In just a few months, large parts of the world have been dramatically disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the societal restrictions implemented to limit its spread. While the disease is still raging and the tragic loss of lives continues, cases are slowing down significantly or even stopping entirely in many countries.

However, the risk of renewed outbreaks looms large as social distancing measures are gradually eased – and this uncertainty is likely to remain until a vaccine is widely available.

The direct economic effects of the restrictions implemented so far, from self-isolating to travel bans, and the indirect effects from continued uncertainty have had a dramatic impact on businesses and individuals across the globe. As businesses are forced to close and people lose their jobs the negative spiral continues, and a severe recession is already a reality.

At Business Sweden we are working with both Swedish companies and international investors to address the challenges they face around the world and to reduce the negative impacts in whatever way possible. Most companies have started to look beyond the short-term immediate response and are now addressing the medium-term issues.

The need for strategic bets

How can you ensure preparedness and position your company for when markets return to some form of normalcy? Which actions should be taken, when and how? How have partners, clients and suppliers been affected by the turmoil?

Coming out of a crisis in the best way possible requires that you place strategic bets early on and are willing to transform your operations and value proposition. There is no easy way of adapting to the post-crisis world – but the rewards of changing your approach can be huge.

Most business leaders know this all too well from previous experiences. Regardless of the shape of the recovery, given the scale of the impact of this crisis the “new normal” is likely to unveil a business landscape that, to a large extent at least, is radically different from the pre-crisis reality.

A window to the future

To further explore the long-term horizon, Business Sweden presents a series of whitepapers and webinars that take a deep dive into the post-pandemic business landscape.

We will unpack the key issues that business leaders are likely to face as they look to grow internationally – examining all aspects that need careful consideration as companies rethink their strategies, business models and offerings for the future.

The framework for our analysis will be based on the following key questions:

Situation: What were the key characteristics of the pre-crisis business landscape for trade and investments?

- This retrospective starting point is essential to establish a baseline for exploring future potential scenarios. Key indicators will include exports, FDI and global sales that provide some sense of scale of what “getting back to normal” actually implies.

Outlook: What is the economic outlook for the coming years and what key scenarios should be considered?

- Individual sectors are suffering different effects from the crisis and the recovery will follow a different trajectory in each case. However, the scale of the macroeconomic impact is so great that it is worth considering a few common scenarios over the next few years. We will explore key triggers that could indicate which scenario is likely to dominate and how this impacts various industry segments.

Forecast: Which trends, transformations and shifts are likely to shape the new international business landscape?

- Providing accurate forecasts is always difficult and more or less impossible in times of crisis. But examining trends can still go a long way when it comes to guiding strategic decisions. We will investigate which pre-existing and new trends following the crisis are more likely to accelerate and how companies can adapt.

Analysis: How should Swedish companies adapt their thinking and improve their odds of winning in the post-outbreak world?

- Having wrestled with the above questions, we will put our findings into context and provide conclusions related to practical steps going forward. Which initiatives should be launched, how and when? Based on this analysis and emerging patterns we will outline the common themes for developing long-term strategies.

As mentioned in this introduction, tackling the challenges of global business in the midst of a crisis is no easy task. But it is essential that every company ramps up its preparedness sooner rather than later.

This article is an introduction to our upcoming series that will help you peer around the corner, get a glimpse of what the future holds and take action to prepare for the new normal. Stay tuned!