Many businesses are wondering how to move forward after COVID-19 releases it’s grip on the world. The services industry, such as cleaning companies, electricians, and even hairdressers have come to a halt, unable to safely access their customers due to safe social distancing requirements.
The technical industry has also changed dramatically, with towering office buildings standing empty, as non essential employees cannot report to work.
We have no indication of how long public health officials will keep employees at bay, and need to also consider if our new “normal” will remain throughout upcoming colder months in the event of a second surge in sickness. That’s a lot to consider for businesses, and no matter your industry, it feels like you are aiming at a moving target.
So, what actions need to be taken to promote the longevity of your business?
Based on the research, here are our 5 Steps to Thrive post COVID-19.
Businesses that have had the most success so far are ones that took action almost immediately.
The key to taking action was assessing the services or products they offered to see if they would still be useful in the COVID-19 environment, and making changes if not. Many businesses considered what could be useful right away, what consumers really had a need for, and began to produce, or offer services that catered to those specific needs.
We saw an uptick in manufacturers making personal protective equipment (commonly called “PPE”), and products like facemasks, hand sanitizers and face shields for both medical professionals and the general public. Services based businesses have started offering virtual consulting, or discounts and promotions for future services, in order to bring in revenue as soon as possible.
The point is, the ones that will outlast the coronavirus are the ones that didn’t merely sit around and hope for better days. They rolled up their sleeves and got busy.
Pivot their business model.
McKinsey & Company have based suggestions on surveys and analytics performed on businesses during this time, and have recommended that those who want to carry on must pivot their business model.
As they suggest, companies need to focus on the following: recovering revenue, rebuilding operations, rethinking the organization, and accelerating the adoption of digital solutions. While each of these focal points may look different for each business, changing is the name of the game, here.
Taking action immediately is good, but knowing how you’re going to do it is better. Aligning your business with new consumer needs is key, as well as considering price points.
In a hurting economy, you will need to consider what you can offer, while still keeping in mind what the general consumer can afford.
People are scared, and therefore saving their money more now than they were just a few months ago. This may require flexibility in exploring the threshold at which what you’re offering is still attractive enough to persuade consumers (or other businesses) to make that purchase.
It’s no secret that automation makes a difference in the finances of a company. While it is an investment, focusing on automation can make a difference when the ability for human to human interaction is limited. The services industry can make use of automation by limiting contact with checkout procedures that can be done on the customer’s phone, or remotely from a home computer.
The tech industry can take advantage of automation to allow remote work to be done comfortably and efficiently with the use of online meeting apps, and providing hardware employees may need to handle their day to day tasks. Speaking of employees…
Treat Employees Well.
This should happen regardless of if we’re in a pandemic, but if not, companies should take this time to reevaluate how to show their most valuable asset how much they are appreciated. This doesn’t necessarily mean bonuses and gifts, as most people understand the situation we find ourselves in, but it does mean going above and beyond to make sure employees feel like they are taken care of.
At the end of the day, your employees are humans taking care of themselves, and more than likely, their families. People are rightfully concerned about staying safe in their working environment, and whether that is making sure they have enough personal protective equipment, or encouragement to work as they’re able, there are many different ways for companies to step it up at this time.
Remember, your employees want to work, and want the business to succeed. Making sure you’re responding to their needs is one way to ensure they’ll be there for you as you transition to make it through COVID-19.
Many businesses are having to examine their finances with a fine toothed comb, as they sort through what is an absolute must, and what is a “nice to have”. As many companies have discovered success with remote work, there may need to be considerations of downsizing physical office space to reduce rent and utilities. There may be subscriptions that can be discontinued (goodbye, free office coffee), or other IT needs that can be re-imagined to function differently.
Getting rid of excess at the moment can stretch whatever revenue is coming in a lot further, maintaining those “must haves” for a more sustained period of time.
There are a lot of ways companies can work towards the “long game” here, as tough as it is on everyone.
Although this can be difficult, acting quickly but maintaining your wits will be key in pressing forward through Coronavirus. This may shape your company in different ways, but after making it through all of this, your business will be stronger and absolutely more resilient.