The COVID-19 pandemic has made it challenging for most businesses—big or small, to keep their financial wheels running. Lockdown periods, social distancing, travel bans, and other SOPs resulted in less revenue generation, bringing some of the biggest industries down to their knees. Even today, there’s plenty of uncertainty in the global financial environment, and there’s no telling when the pandemic will come to an end.
Lockdown and other safety measures that affect profit and loss today can cause a ripple effect that will impact a country’s economy sooner or later. Unfortunately, the pandemic has perhaps most brutally impacted startups and other small businesses. Since they often have smaller cash reserves, they have even smaller margins for managing sudden plunges. While a few business owners believe they have to wait out these difficult times, their competitors have already started planning new strategies. Those who remain rigid in their plans without leaving any room for innovation will eventually suffer heavy losses. Hence, adapting to unique and changing circumstances is imperative for any business to stay afloat.
Below we’ll discuss the top 5 business strategies companies have adopted to survive the pandemic and keep improving sales.
1. Digitalize as much as possible
During the pandemic, consumers and other stakeholders of businesses became house-bound. Under strict directions, non-essential industries experienced closure, because of which sales took a resounding hit. Consumers turned to online communication as the only available channel and started doing business with companies on digital platforms.
Identifying and meeting your customer’s needs is essential to succeed. Without transitioning to a digitalized form of business, you might be hindering your company’s potential growth. You can avail yourself of millions of online tools using digital supermarket to find the technology needed to grow your business. Although businesses worldwide are beginning to open up slowly, customers find themselves no longer wanting to visit stores as much as they used to. Priorities have shifted, and people are ready to step into new experiences.
2. Reconfigure your budget
You and your business, like many others, probably got caught in the crosshairs of the pandemic. Maybe new regulations forced you to shut down your business entirely, or perhaps you made the best out of a bad situation and kept operations running. Whatever the case, there’s a good chance your revenue has experienced some changes over the past few years. Because of this, your cash flow is different from what you predicted at the beginning of the pandemic, and so now you must start making some much-needed adjustments.
Of course, the first step is to revisit your budget. If your sales took a plunge, you’d need to consider this. To help bounce back from the negative cash flow, you’ll have to make some necessary budget cuts. Identify which areas of your enterprise constitute unnecessary expenses and eliminate them until you can fully get back on your feet. With more employees working from home, you may be able to reduce office rental space and other overhead costs to compensate for potential loss of income.
3. Drive systemic change
If nothing else, the pandemic has served as a stern reminder of how interconnected we are in our societies. Collaborations between multi-stakeholders and systemic resilience are crucial more now than ever before. But to build these components, deep essence of trust must be ingrained across diverse stakeholders who are vital for the success of any business. The value of people relationships and communities is so well-recognized today that not including them in up-and-coming business strategies is simply a shame.
For your business to start working towards bringing systemic change, try working on these steps:
- understand the world around you as a set of interconnected issues
- identify where you can make the most significant impact, ideally in a way that drives value back to your business
- design explicit theories of change
- work towards transformational change
- be clear about what you need to do alone and where you must collaborate
- keep your assumptions and bias in-check
4. Review business insurance policy
Business interruption insurance offers companies protection against financial loss in circumstances when they’re unable to operate. Depending on the terms of your policy and how the insurer interprets them, you might be able to make a claim. But there’s a lot of confusion about whether this coverage includes pandemic-related losses.
Infectious diseases are often not a part of BII policies, and hence most entrepreneurs receive no compensation when their businesses lose income during the pandemic. Therefore, to remain on the side of caution, it’s worth reviewing your policy and checking with your insurance agent your plans and agreements for the future.
5. Rethink staffing
Unfortunately, there may have to be a few lay-offs in extreme cases. Perform a critical analysis of your staff to identify employees essential for maintaining minimal levels of operation. Sometimes, you can reduce the number of work hours instead of cutting down staff to recover the business loss. Discuss with your employees and remodel a reduction in hours without compromising your work’s productivity.
Keep laying off as a last resort, but you must do it when it’s required. Remind employees of their value and help them understand how this is the last thing you’d want to do. Staying on good terms with your team is essential as they will be your company’s “brand ambassadors” wherever they go next.
Sometimes a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, forces us to make decisions we’ve avoided for too long. It doesn’t matter how deeply your business has fallen; what’s important is that you can get back up. With a little bit of strategic planning, reimagining your budget, and creating new consumer strategies, you’ll be ready to step on the gas pedal once again.
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