On the 15th April 2020, Kristalina Georgieva, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, said that the measures which have been put in place to fight the Covid-19 have stopped economies in their tracks.
According to her, the IMF anticipates that this will result in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression”. While the implementation of regulations such as social distancing and lockdowns are necessary to protect human life, without which there would be no economy, the damage to businesses is undeniable. Companies face huge challenges including bankruptcy, debt servicing, and widespread unemployment.
At a time like this, it is more important than ever to adapt to the environment. Modifying your business structure to allow for effective and efficient functioning during the pandemic will set you apart from the rest. Moreover, it may just be the only route to survival.
Here’s how to adapt:
You have the world at your fingertips
The power of the internet is unmatched. By finding online alternatives for your business’s day-to-day activities you’re laying the foundation for a robust business. This can be done in a variety of ways. Move your employees online, since they cannot show up to the office; this ensures that productivity is upheld.
Include video conferencing to build morale and open lines of communication. In 2020 it is easier than ever to manage a team remotely. It’s best you use this to your advantage. Furthermore, infrastructure is important. Ensure that you have an online point-of-sales that is user friendly, safe, secure, and trustworthy.
Darwinism for business – adapt or die
As a business, you’re aware that as times change so do customers needs and wants. With the rapid shift in these caused by the pandemic, you’ll have to adjust just as quickly. Consider what the wants and needs of your customers are currently and adjust your business to fulfil those requirements.
The owners of Absolut Vodka, Pernod Ricard, are now producing hand sanitizer using ethanol they have in stock. Hand sanitizer is in high demand, where as alcohol is not as much, as it is banned in some countries such as South Africa. ‘Supply and demand’ is the name of the game.
Altruism is attractive
Nobody forgets a company who showed compassion during tough times. Many companies are engaging in community relief efforts. For example, brewing companies around the Western Cape, in South Africa, including Woodstock Brewery and Drifter Brewing Company, have formed a collective which feeds those in need.
Their production has stopped so they’re using their resources to assist. Their names will not be forgotten. Tech giants like Google have also been giving, by assisting teachers and students with online tools to ensure learning continues.
A little goodwill goes a long way
Show your customers you are trying to provide for them, despite the tough times. Make it clear that with you, they are receiving value, no matter what. Qatar Airways announced a rebooking policy on the 14th May 2020. Their new “Travel with Confidence” policy makes generous allowances for flyers, including extensive flexibility and additional options.
Customers who book tickets before the 30th September 2020 are able to adjust travel dates and destinations without incurring additional fees, tickets can be swapped for ‘Qmiles’ which can be redeemed for flight rewards and cabin upgrades, and their tickets have extended validity. Policies like these prove to your customers that you have their best interests at heart. Not only that, but it may even increase sales. Try to implement some goodwill strategies into your business plan.
Social media spreads the word
Not only is it a money maker these days, it’s also an effective advertising tool when used correctly. Make use of all available platforms, interact with regular users, establish relationships with your customers and keep your name in the mouths of others. Forming alliances with other companies may also increase your visibility on social media platforms.
The best defense is a good offense
Ensure that you’re planning for every possible outcome. With the pandemic essentially controlling the future at this time, what will happen next is practically impossible to know. For this reason, you must plan for several different paths. Plan for the absolute extreme, for the best-case scenario, and for everything in between. This is the easiest way to ensure that you stay on track.
Reward loyalty by adapting prices
Many have been retrenched, temporarily laid off, or faced massive salary reductions during this time. Adapt your prices to reflect your understanding of the times and possibly included free bonuses and perks for people who are loyal to your company. Find a way to ensure that you retain the customers who keep coming back no matter what.