As many countries still struggle to control the pandemic, the effects of COVID-19 are being seen across the business world as small, medium, and large enterprises continue to report uncertainty about the future.
Out of necessity, most business owners have prioritized crisis response – focusing on staff wellbeing, maintaining customers and suppliers, addressing supply chain disruption, stabilizing revenues, and identifying new growth opportunities. As leaders emerge from the initial crisis response period, they are attempting to adjust to a potentially long-lasting “new normal.” This new era is unlike anything businesses have seen before, defined by rapidly-changing cultural norms and values.
As business owners emerge from the crisis response stage, they are now facing this shift in evolving consumer priorities. This requires businesses to build what are now expected competencies, such as being digitally-focused and data-driven, maintaining flexible and agile operations, and having robust e-commerce and security.
To streamline this transition, businesses must first protect their workforce. With formal and standardized operating procedures, processes, and tools to help keep staff safe, business owners can build confidence in their workforce. This can be done through consistent communication between employers and employees. These plans must be flexible as global health and economic environments keep evolving.
As businesses are faced with plummeting revenue and increased costs, leaders should be constantly managing risks and establishing interventions that may require investments and liquidation. Anticipating challenges and maintaining flexible adaptation and rapid action will enhance business continuity. How quickly a company rebounds from the pandemic-driven downturn will determine its sustainability.
The pandemic has changed the consumer experience, and businesses must adapt. Business owners must be aware of how their industries are changing and adapt their operations to suit evolving customer expectations. Across most sectors, this includes pivoting to e-commerce, opening new lines of service to maintain social distancing, and an emphasis on responsible business practices. Businesses should see this as an opportunity to be inventive in reimagining the possibilities of what their business can become.
Every industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, though some have stronger foundations while others are faced with continually evolving standards. It’s essential to identify where your company falls on this spectrum as demands shift and supply chains are disrupted to varying degrees across governments and industries. This is an opportunity for businesses to turn difficult challenges into meaningful change.
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