The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways beyond one could ever imagine.
What started as just another new virus rapidly engulfed the whole world; and one of the hardest impacts, other than that on health, was the blow to the global economy.
Businesses were in a state of shock, but gradually, they had to adapt to the changes to survive. Though maximum businesses, both big and small, had a tough time, the eCommerce landscape achieved a whole new height as online retailing became the new normal. Popular online retailers have adopted the latest technology-based tools to provide uninterrupted services to customers.
Looking at it from another perspective, there are a host of things that businesses and entrepreneurs have learned from this pandemic-hit scenario. These are lessons that they must use to plan their future course of action to prosper in the post-COVID market.
Some of the most noteworthy things that businesses have realized include –
- It is an ever-changing scenario – And it will keep changing irrespective of whether there is a pandemic or not. The businesses that can adapt and change themselves according to the changing scenario will make it big in the long run. Sustaining and capitalizing on the opportunities that are put forward by the market is possible because the market gives you chances. When one door closes, another opens.
- Teamwork is the key to survival in difficult situations – Well, this has been revalidated in this scenario. Communicating amongst team members and trying to find solutions to the problems being faced helps massively. A strong team with good communication can help solve a lot of issues that businesses may face.
- The home-office is the future of working – Yes, work from home is something that most businesses have transitioned to during the pandemic, and this is here to stay. With the advent of seamless video conferencing facilities, meetings have become smooth, and thus working from home has been more cost-effective for the employees as well as the employers.
- Clients change their buying patterns very fast – This has been evident in the way customers have switched over to eCommerce platforms. Many clients and customers who used to buy products directly from showrooms and supermarkets have now started using eCommerce platforms with ease. Entrepreneurs and businesses need to ensure that they adapt to the changing buying patterns of the clients.
- Technology is the most powerful tool in today’s world – With the lockdown during the peak time of the pandemic, businesses had to shift online totally, and could no longer function ‘properly’. So, offices had to be closed down. Transport was unavailable and due to various other factors working from home became the new normal. In this scenario, solutions to many problems like meetings, etcetera could be solved using technology. Webinars, video conferencing, etcetera depending on the advancement of technology. High-speed internet helped people stay in touch through audio and visual methods thanks to technology.
- Working just-in-time – For manufacturing and supply chain businesses, it has been a long practice of using the “just-in-time” methodology of working. They avoided stockpiling resources. However, in these turbulent times, businesses must have learned that due to the unavailability of transport at times and other constraints, now it is the time for stockpiling.
- Flexibility is the key to survival – Businesses must be flexible in their offerings. They must be open to customization and changing the products based on the situation and the needs of the clients. One of the most common examples is weddings. Due to various restrictions including social distancing norms, traditional weddings were impossible. Couples wanted to get married no matter what, and thus they opted for mini weddings with a lesser number of guests, and some of them even got married over video conferencing. Even dating over video calls became common.
- Liquid cash is indispensable to businesses – The lack of liquidity in many companies has forced them out of business. All enterprises must continue to build their cash reserves throughout to combat the economic crises. The situation can go out of hand in no time. The only thing that can save businesses is the availability of liquid cash at all times. The cash reserve should be built keeping in mind that next time the scenario can be worse, and being prepared for the worst is the best that businesses can do.
- Businesses that depend on suppliers must diversify their supplier base – Due to the lockdowns and various other restrictions, many businesses had to stop production because they failed to procure the required input materials. It happened because the suppliers were affected by the restrictions and could not send the materials.
- Reducing cash burn is extremely vital – Reducing cash burn and building liquidity are possibly two of the most important things for businesses to ensure, to survive unforeseen situations like this. Generally, when things used to be normal before the pandemic hit the world, companies spent extravagantly. But, once a situation like this transpired, businesses reconsidered various things. One of the key factors was to re-examine the expenses. Organizations started releasing all rented offices and asked employees to work from home. Cut down on travel expenses and more. This way, reducing the cash burn goes a long way in helping businesses to survive such hostile economic situations.
It is sad businesses have had to learn a lot of these things the hard way. And it is worse and that many companies could not survive the economic jolt that the pandemic brought dealt; verticals like tourism and aviation were the worst sufferers.
Interestingly, many businesses could manage to scrape through this situation. The ones that survived, are also the ones that learned these lessons and quickly adapted to the new normal. But overall, most businesses now have a better idea of what a monstrous economic calamity can look like, and must take proper steps right away. Taking the right decision can help them tackle any such crises in the future.