The Battle For Survival
It has been months since the COVID-19 outbreak. As research and medical teams across the world race to find a solution, the losses to businesses worldwide continue to mount. Thousands of businesses have shut down, while millions have taken drastic and painful measures to reduce costs and stay operational.
A Shift In Perspective
It is easy to view the pandemic as a monster unleashing its fury on the corporate world. However, adversity is a powerful driving force. Viewed from this perspective, the pandemic may serve as the impetus for businesses to explore new avenues of growth, turning more agile and creative.
The Need To Adapt
In these challenging times, businesses need to be even more focused and alert. They need to embrace uncertainty and gear up for it. Even in the pandemic, the environment presents new opportunities, possibly through a new market segment or an untapped product extension. Today, to stay open for business, it is crucial to stay open to change.
Addressing Stakeholder Concerns
As the pandemic continues to spread unabated, businesses need to address employees’ and consumers’ rising concerns. With massive layoffs and job scarcity, employees face the pressures of uncertainty and instability, resulting in mental health issues in many cases. Moreover, safety is a key concern of both employees and consumers that businesses need to consider.
Against the backdrop of these issues, concerns, and perspectives, here are three measures that businesses can take to survive and, in fact, thrive in the pandemic.
1. Pivot or Perish
Think beyond the ordinary: The path to success in these times begins with a change in mindset. These unusual times call for unconventional business strategies and tactics. Think out of the box, get creative, and explore new business possibilities and processes. Add a new product line that is currently in demand, or offer customized service with takers.
Go the online route: One powerful growth avenue for businesses in these testing times is going online. Does your business have an online presence? Is it possible to enhance and monetize it? Can you expand your online presence through social media? The possibilities are tremendous; businesses need to identify them and plan for them.
Purpose brings profits: As responsible corporate citizens, businesses are expected to exhibit a larger sense of purpose by contributing to the coronavirus outbreak’s containment efforts. The businesses that infuse this purpose within their operations today will naturally be preferred by customers, employees, and the larger community.
Flexibility is the key: Instead of cosmetic changes to their offering, businesses need to brainstorm and fill the new opportunity gaps emerging in the pandemic. Today, businesses need to adapt, adopt, and innovate more than ever before.
2. Empathize with Employees
Your employees, your resources: Your employees are a vital asset of your business, critical to its operations. In these testing times, your employees’ well-being, safety, and protection are your responsibility and the best investment that your business can make.
Physical safety: Businesses owe it to their employees to ensure adherence to stringent guidelines for hygiene and safe practices. Employees should be made to feel safe at all times. Non-essential travel needs to be curtailed, and businesses should encourage the work-from-home concept as far as possible.
Rising mental health issues: The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of millions globally. The fear of losing the job and income, the extended lockdown, social distancing, and other factors can lead to depression and other issues among employees.
Improved productivity: Businesses need to empathize with employees, extend support, and be humane towards them. In turn, this encourages higher productivity and fosters greater loyalty in employees towards the organization, improving talent retention.
3. Create a Contingency Plan
Ensuring resilience: Creating a contingency plan for your business is the only way to ensure that it stays resilient in COVID-19. After all, contingency plans are the shock absorbers of your business and need to be formulated and updated.
Defining scenarios: Contingency planning involves identifying various scenarios that can affect your business. For instance, a new research fact about the virus could emerge, leading to a decline in hand sanitizers’ demand. This could result in losses for businesses involved in the manufacture or sale of sanitizers. Thus, your contingency plans need to project various scenarios and plan for each of them.
Assigning responsibilities: Businesses need to set up a response team responsible for activating the contingency plan and measuring results. Key decision-makers need to be defined for various roles and outcomes.
Staying prepared: Planning for emergencies is never an easy task as it involves multiple variables and triggers that can be set off unexpectedly. However, with foresight, market research, and the right attitude, you can ensure that your business is ready to face the unexpected and thrive.
Regardless of their size, most businesses are vulnerable in this pandemic. However, by adopting the above three measures and a positive outlook, businesses can ride the wave of uncertainty and emerge stronger in the pandemic.