2020 will be remembered all over as the pandemic year. The year which taught us millennials to be patient, analyze situations and find ways; even in the face of most daunting uncertainties.
With most companies going down on sales, due to the global lockdown, 2020 has been a year of rampant layoffs and complete office closures. The world faced an economic meltdown of sorts. For those brands that did not have an online presence already or required customer’s physical presence in-store were far more affected. Even businesses that had online presence, suffered a great deal as the user preferences changed overnight, drastically from being positive shoppers and consumers to cautious savers. The tourism industry severed one of the biggest blows in its all-time history and is still finding ways to cope ahead with the ramifications.
The rise of a New Year
Year 2021 has begun with a new ray of hope that the ‘Covid Vaccine’ has promised. But, similar to us humans, our businesses too have survived the last year. In fact, many of them with requisite changes have made good numbers, or are already on their way to reach back to original scales of functioning. But the lessons of this era (covid era) shall stay with us, for a long time to come. Let us analyze the most important of them in detail:
1. Online Presence is a necessity
Most businesses were already aware of this and had invested into websites, mobile apps and web apps already. And also they are investing for their mobile app maintenance.
As per a Shopify Report, by 2021, worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion with Asia being the leader in all ecommerce sales, closely followed by the US and Europe.
Mobile apps and websites tend to open up the whole world as consumers for businesses without requiring much in terms of investments. With ease of use and deep accessibility even in the times of a pandemic, websites and mobile apps for small businesses offer one of the most promising opportunities for growth.
2. Lookout for a new business development
The pandemic has taught us that in the face of a calamity, some businesses work and some don’t. For instance, a grocery store and an online education app will always see business, come what may. You could plan on finding such business ideas of your own and develop them even on the sidelines of your existing business; as a backup to fall on when things do not go your way. You could also choose to develop a business vertical from your current existence that shall stay viable in these times. For instance, a restaurant could easily workout a food delivery option for lockdowns.
3. Digital transactions are a new norm
As per a statista report, an estimated 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online in 2019. Most of these purchases were made through digital transaction platforms. With Government eyeing complete digitalization of all monetary transactions, many large corporates (PayTm, Google Pay, Whatsapp, etc.) have been in a running to develop their own platforms in this vertical. Even, the Indian Government has launched its own digital UPI platform and mostly all banks have been implying their own internet banking and mobile app services (which were their functional heads in lockdown) for transactions. With its ease and contactless utilities, these transactions are touted to multiply manifolds in the coming year. So, if you have already not included online payments options and payment gateways within your business app, you need to do them now!
4. Launch new products with a much wider scope in mind
Remember, many product launches and service provisions have been halted by businesses in 2020 due to the overall uncertain market situation. The tides are turning in 2021, with businesses again looking for the apt way and the apt times to launch their products. But, all this is gonna happen at a slow and steady pace. So, as a business owner, you should be cautiously monitoring market trends and user sentiments and then develop a product launch schedule that is open for changes due to uncertainties and has a wider scope. Utilize the available time on hand to understand markets and develop a better launch strategy as well as find ways to evolve your product and services itself. Remember, try going out with all preparations done.
5. Find ways to connect with your users better
Your users should be at the center of all your business development strategies, and a deeper connection with them is an asset that shall stay with you and your business, pandemic or no-pandemic. Find ways to connect with them better and if possible at a more personal level. This shall not involve inclusion of too much funds, but shall help you develop a new spirit of growth for your business. So, go ahead, make calls, send timely emails, put in posts on social media, etc. But, remember whatever you may do; be compassionate and gentle as 2020 has been harsh on everyone already and everyone is looking for ways to recuperate in 2021.
6. Have a plan B and if possible a plan C, at hand
The uncertain year of 2020, if anything, has taught us that time can change at any instant and that we should always be prepared, come what may. With scientists now predicting several other viral threats for the upcoming times; it is more than important that you as a business develop manifold contingency plans that shall help you survive even if one of these unpleasant scenarios do occur. For instance: If you plan to develop a ‘smart casuals’ brand, you should be ready to manufacture comfy sleepwear, if another lockdown occurs and people do not have an immediate need for street-wear.
Stay positive, come what may
We humans are quite adaptable and so are our mindsets. So, should also be our businesses. As normalcy restores itself slowly, users are also set to get back on their initial lifestyle patterns. But, as a business owner you should positively remember this year, its effects and the invaluable humanitarian lessons that it has taught us. It was the silver lining of this dark cloud. Try and make it shine through your business endeavors ahead.