The past couple of months have been tough, and there are many difficult days ahead. The struggling economy, a collapsing health system, and a tremendous amount of loss are making individuals and businesses terribly afraid. We are unsettled because the world as we know it has shut down temporarily.
Big and small businesses face an uncertain future. They rely on a predictable world in order to make money, and nothing is predictable right now. Employees cannot come into the office and any business has to be done online. Profits are plummeting during the crisis. And while governments are promising to help, funds are limited. Already the US has seen their small business fund emptied.
But businesses can survive if they are able to adapt. The world most likely will not go back to as it was before, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are 3 important ways big and small businesses need to adapt to survive COVID-19.
1. A New Employee Dynamic
While it has long been possible for people to work from home in many industries, only now are businesses taking advantage of the possibility. There is a lot of potential in a shift towards remote work, including a lack of commute time and money saved on office space. However, businesses need to adopt a new employee dynamic.
Many business people have complained about a similar thing. Staff and supervisors are holding more meetings than ever before, even though they are not strictly necessary. It seems like supervisors want a way to make sure staff are working, and staff are eager to prove themselves.
This dynamic is a problem that stems from most countries’ schooling systems, in which more importance is placed on attendance than output. In workplaces, we place far too much emphasis on an eight hour day. Businesses need to learn that output is what matters. If employees are getting their jobs done, it does not matter just how long they spend “at work.” Without this attitude, endless meetings will negate any benefits gained from staff not having to commute to work.
2. Online Presence
A lot of traditional businesses have become complacent due to consistent success. They have not had to work on their online presence, as they expect customers to find them in an old-fashioned way, or already have a huge client base. However, this is likely to change permanently.
The more people do business online (whether this is shopping for goods, finding services, or building B2B partnerships) the more it will become the norm. That’s not to say it isn’t already the norm. However, even those industries which have remained mostly traditional will now have to adapt.
If you do not have a strong online presence, now is the time to build one. Start by creating a website that can handle a high amount of traffic. When it comes to hosting, use a VPS rather than shared hosting. It will cost more, but since everyone is online right now, there is a lot of potential for a high volume of visitors.
3. Business Continuity Plans
Someone made the comment that individuals are expected to have six months of savings in case anything goes wrong while many businesses seem to think they can survive by force of will. Unfortunately, these businesses are learning how perilous their complacency has been.
So many businesses have not gotten around to creating continuity plans, assuming that no crisis would cripple them in this way. Now, they have no guidelines to follow to help them survive. When times are good, continuity seems unimportant. But that is exactly when these plans need to be created.
If they are able to make it through this crisis, businesses will need to scramble to get a continuity plan in place. The world as we know it is not as certain as it was three months ago. Businesses need to take this lesson more than any other out of COVID-19.
Good businesses should be able to survive and rebuild after COVID-19. However, they need to take this time to reevaluate how they operate and adapt to a new reality.