parts more than others. We are getting all too used to hearing of festival, tour and conference postponements or employees losing their jobs.

Against these truly overcast skies, there are ways to make the best of the situation. We’ve all been forced to refocus on what we do and why, as we reimagine our workforces working from home. While disruptive, this focusing process not only enables us to cope best in the short term but to emerge stronger once the clouds clear.

Of course, working from home presents its challenges; for those looking after children normally at school, for singles and even more so single parents. But most of us who traditionally commuted to the office every day have been surprised by how much can be achieved. We have also quickly shaken off some outdated norms — a video conference with a baby or pet being introduced at the start of the meeting is if anything quite charming.

In this period of disruption, taking the time to revisit your objectives and key results provides an opportunity to clarify staff members’ priorities. And in fact, being removed from the general melee of an office can make it easier for team members to focus more clearly on their individual objectives.

pieter van rijn fuga

In the short term, we must accept there may be things we simply cannot do. For some, this might mean less of a focus on client acquisition if this is reliant on meetings, conferences and travel.

Instead, they might focus on relationship building and upselling to existing clients, or providing them with long-awaited product upgrades that are going to ensure long term retention. Alternatively, they could use the time to carry out long-overdue internal system or process improvements.

Perhaps more importantly, we now have an opportunity to reappraise our business in light of important societal issues such as climate change. Moving forward, we could all think twice before travelling for a meeting, considering the value of online as opposed to face to face. Or if it’s really important, rather than four people flying over, could just two make the trip with the others joining remotely?

Perhaps rather than sending six people to a conference, we could send three, with the other three attending a different conference? Could we even encourage employees to occasionally work from home once this is all over, both to save on travel and even on office space?

At the very least, reevaluating your business’s goals enables staff to gain clarity, so working from home becomes more effective and clients see improved results.

But you should go further and use this disruptive opportunity to take a second look at your business’s processes. If you don’t get too hung up on how it used to be, your business has a great shot at emerging stronger than ever before.”

This column was originally published in the Music Ally Q1 2020 Report, which is part of our subscription research service. You can sign up for a free trial subscription here. FUGA is a partner for Music Ally’s independent labels subscription.

Stuart Dredge

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