What started in China has now spread its wings to over 100 different nations globally. The Coronavirus-induced Covid 19 pandemic has become one of the world’s deadliest and most catastrophic disruptors of normal life since World War 2. With infection rates growing and entire countries like India, Italy, Spain and the United States going into lockdown to contain the epidemic, there is a big question that lingers in the mind of everyone. What will the world economy be like post the Covid 19 fiasco? How will small and medium businesses be affected by this slowdown and what should they do to bring business back to normal once the disease is under control? To answer the first question, we need more time as events occur daily everywhere with regards to new rules of shutdowns and closures to minimize disease spread. However, one thing is for certain, there will be a huge economic impact that could last for years after this situation.
So how can SMB’s tide over the coronavirus-crisis? There are series of steps that SMB entrepreneurs can take to tackle this crisis, but before you read on to find which one, it is to be noted that at the moment, the biggest concern is the safety of your employees and the larger community. Any measure you adopt must be compliant with the health and safety regulations in your operational geographies.
Here are 5 smart ways which will help your small and medium business to maintain sustainability during Coronavirus crisis.
1) Prioritize a strategy
It is for certain that your business will be impacted in some form or the other by the Corona-crisis. So, it is important that you meet the disruption strategically thereby allowing you enough room to escape the harsher impacts and ensure business continuity and safety of your employees. To come up with a strategy in this scenario, you need to identify weaknesses in your business that will bear the deepest impact of the situation and prepare a plan to strengthen that arm. For example, if you are a retailer, then you need to come up with a strategy to minimize footfalls within your stores but still have sales carried out by alternate means to ensure the sustainability and revenue impact is minimized.
2) Fulfill Customer Commitments
Since the Coronavirus is a global phenomenon, your customers will understand the impact it makes on your business. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity to show them that you care for them and are with them during this tough phase of corona-crisis. Mobilize your resources and work pro-actively to deliver on promises made to customers if the activity does not involve any safety threat to your employees nor the customers. Converse with your customers to see if you can work out a better plan to deliver value given that existing service channels may be rendered unusable. Providing uninterrupted customer service is equally important as this is a point of time when a lot of questions will be raised. Setting up a virtual help desk where customer service associates can work from home and answer customer queries is a perfect way to ensuring support to client commitments. Keeping your customers engaged through regular emails or social media is important to ensure that you sustain loyalty and brand respect. These elements will greatly influence the purchasing decision of customers to post the Coronavirus sage.
3) Encourage digital transformation
The Coronavirus scenario is a groundbreaking revelation of how several small and medium businesses could have fared better had they integrated a digital channel for their business as well to tackle this corona-crisis. With mobility severely restricted in almost every major country globally, more customers are turning to e-services for their daily needs ranging from grocery shopping online to food delivery. This situation should be a wake-up call for you to have a closer look at your technology and software infrastructure. Examine whether you can open new revenue channels with digital-like e-commerce. See how different bespoke software and technology platforms can help take your business into digital selling and create a more secure work experience for your employees. The transition to a digital-friendly business model will be crucial in the future when such turmoil occurs on a global level. If technology isn’t your core forte, then try partnering with a premium software development company for SMB’s like Citrusbug to see how you can improve business with software at this point of time.
4) Optimize Costs
As far as SMB’s are concerned, the revenue impact made by the Coronavirus scare will be significantly high. While governments across the globe are working on contingency plans and relief packages, you need to ensure that there is strict financial discipline in your expenditure during this scary time frame. Rather than pushing for hard decisions like laying off staff, you can explore opportunities to minimize your operational expenses. It could be achieved with small steps which can be scaled up over time like for example cutting down travel costs, reduced office space usage with work from home policies for staff,using powerful digital tools to predict demand and manage your supply chain in the most optimal rate to support the demand and much more.
5) Keep staff to a minimum
While it is nearly impossible for your entire workforce to switch over to remote operations, you should make it a point that the physical presence of your staff are avoided in most cases and a good majority of your employees can work from home. Or you could assign rotational shifts wherein teams share the jobs in varying shifts to ensure there is business continuity and less exposure for employees to hazardous situations like the Covid 19 scare. This is a time when you need to place trust on your employees and empower them to deliver their best even if they are working from home or from a remote location. When this Corona-crisis dies down, your customers will be back to your business as usual. To serve them then, you need all your loyal employees to be with you. This is why the management and protection of employees is equally important to sustain your business as meeting customer expectations during this crisis situation.
The Coronavirus scare is a revelation of how underprepared most SMB’s are with regards to enabling a sustainable future for their business. The overnight lockdowns and travel restrictions literally pulled down years of hard work in a matter of minutes as businesses plummeted in their revenue. However, the silver lining is that there are successful companies that mitigate these challenges brilliantly and with cutting edge technology. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure a sustainable future for your small and medium business when a crisis like the Coronavirus hits us hard. Having the right technology partner can often be a boon in this crisis as they can help you quickly transition your business into a more flexible and digital-friendly organization to meet your customer demands. Get in touch with us to see why Citrusbug can be the enabler for digital innovation in your fight to sustain in age of Corona.