COVID Forces Businesses to Reinvent Themselves
It is indisputable that the world has been forced into a state of innovation and modification to cope with the onslaught of effects brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. From grocery shopping to operating a business, every aspect of our lives has been turned upside down and has had to be rethought and reconfigured. Considering the global supply chain's interdependence and the shock effect trade has already sustained, business survival seems like an indomitable task. But if history has taught us anything, the storm will run out of rain. These times are hard, but they will pass.
Survival has replaced profit goals for businesses
One of the most overwhelming challenges businesses face right now is transitioning their workforce to online platforms to construct work-from-home procedures and ensure continued output. For many service-based businesses, that is not an option. While battling to keep their doors open and reinvent how business is conducted, they must cover salaries, rent, and other operating expenses, including payroll and employee benefits.
Many businesses have resorted to transforming the way they do business. Restaurants rely heavily on outside dining, carryout, and make use of delivery apps. Larger companies have modified their production lines to accommodate the rising demand for products they did not produce before the pandemic. For example, Absolut Vodka and Jameson Whiskey used their distilleries to create hand sanitizer. Bauer, a U.S.-based company that manufactures hockey equipment, stopped making helmet visors and began producing face shields for medical professionals. Other efforts included New Balance making masks and the Ford Motor Company building ventilators.
Unfortunately for small businesses that don't have the means to "reinvent the wheel," many will see letting workers go as the best solution. This could transform the economic crisis into a social calamity as a trickle-down effect takes part in the aftermath of less money entering the economy and fewer people having a paycheck.
What other options are there for businesses?
Business owners are people too, and as they try to preserve their livelihood, they are also focusing on protecting their employees' livelihoods, which helps to sustain their business. Assessing risk to their operations and managing their materials to work through supply chain disruptions is key to their survival and, in effect, to global commerce.
Here are some other ways businesses are being resourceful.
Access to financial aid programs like the Paycheck Protection Program https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loans
Expanding into new sectors - Many restaurant chains, including Panera, California Pizza Kitchen, and Subway, have begun selling fresh groceries.
Promoting the use of Technology - Many companies are offering their services using online meeting platforms and secure document transmittal to continue to provide consultations, coaching, classes, home loans, and even doctor's visits.
Boost Morale - provide very clear messages to employees about key business decisions, including safety and operations
It takes a village
Remember, all businesses are fighting this fight right now. Your business is not alone. Reach out to your network, communicate with your investors, and use data to make informed decisions. Be sure to foster the relationships you used to build your business. Look to them for support and ideas. Your community will look different when this storm passes, but it will still be there—rebuilding alongside you.