Changes in demography, technological advancements, and significant global events like the Covid 19 pandemic - are all influencing the ways businesses have reinvented themselves in 2020. Most business sectors have borne the brunt of the unwarranted implementation of the lockdown worldwide.
Business leaders like Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have played a crucial role in reassuring their workforce in the post-Covid landscape. Survive, Revive, and Thrive (SRT) are the three mantras that companies across geographies are adopting in the ‘New Normal.'
Starting from business owners to the employees, for everyone, this time has been equally educative and life-changing as it has been testing. It called for breaking out of comfort zones and reinventing yourself in a new way altogether. It called for patience on both ends of the tables and counters to adapt to the change. Technologies that were considered a rather support or parallel stream suddenly became mainstream. The perspective is changing rapidly. Sometimes the problem is not the problem and the solution, not the solution. The questions which managers are asking themselves now are how do we drive, strive, and thrive to reach our goals?
Covid-19 has forever changed the ways of doing business. In this article, we give you some practical business revival strategies in the post-Covid world.
1. Digital Transformation
The post-Covid-19 phase is anticipated to experience unprecedented digital growth, and companies should prepare themselves. They should focus their strategies to digitise their processes, especially in the customer-service areas. We have seen that the first adopters of technology are the financial services companies and large retail stores that have fine-tuned their online transaction and delivery model.
Manufacturers are going in for large scale automation and implementation of ERP in production processes. Many of these are cloud-based.
Travelling has become a big no-no in most companies, and Zoom meetings are the norm. It is helping companies to cut down on the traveling time, reduce the risks of catching an infection, and also reducing costs.
2. Financial Security
Survival is the number one priority for businesses in today’s circumstances. And strengthening financial security is one of the actionable business revival strategies after covid. Businesses should first assess the current financial situation. Based on this they have to take decisions that are going to affect their revenue, growth, and profitability.
The first step businesses need to take is to prepare a cash flow statement. It will contain different heads like revenue, income profit, and loss. It will help you to know how the company is placed financially, compared to previous years.
Cost reduction is going to play a major role in the survival strategy. It may include pay cuts, putting expansion plans on hold, retrenchment, and restructuring. Categorize all cost heads into essential and non-essential, and evaluate them on a one-year time frame.
The business heads must have a meeting with the finance managers and Chartered Accountants to determine a course of action for the next 3 to 6 months. The challenge for most businesses will be to balance growth and profitability. Even if the revenue rises, but there is no profit, there is no point.
The future belongs to companies with a light asset base, high sales, and low overhead costs. If a new division is sucking up all the profits, you have to make tough decisions like closing it down. If you are facing any liquidity crisis, try to convince the existing investors for further investment. It will be beneficial for PE investors also because they will get equity at a lower price.
Also, the finance heads must explore the Government relief funds for businesses due to Covid, like getting loans at low-interest rates or tax cuts, if any. Now, the time is appropriate to get any high-interest loan restructured.
3. Business Plans
Based on the financials, corporates might have to change their business plans. Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures and Partnerships, might be the way ahead as businesses join hands to share resources. A case like a synergy between Facebook and Reliance might be more common in the near future.
The directors should have a meeting with all the key personnel on how to take the business forward. Giving directions is very important; a business without a direction is like a rudderless ship.
4. HR Function
HR would play a crucial role in the business revival plan of the companies. One of the key responsibilities for HR would be to handle the gradual return to the physical workplace of the staff. This will lead to more stringent hygiene and social distancing protocols.
One way for companies to motivate workers to come will be to hold health camps inside the premises. Any employee who will show symptoms of fever can be asked to work from home. Work-places should be re-designed to ensure social distancing.
The questions which are relevant for HR are: Are the right people in the right places? Are the employees sufficiently motivated to join hands with the company in these difficult times?
Open communications and transparency will help companies gain the trust of all stakeholders. More and more companies are realising the value of employee engagement.
The Chief Marketing Officers of many brands are at a sea on how to market effectively during and after Covid-19. To give just one aspect of their dilemma, big sporting events on which the big companies splurged, today stand canceled, and the mood of most consumers are somber. Now, what people need is empathy from brands.
Marketers should communicate to customers what they are doing about the crisis, and not just sell to them. The message should be substantive, and not just comic or entertaining. For instance, companies can have some special offers for front-line health workers and subtly send this message.
Businesses have to focus on customers and communicate with them on a personal level about how the crisis has affected them. You have to ask them how can you create more value for them. Post-Covid, consumer behaviour has changed, and so has their expectations from companies.
You can participate in LinkedIn or Facebook groups that are based on the same industry as yours; you can get an idea of what your customers are thinking. Another way to get consumer insights is through business analytics.
Many companies are venturing into new business areas now. The marketing people have their task cut out- get new clients for them.
6. Digital Marketing
An area that will see rapid growth in the coming days will be digital marketing. This is because traditional marketing will be unable to provide solutions to many of the problems that businesses will face. What Covid has taught businesses is the importance of being active in the digital space like blogs, social media, and websites.
As the world becomes more digitally connected, companies are leveraging ‘social listening’ to engage with their customers. You can show photos of your products on social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest.
Companies should focus their energies on making great products at a competitive price. It is said that a crisis brings out the best in people. Apple was going bankrupt when Steve Jobs created the MacBook and the iPhone.
Many firms are focussing on the health, touchless, and hygiene segment to meet the increased demand in this sector. Smart products that make people’s lives easier are another thrust area.
8. Supply Chain
Businesses are facing a two-prong problem on the supply chain issue. On one hand, there has been a disruption in supplies due to the pandemic. On the other, customers are demanding more Just-In-Time product delivery, especially in fast-moving categories like fashion. Companies that are sourcing their products from distant countries like China are facing the brunt of the problem.
To mitigate this problem, businesses will do well to have two or more suppliers in different countries for their raw materials. This will enable them to hedge their risks.
9. Speedy Decision Making
Another important management task is to streamline the decision-making process to make companies more agile. This is because the markets are demanding faster and faster actions. Areas in which organisations need to adapt quickly include product diversification, revamping the HR function, or changing the business model.
Other tools that the IT department can implement is to use AI technologies and data analytics. These will help to improve the efficiency of the operations.
10. Work From Home
A large percentage of the work-force in India is working from home full time, especially in the ITES space. The employees are benefitting from more flexibility and free time and less commuting time. The companies are getting more productivity and better morale of workers.
Businesses should work towards giving employees access to remote working tools and implementing work-from-home solutions. To monitor the employees’ productivity the companies can monitor their face times, and sign in and sign out times.
Any turnaround for a business is not easy; it takes hard work, commitment, and perseverance. We hope that the business revival strategies we described above will be useful to you.
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