The COVD-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world. It has affected various business industries, big and small, leaving owners struggling in its wake. In fact, the world today is very different from the first half of 2020. And we don’t know how it will continue to shape the future.
However, there are some things we have learned throughout this crisis. And businesses can use this knowledge to rebuild their strategies. Here we have collected some of the insights to rebuild business recovery. These are steps that businesses and individuals need to take to continue moving forward.
Assess The Financial Damage
When the pandemic broke out, around 140,104 businesses were marked temporarily closed on Yelp. But as of August last year, more than 97,966 businesses have permanently ceased operating. This is according to Yelp.com’s Local Economic Impact Report.
This just shows the financial impact of COVID-19 on big and small businesses. That said, the first step to rebuilding is determining how your business has been affected.
What to do: Look into financial statements then compare them to previous years.
Aside from sales, profits, and cash flow, look at other business aspects that may have been affected. For instance, did you have to lay off some of your employees? Was there a budget cut on your advertising and marketing strategies? Did you lose some of your customers to competitors?
However, there are business industries that were able to withstand the effects of COVID-19. According to the same report, there were relatively low closures of professional services and small businesses. The data showed that home, local, and automotive services were able to weather the storm. Unlike restaurants and retail stores that have relatively high closures.
Determine If You Need Additional Funding
Unless you have a considerable amount of cash on hand, you’ll likely need additional funding.
As you rebuild business recovery, you may need operating cash for the following:
- Repayments for an additional debt you may have taken on
- Restocking products or supplies
- Changes to your operating model or office upgrades to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines
- Other expenses that you may incur to comply with social distancing requirements
What to do: As small businesses recover in the wake of the pandemic, taking a loan might be an option.
Thankfully, there are options available.
For instance, in Singapore’s Loan Advisor, the loan comparison site provides loan options for Singaporeans and foreigners to get free customized loan plans from the country’s top licensed moneylenders.
This includes business loans with a loanable amount of up to $200,000.
Government agencies around the world also have COVID-19 relief measures for MSMes to help reboot their economy’s backbone. Check with your respective government offices for further details.
In the U.S., they provide small business provisions for COVID-19 relief. This includes:
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Program
- Grants for Shuttered Venues
- Debt Relief
- 7(a), 504, and Microloan Program Enhancement
Build Trust and Address Customer Anxiety
In China and India, consumers are starting to spend on things beyond grocery and household supplies. In fact, Chinese consumers are now spending on other categories including travel and apparel.
That said, as the economy shifts from response to recovery, businesses should also change how they do business.
What to do: Give your customers a reason to do business with you. Focus on providing real value to customers.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Create a map of your buyer’s journey. Determine how you can attract customers, provide value by answering their concerns, and how your business can address those concerns.
- Online purchases have increased by 6-10%. That said, you’ll need to adapt accordingly if you want to rebuild your business.
- Think about how to bring your business closer to consumers. For example, you can live stream sales events or do a question and answer live stream.
Lastly, be more transparent with your business processes. For instance, assure consumers that great care and proper sanitary guidelines are followed during the manufacturing and delivery process. This helps address customer anxiety while building trust.
Open and frequent communication will help rebuild your business. Through the right strategy, you can create a winning plan for the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take Necessary Safety Precautions in The Workplace
Some businesses are capable of continuing operations while working remotely. But others need to quickly re-open if they wish to remain financially viable. To ensure the safety of their staff and customers, they need to take necessary precautions.
What to do: They can use cutting-edge technologies such as risk apps. They also need to create a safe working process.
Additionally, videoconferencing has now become the norm for business meetings. Make use of collaboration platforms to avoid frequent face-to-face interactions. But make sure to strengthen security controls to lower risk.
Other factors businesses should consider to rebuild business recovery:
- Creating a more flexible workforce.
- Look into creating flexible contracts for employees
- Explore the possibility of combining remote and on-site work.
- Determine if adapting both remote and on-site work have any impact on your real estate needs.
- For on-site work, consider if you need to make changes to your floor plans. Do you need hygiene facilities? How will you make your reception areas safe?
Forecast But Remain Adaptable
The road to rebuilding business recovery is still very uncertain. Forecasting the next month, let alone the next few years, is going to be very challenging.
What to do: Businesses must adapt and take advantage of new forecasting tools.
In doing so, they can quickly update plans and pivot if necessary.
Ask these questions when assessing your forecasting tools
- Are your forecasting tools flexible enough? Can it determine the impact of fixed and variable costs?
- Are your external data sources updated?
- Are the tools capable of looking into your competition? Can you determine how those businesses are responding and recovering?
- Can you move into cloud-based planning? This allows for more adaptive and automated forecasting.
Additionally, business forecasting must also take these costs into consideration. These costs are considered low priority before COVID-19. But now, these are key drivers on how companies will conduct business:
- IT infrastructure
- Website development for online sales
- Developing remote work capabilities
- A floor plan that follows social distancing guidelines
In the past, these factors were not considered when developing forecasts. But things are different now. So take these into consideration.
Lastly, look into the strengths and weaknesses of the business. What’s currently working? What has worked before but may not work in the new normal? Take a look at what should be adjusted and improved upon to remain competitive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses to be adaptable. To pivot when needed and to stay fluid enough to ride through the storms. In the next phase of this crisis, recovery will present new challenges.
As you rebuild business recovery, focus on adaptability. Use the opportunities available to you to come up with new strategies. Focus on providing value to your customers.
Lastly, consider using new analytics tools for better forecasting. Think outside-the-box to prepare for any crisis that might come your way.