In its 2022 edition, the study “The world after”, conducted jointly by Bpifrance Le Lab and the French network of growth entrepreneurs CroissancePlus, deciphers 7 essential themes and aims to help entrepreneurs stay on track for the economic recovery in a context of profound transformations .
The consequences of the health crisis
The health crisis and the standards it has generated have increased corporate health responsibility. The first trend that is essential for the latter: health and safety. This means that they take preventive measures in favor of the physical health of their employees, but also their psychological health.
“digitalization with forced steps, which is essential at all levels”
The second major trend resulting directly from the health crisis and the introduction of telecommuting: forced digitization, which is essential at all levels. Accented by the health crisis, companies continue to expand their digital transition. Especially as they benefit from a favorable and stimulating environment through numerous tools, new legal standards and the 66% growth in online sales of brick-and-mortar stores between 2020 and 2021. To respond to this, companies must facilitate remote working and the skills of their employees and partners on the cloud, cybersecurity, data analytics, etc.
They also need to anticipate potential risks, not dismiss the cyber risk, and not neglect the additional costs of employee training and support. As a result, they will be able to develop and control the customer experience in both BtoC and BtoB based on the analysis of data collected on websites and social networks; strengthen the bond with their customers, respond to new consumption models and simplify organizational processes. Results, companies can reach a greater number of customers and prospects, reduce their costs and limit their impact on the environment.
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Take advantage of “eco-opportunities”
Other important trends in line with corporate social and environmental responsibility, respect for the climate and the environment. Companies must reduce their emissions and consider the impact of their activities. They can start with a few simple initiatives – recycle waste, reduce the use of paper or plastic, install automatic shut-off systems for lighting and air conditioning… In particular, they can assess their environmental footprint and train their employees on these issues to improve their behavior and daily practices. to adjust.
If they fail to keep up with this trend, they risk missing out on the new expectations of their consumer customers or losing public procurement contracts, with SME ETIs now having to respond to more restrictive supplier charters on CSR topics. But also that they experience difficulties in obtaining financing, due to the desire of financial players to green their portfolios; or hiring, where consideration for environmental issues is a criterion that more and more candidates are looking for.
“Protecting the environment and doing business are not mutually exclusive”
And Bpifrance Le Lab recalls that “environmental protection and business are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to enter new markets (“eco-opportunities”). New offers or the sale of second-hand products allow them to attract new customers and forge new partnerships. The search for meaning is also a trend that emerges in the research. The increased need for meaning applies to employees in the professional sphere as well as to citizens in their consumption. Companies are also called upon to question their impact on society and the environment. It therefore seems necessary for the latter to formulate their vision and values in order to promote the involvement of employees and other stakeholders.
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Prioritize local suppliers
Among the other topics raised by the various crises and highlighted in particular (cessation of activity, lack of raw materials, rising prices, etc.), autonomy and sovereignty. The suspensions of trade between countries have exposed the strong interdependence of economies and the fragility of value chains. According to the SME barometer Bpifrance Le Lab Rexecode, 69% of VSE’s SMEs were already experiencing supply problems last November. To overcome this interdependence, companies have an interest in reducing their reliance on certain suppliers.
“Encouraging French territories and (…) responding to environmental challenges”
The relocation and diversification of sources of supply are measures to enable them to gain autonomy, strengthen their brand image with the “Made in France”, revitalize the French territories and also respond to environmental issues. Finally, the study highlights other trends such as the new relationship with space, i.e. the mobility of goods and people, and flexibility and resilience, which allow companies to remain nimble in the face of the unexpected in order to remain efficient and competitive.
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* Research conducted on the basis of publications, specialized articles, expert reports and workshops with 11 managers of SMEs and ETIs from the CroissancePlus network of entrepreneurs
Charlotte de Saintignon