Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to immense upheaval economically and socially over a short time period. Most businesses are dependent on staff working from home. Schools and higher education institutions are closed. Restaurants, malls, movie theaters, bars, and all tourism-related businesses are looking downcast. The restaurant and entertainment industries will suffer if the pandemic continues to keep people indoors. Right from the farmers to the suppliers – all in the supply chain will be affected. Airlines, trains, cruise ships, oil & gas companies, professional sports are all the worst hit with public spaces closed. Until a suitable vaccine is developed, and freely available, which might take at least 6-9 months, billions of revenue will be lost.
Small and medium businesses have taken a massive hit by the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19. Small businesses are facing a severe fund shortage and their incapability to retain migrant workers has made the situation worse across sectors. Hence, it is critical to outline the best business practices to recover from the COVID-19 impact.
Business Continuity Planning
Change is the only constant in life. The best businesses adapt to changing situations and survive. Businesses must be prepared to take measures that can protect from upcoming disruptions, especially in places that have not been severely affected by the pandemic. The first response has been to have employees work from home as much as possible. While this has been a blessing, many businesses have been caught unawares owing to their unpreparedness to go digital. An immediate need is to assess existing HR policies and practices. Businesses should strictly adhere to guidelines and restrictions from local authorities and communicate them suitably to all internal stakeholders.
Separate Essential Functions From Non-Essential Functions
The next step is to separate essential from non-essential functions – while critical business operations can continue to run during any major disruptions.
Assess the Existing Climate of Your Business Community
Make use of all the communication channels at your disposal. Conduct a business survey to assess the impact of the epidemic on the economy and understand what type of services and programs could help overcome the current business downturn.
Embrace New Sales Channels
The current situation may not allow people to meet their needs and urgencies as usual. Still, the needs have to be met for the daily lives, so this can be considered as an opportunity to serve markets via alternative sales channels. For instance, if the COVID-19 pandemic creates a negative impact on your on-foot traffic to your retail business, it is time to expand e-commerce offerings. Create more conversions through social media instead of in-person meetings. The business still goes on, but most of it happens online. It is time to focus more on lead management and nurture long-term opportunities, especially when you have big prospects in the pipeline. Work on with your leads, assure them, and let them know that you are planning for contingencies and together business can flourish as before.
Other best business practices to recover from COVID-19 are a dynamic risk management approach, stress-testing of the business continuity plan, and a better understanding of risk velocity.
Responding to the crisis effectively at a fast pace, assuming the worst and a readiness to face turbulence is what the present situation demands. Consider employee safety as a primary focus and operational continuity next. Keep employees closely informed and listen to their opinions as well. Create separate teams for critical operations and actively support ecosystem partners, while exhibiting vigilance in cash management. Collaborate closely with the government and support local communities.
Considering the challenges, organizations that focus on better communication, improved customer relationships, and transparency with investors and clients will come up trumps eventually. While the pandemic has dealt severe blows to India & the world, India is poised to recover faster owing to the swift action of its government. Thus, India is sure to position itself as a dependable investment destination in the months to come.