The recent coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm. From the first case in Wuhan, China in 2019, the virus spread rapidly across the globe causing massive deaths and destabilizing the world economy. To reduce the impact of the pandemic, governments implemented stringent measures to limit movement and minimize its spread.
The stay at home slogan has affected most businesses negatively. Multinational corporations and small businesses are grappling to stay afloat, though the dynamics are different. Some companies like Amazon are flourishing. Others are shutting down or scaling down employees to keep the overhead cost low.
Amidst these challenges, businesses are coming up with innovative solutions and adapting to the changing market dynamics. The measures range from minor adjustments to massive changes in operation.
Here is how businesses are adjusting to stay open.
Adapting to Current Market Trends
As more people are adopting social distancing, home delivery is increasingly popular in many households. The movement restriction prompts people to order things online rather than go out.
Businesses have taken this new development in stride. Most restaurants, bars, retailers, and shops have changed their services to meet the growing demand. Restaurants that offered fine dining and reservations have re-strategize and designed drive-throughs for takeaway food.
They transformed Tock, a reservation platform, to a family meal ordering site. Many other dining restaurants followed suit, even offering free delivery.
Bars and digital grocery stores are offering free home delivery. Others have integrated incentives, discounts, and subscriptions to charm customers. Small businesses are encouraging their customers to buy gift cards to cover their loses while they are closed.
The new normal is working from home. Employers have shifted office systems to online platforms which are proving to be quite efficient. Google docs make it easy to share, edit, and comment on documents among department members. Project management tools like Asana, ClickUp, and Trello are proving to be essential in task management. Zoom is trending in video meetings. Though employees are not meeting physically, work is getting done.
Entrepreneurs have shifted to the online marketplace. More entrepreneurs have set up their business websites, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, and Pinterest accounts, among others to advertise and reach potential clients. Purchases are made by a click of a button and delivery done to your doorstep.
Health coach jobs that involve keeping fit are using YouTube to reach as many people as possible across the globe. Yoga teachers, personal fitness instructors, nutritionists, and fitness enthusiasts are revolutionizing the fitness industry on different social media platforms.
The number of live streams and pre-recorded videos doing rounds on Facebook and YouTube is impressive.
Entrepreneurs in the fashion industry have also taken their businesses online. They are creatively using stay at home themes to lure customers. Sometimes working from home still requires people to dress like they would when going to the office and this approach is reaching the targeted customers.
Cutting down Expenses
Businesses that were purely operating offline are the most affected by the pandemic. It is becoming illogical to pay rent and continue stocking when the potential customer is at home, struggling to make a living each day as the government extends the lockdown.
Most businesses are reducing spending to a minimum. Businesses are cutting off any expenses that are not mandatory. Others are temporarily withholding huge spending until things look up again. Many are renegotiating with the suppliers to return unsold stocks and suspend further stocking.
The key is to reduce excess spending without affecting the efficiency and the regular operation of the business. Businesses are striving to balance the quality of services while optimizing their spending.
Alternative Innovative Solutions
As the saying goes, there is a silver lining in every cloud. Entrepreneurs have taken this to heart by using the social distancing rule to their advantage. Most businesses have implemented the recommended six feet distance by marking their floors, making it easier for clients to stay safe from contracting or spreading the coronavirus while visiting their stores.
Business owners’ are regulating opening hours, scheduling employees to work in shifts, and controlling the number of clients getting in and out. These measures reduce the number of people on the business premise at any given time. Thus, businesses can continue running.
Clients sanitize at the doorstep and wear masks before entering business premises. These safety measures encourage customers’ to visit stores without compromising their safety. Also, most businesses have shifted to remote work.
As it is, times are tough. The pandemic has led to many people being laid off and many families are struggling. Some businesses are sacrificing to ensure they keep their employees during this tough time.
Top employees are taking pay cuts up to half of what they used to earn. Also, to ensure everyone gets a piece of the pie no matter how small, businesses are reducing working hours. This way, everyone gets a reduced paycheck, which is better than nothing.
Governments in different countries have offered stimulus to businesses that are struggling. Eligible small businesses are already tapping into this opportunity. These low-interest loans are helping businesses keep afloat and retain their employees.
Consistency in Hard Times
The pandemic has affected businesses in different ways. Many have closed for good with no hope of reopening even after the pandemic. However, a good number are striving to overcome challenges and make the best out of the disheartening situation.
As entrepreneurs better understand the market landscape, they can optimize their business to meet the evolving needs of the population. These innovative solutions, when well managed, could translate into an alternative source of revenue that is even more profitable. Businesses can find a new pathway that they never thought of before.
The recent coronavirus pandemic might have shaken what was familiar, but it has allowed businesses to explore alternative possibilities. This is evident in how individuals and businesses are improvising to meet their daily needs. The future may seem uncertain, but one thing is for sure: we have what it takes to push forward.
So even though you might be under a lot of pressure to keep your business afloat, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. One thing to keep in mind is the reason you started the business in the first place. This will remind you that it was hard in the beginning, but you managed to get through.
Keep in mind that every business is affected by these hard times one way or another. If the best thing you can do right now is focusing on the basics, then by all means do that. As cliché as it may seem, always keep in mind that tough times don’t last but tough businesses do.