Managing the impact of COVID-19 on our businesses

Managing the impact of COVID-19 on our businesses

Businesses need to understand upfront that dealing with COVID-19 is not a sprint; it’s going to be a marathon. But most managers and owners are running around in the businesses like it’s a sprint, and the business is going to struggle to chart the right course.

In the craziness of responding, trying to stay afloat, meeting new demand, or just trying to get the business to work; everyone needs to just take time to breathe, think clearly and find time to plan better than they have ever planned before. A good marker point for this plan is to start reflecting on where the business will be in spring. It’s the decisions businesses make now, that will best determine where they are placed come September.

The “New Normal”

One of the new phrases being banded around at present is about a new normal, and what that will look like for businesses post COVID-19. A shock of this scale will create a shift in the preferences and expectations of consumers and businesses.

For the businesses, the supply chain will have a great impact going forward on how it goes to market, both in a physical sense, and a sales sense. This is important – a business can get hung up, and rightly so, on the physical supply chain, and see this purely in a sourcing and supply sense. But just as important in a time of crisis, is understanding well the other supply chain, the businesses sales channels, and ensuring its product gets sold.

Stay informed – Think “Local and Global”

The other point to make is where do businesses go looking for answers. The situation changes almost daily, and therefore everyone must take personal responsibility to stay informed by ‘thinking Local and Global.’

No one government, the industry body, supplier or customer can give the business all the answers, they have to seek them from multiple sources. There are some really great websites including ECA’s trying to keep you informed.

Everyone’s business, and therefore how that plays out in the market, is unique, and each business needs to make informed decisions that are best for that business.

Contingency plans that are targeted, modest and scalable

In looking at the contingency plans for the business, it must ensure three things:

  • Firstly, they are targeted, with a clear understanding of the current real needs of the business.
  • Secondly, they are modest. They must be affordable and sustainable.
  • And Thirdly, they must be scalable when needed.

Crisis – The Word in Chinese translates to “dangerous opportunity”

For many its hard amongst so much suffering to think about opportunity, and that is understandable, but the business is no good to anyone if it is out of business in 3 to 6 months’ time, and it’s how the business positions now that will determine how it is placed in spring.

Many studies have been done on the Global Financial Crisis, and it was the businesses that sort and seized the opportunities that survived and then went on to thrive post the GFC.

In Summary

Firstly, know the lay of the land is going to change and continue to change. Stay informed.

Secondly, the businesses local and global competitors are all going to have their own issue to overcome, and due to the nature of this virus and the different times and stages in each country, supply chains and sales channels are not all affected evenly.

So how does the business stay on top of the opportunities as they present themselves will then determine the best path forward to not only survive but thrive post-COVID-19.

Shane Styles

National Skills Development Manager, Export Council of Australia