The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every part of the economy—from entertainment and food services to travel and technology. As a result, businesses have seen supply chains interrupted, slower demands for products and services, and even government-ordered closures. And, of course, companies have closed their doors. However, human beings are resilient, and amidst the heartbreak and chaos, business owners and employees have rallied to meet these COVID-19 challenges head-on and are stronger for the journey. To survive the pandemic, businesses can learn from these powerful lessons, that have positively affected the global economy.
Positive Steps Taken to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic
“Necessity is a mom whose number one offspring is invention.” Companies found they had to make changes in the way they do business—and they had to make those changes FAST!
Burger joints and other fast food outlets joined forces with companies like DoorDash, Uber and others to make delivery part of the offering. Indeed, larger chain restaurants reorganized to provide curbside service. And it didn’t stop there, even animal hospitals and veterinary clinics picked up and delivered beloved pets to the parking lots where their pet parents waited for examinations to complete.
Many businesses took bold steps to diversify by offering new products and exploring new markets. However, to do this, they needed cooperation from employees and customers. To make these adjustments, it took a basic understanding that all entities (workers, suppliers, customers, etc.) needed to go the extra mile to be patient, flexible, and work together to meet their common needs and goals.
2) Training and Upskilling
Many workers have had to adapt to rapid system and software changes. However, most of all, they have had to become proficient with digital communications. With so many people working from their homes or other remote locations, they have had to learn how to communicate effectively using email, team collaboration tools (e.g., Trello and Monday.com), and web conferencing.
Remote working to some degree is now a permanent part of the 21st-century workplace. As a result, many businesses are updating their training packages to include digital communication skills.
2) Rising Productivity Levels
Pre-COVID, “working from home,” was often perceived as non viable because of fears that workers would be too relaxed, lazy, or distracted, giving the needed work ethic short shrift. On the contrary, when remote working became necessary for a business to survive a pandemic, many benefits were discovered. Things like not having to spend time and energy on commuting to the office, reduced distractions, digital communication, and time-saving virtual meetings are some of them.
The New York Times reports:
“Since the second quarter of 2020, labor productivity—the amount of output per hour of work—has risen at a 3.8 percent annual rate, compared with 1.4 percent from 2005 to 2019. New data published Tuesday [August 10, 2021] showed the trend persisted this spring, with a 2.3 annual productivity growth in the second quarter.
A different way to look at it: Since the pandemic recession bottomed out in the spring of 2020, the nation’s gross domestic product has more than fully recovered, with second-quarter output 0.8 percent higher than before coronavirus. The number of jobs decreased 4.4 percent in the same span. Productivity growth accounts for most of the wedge between those.”
In order to survive the pandemic, businesses have been forced to do a “spring cleaning” of sorts. Because of the change in customer purchasing due to the virus, many companies re-evaluated their spending habits. Processes were streamlined, and budgets were tightened. And while this crisis has not come without significant costs (e.g., investments in new digital systems, home set up for staff, etc.), businesses were able to realize vast savings by not having to pay the daily operation costs of offices and travel expenses.
4) Sense of Community
We do not want to minimize the negative impact the coronavirus has had on many American workers. It is important to acknowledge the numerous people who experienced extreme job difficulties as well as those who had their work schedules reduced or lost their jobs altogether. However, it is also true that many American workers realized a new balance between time spent with their families and time spent working. And in many instances, companies experienced a new heightened sense of community as this adversity pulled people together to fight a common enemy.
Even with these positive outcomes, there is still much to do for a business to survive until this crisis is entirely behind us. Next, let’s look at a few survival tips for small businesses.
Positive Steps to Survive the Pandemic Beyond 2021
According to research reported by the Austin American Statesman, as of June 2021, there are 37.5 percent fewer small businesses open nationwide compared with January 2020. This statistic does not state why these shutdowns occurred or if they are permanent, but it seems safe to say that a good number of them closed because of the pandemic. Also, please note that there are no official closure statistics at this time; they are expected to be available sometime in 2022.
Considering what the business world has learned from the most extensive worldwide crisis since World War II, here are a few tips to surviving and even thriving in this cataclysm.
1) Embrace Innovation
Business owners must keep their eyes open and anticipate change as much as possible. There needs to be a recognition that many changes must be made rapidly. This calls for flexibility, decisiveness, and an ability to embrace vicissitude.
2) Take your Business Online
For a time, the pandemic forced the closure of all non-essential businesses, such as movie theaters, museums, and a myriad of small businesses. While it is true some of these venues are opening again, they need to open with the “new normal” in mind. By necessity, e-commerce developed into the main method of shopping globally. Going digital and creating a website are important ways to increase sales.
One statistic to note comes from the global management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company: Global shopping volumes increased 35 percent from February 2020 through April 2021. McKinsey goes on to state:
“In many cases, the strengths enabling some companies to surpass their industry peers—tech-forward and asset-light business models propelled by the tailwinds of growing demand—became even more important during the crisis.”
3) Survive a Pandemic and other Challenges – Plan for Logistics
Businesses are still dealing with events like border closures, disrupted supply chains, and delayed shipping. To make matters worse, thanks to Amazon, customers are used to deliveries within 24 hours. As a result, companies must take the time to discover quick and reliable logistics.
One interesting example of this type of adaptation is the increasing number of companies using “dark stores.” While this may sound rather sinister, companies like Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond have used this concept for years. A dark store is a brick-and-mortar location that is used only to store inventory. It serves as a type of warehouse and is not open to the public.
4) Change Your Business Model
One thing that COVID-19 has taught us is that all companies and industries must have plans in place to help them cope during crises. Words like “resilient,” “adaptive,” and “creative” come to mind.
A new business model that is gaining momentum is called “enterprise agility.” This model can survive more than a pandemic. It embraces the concept that this is a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, and by accepting agility, all storms can be weathered.
Small businesses have suffered a great deal of damage due to the pandemic. In some cases, the best solution is to make a fresh start by changing the company image or offering new services. Here are a few quick tips to note when trying to rebrand:
- Adjust your current mission, vision, and values
- Honestly assess the strength of your current brand
- Listen to your customer base
- Evaluate the market and your competition
- Determine which parts of your company are stable and do not need to change and what needs to be changed
- Plan the redesign for agility as well as stability
- Test with your customer base
- Design your launch with customer participation
Survive a Pandemic and More – A Word of Encouragement
Running a business in times like these is a huge challenge—but it can be an exciting impetus to reach deep within yourself and your employees to discover a strength and sense of creativity you might have never realized before. So, to create a great business, always keep your eyes open and your sights high!
Planet Technology USA maintains a large inventory of last-mile communications solutions. In addition, we have regular cargo and air shipments coming from our parent company in Taiwan. This allows us to provide customers with timely order fulfillment at competitive prices. To view our products, visit our website.