Post-COVID, there is one question we ask every day: How can we outsmart COVID and protect our business?
After the pandemic hit us, we have a new style of doing business.
- Production lines, dress code for workers and, working time have changed.
- Sales and distribution methods are different.
- After-sales and customer service are now virtual.
- The finance function has learned to do with less.
- There is a little more clarity on what HR does.
- IT teams have become superstars.
COVID may Overstay, Customer will Not
Initially, everyone hoped that COVID would go away with the same speed it arrived. But the unwanted guest seems to overstay.
When the pandemic hit us, companies were quick to take some short-term measures such as cost- cutting in an attempt to manage the crisis. Equally, customers were willing to adjust. They would accept higher prices and overlook quality problems.
However, different experts have varying opinions on when the pandemic will come to end. WHO chief hopes the planet will be rid of the pandemic in less than two years. Bill Gates thinks that it will be over by the end of 2021. A former Surgeon General of the US says it will not be before 2022.
Customers will not adjust forever as they expect businesses to adapt to the 'new normal' and deliver quality. If unable to, customers will change the brand they buy.
Check out the Impact on Your Market
If you want to stabilize your business, it is best to start with the market. Look at your market segments and see the impact of COVID on each of them.
Let us assume that you sell your products to government staff and private sector employees equally. After COVID, you found that the government staff are not affected much. But half of private sector employees lost their jobs. So, your sales to them reduced to half. A quick calculation shows that 75% of your market is still intact. That is good news.
In any business, one element is key: the customer.
If you have a market, you can plan for production, sales, and distribution. Agreed that, you would face certain operational challenges. You can address them with innovation and new technology, and by changing the systems.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” : Charles Darwin
Moral of the story: It all starts with the customer and does not end if you still have the customer.