Covid-19 pandemic, impact on businesses, future strategy and tech
COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND BUSINESS IMPACT
The coronavirus is causing chaos and disruption which threatens future predictability, stability, and businesses need to act fast against the critical challenges to survive this global pandemic. With the rapid spreading pandemic of COVID-19 and updates flying in every minute, everybody seems to be thinking that the winter has finally come. But for businesses, the winter is yet to come and should prepare for a long cold winter on the way.
The world today is quite different than it was a few weeks ago and is likely to shift the business towards a very different dimension. All the lifestyle habits especially how we shop, travel and work are going to change for years to come. Companies need to organize and identify gaps in their plans, most of the businesses need to consider the opportunity to tune the business model and offering to fit the changing market better — consumer behavior is changing, the competitive landscape is changing.
SURVIVING YOUR ORGANIZATION DURING PANDEMIC
So a common question comes to every business is asking “when is it over?”, instead they should think of surviving then thrive when it’s over. To keep the head above water companies should take action now but obviously with compassion. Tech offers the most effective tool I’d say to survive the business in this epidemic crisis response. Executive teams need to demonstrate leadership by ensuring the safety and health of every employee while also focusing on business continuity. The leadership team should work on leading and managing the crisis response effectively using technological tools. Here are some strategies and mitigating actions which should work out the pandemic:
One strategy ahead of all is to care for your employees by using more healthy working habits. Save people more than resources, and off-course stay connected digitally.
Quick Response Framework
Companies should build a quick response framework to elevate the crisis response management. A complete central command point with decisive authority who would leverage for decision making, coordination, and communication. Must enable digital tools to create and execute a robust communication plan which includes employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and other stakeholders. A single point of contact for instant updates and collaboration with cross-functional teams and concrete focus to raise awareness, support business continuity, and provide clear direction.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting beyond anticipation, global supply chains, financial markets all are ripped apart. Schools, workplaces and millions of people around the globe are forced into social isolation due to this microscopic novel coronavirus.
Virtual is the new norm for working.
Virtual communication and remote workforce with the global shutdown, it is beyond doubt that investing and focusing on technology is the key to the survival of any business. There are key challenges for any businesses now,
- Protecting employees
- Managing business engagement
- Minimizing disruption of customer service
Going Digital is the only effective solution we have to face these challenges. For employee engagement. COVID-19 is rewriting the business future which will reshape the workplace as we know it. People and organizations around the globe are shifting from their traditional in-person workplaces to virtual ways of working without any ideal training and resources, leaders are suddenly managing virtual teams without well planning and transition phasing. Organizations are experimenting with alternatives to test and learn — reimagining traditional ways of working to deliver on the long-awaited work-from-home promises of work-life integration, flexibility, and inclusivity. As COO of Coders Garage which is a global digital consultancy firm, we serve as a digital transformation partner to our clients and unfortunately the transformation is happening in an unnatural way globally. Our remote working experience with clients and colleagues proved that technology leverages empowerment, engagement, and reinforcement of our connections.
Now is the time to discover all the digital channels available, the quick adaption of technology and effort to focus on investing in technology is an advancement to the upcoming post-COVID-19 pandemic reality. Customers are your biggest supporters, and they want that same transparency. Going digital would ensure your loyalty and reliability to the customer’s needs. Focusing on people, technology, and partners, businesses will enable themself strategically during the pandemic.
Digital enabling is not a bad thing to encounter, it’s the future proof strategy companies take, but cyber threats and attacks are the concern during any sort of crisis, companies need to educate your employees for preventing these for working safely from home.
Revised Financial Plan for Business Preparedness
2020–2021 business forecasts are drastically changed from what you expected just a few weeks ago. Sales drop and revenue loss are expected. So all the financial forecasts should be modified to consider realistic and worst-case scenarios to deal with the immediate impacts, long-term implications of this unique global crisis. You should consider business risk and make prudent business decisions about financial liquidity. The leadership team should develop an immediate action plan to fill up the anticipated revenue gaps, stabilize financial liquidity, reduce net working capital, and identify alternative sources of financing. Also focusing on near-term procurement efforts and supply chain cost reductions, communications, and credit policy according to the changed reality. The understanding and wise approach on time to each of these areas can shape your response to the coronavirus both in the near-term and as you look further ahead.
I know leading the crisis is not joy but consider following things effectively while facing crisis response:
Give employees flexibility. Be patient, responsive and create new team norms.
Take care of your team, talk to your people, customers, partner, and investors — rather over-communicate than under-communicate. When times get rough, existing relationships matter.
Stay visible. Communicate very clearly to your customers and employees. Be transparent while communicating with customers, be upfront with problems and offer solutions when you have those.
POST-CORONAVIRUS WORLD AND BUSINESS
Covid-19 has disrupted the way of businesses irrevocably for the next decade. The pandemic will change the business practice especially workplace culture, remote work, supply chain strategy and in-person meetings as Harvard Business School experts are predicting. So businesses need to capitalize on the underlying changes, like immediate focus on investing in work-from-home technology, choosing effective collaboration tools, such as internal communications programs or secure Wi-Fi networks to allow for remote work. The tech team should work on network improvements for handling sizable work-from-home efforts and ensure maximizing the use of virtual meeting spaces and other communication platforms. Also to respond over the evolving changes just crosscheck if your organization meets the following checklist:
- Distributed leadership
- Guided by simple yet flexible rules
- Dispersed workforce
- Loosely coupled or less interdependent
If you have adjusted your business with the above checklist you may have made it future-ready.
FINAL WORDS TOWARD THE LIGHT OF HOPE
And there is light under the tunnel, as for black swan events like pandemics and the recession has the history of altering the course towards innovation. The trajectory of governments, economies, and businesses are about to change for the greater good. Many of today’s unicorns have been founded or built during recessions or downturns, from the recent past, Alibaba emerged from SARS pandemic of 2002–2004 from then small e-commerce to the retail giant in Asia. Resource scarcity helps businesses to be creative and pivot.
Companies should prepare for a post-COVID-19 world return. A detailed rebound plan covering a range of ramp-up imperatives including marketing and customer re-engagement, restart operations, employee communications, and supplier reboots, and retrain your workforce if necessary.
Remember you are not alone, everyone is facing the same crisis as you, even I too am experiencing anxiety, fear, depression, stress, and exhaustion. This situation will abate and we will get past this.
This is a great time to share your insight, it seems helpful, contributing and I hope you liked it. I truly wish you the best and hope to see you on the flip side of this surreal situation none of us asked for.