Rewiring Business

Many businesses began the new roaring 20’s with a positive outlook, a clear set of financial goals, and a map planning out their growth strategies and their potential. Company leaders and employees prepared themselves for a multitude of precautions as normally done — insurance, fire procedures, planned events, meetings and financial fluctuations … but it’s safe to say that most of us were just not prepared for a pandemic and an economic shut-down of this magnitude. 

The industries and businesses we rely on the most are those who provide us the essentials we need such as pharmacies, hospitals, groceries, and gas stations; they are not the malls with the designer handbags or the 5-star restaurants in the downtown area that take 3 months in advance to book a reservation.  Many non-essential businesses have plunged into hard times because much of their income was generated from the crowds and consumers they would attract to their location. Even those that have shown a surplus of revenue and overwhelming success for years are falling behind and are in need of financial assistance. 

Many industries depend on each other’s success, for instance airlines depend on manufacturers to keep them going and farmers depend on grocery stores to sell their stock. This concept applies to the vendors they use; if a vendor is feeling the impact of a crisis, that may mean they’re unable to provide products to the businesses that count on them. The financial institutions and government we rely on are not excluded.  They have needed to quickly build a digital infrastructure over the past few weeks to provide the necessary customer services and more importantly, disaster funding for our businesses.  There has never been a global tragedy to this proportion in any of our lifetimes, so this has been completely uncharted territory for every single operating business on earth.   

Unfortunately, this is our nation’s current reality, but if there’s anything that humans are capable of doing, it is adapting to survive.  Over the next few months, it may be difficult to adjust your business focus and stay operational but the silver lining to this crisis is the knowledge and experience you have in your trade and learning to better prepare for the future in the event it happens again.  By contacting your accountant, financial advisor, or business consultant, you can gain a better understanding how to pivot your business model and focus to adapt and succeed with the times.    

How are some industries dealing with the fact that their location has been closed to the public?

    1. Working remotely. For some companies, transitioning to complete remote work wasn’t much of a change as they already had implemented working from home either full-time or part-time. Those that were not prepared were given a few day’s notice and a strategy had to be implemented quickly to protect the health of the team and clients.
       
    2. Delivery Services. Turning to deliveries of all types, especially for those who have been hit among the hardest, food service industry. A quick, strategic plan of implementing no-contact orders and utilizing their existing employees as delivery persons keep both the revenue stream intact as well as their staff employed.

    3. Free deliveries on products. Shipping costs have been dropped just to encourage consumers to continue purchasing from them. They are not available to sell their product in person for those that preferred to avoid the fees.

    4. Zoom classes. While exercise facilities are closed, many owners and instructors are turning to hosting online sessions to keep their clients healthy, active, and involved.

    5. Forward-thinking leadersBeing proactive and prioritizing communication and transparency are the biggest keys in maintaining the relationships built and making certain they continue to do so.  By letting your existing customers know what new ways your business is operating will give them a sense of comfort and confidence in your ability to adapt. 

 

 

How are consumers changing to adjust to this at-home period and how will their view towards businesses alter after this experience?

  1. Consumers are more conscious of businesses they will work with moving forward. They will be considering how reliable a business is in a time of crisis and the way they respond now will affect them greatly within the next year. Did they follow regulations and still keep in contact with their clients? Did they keep the consumers’ trust or break it? Great leadership is essential in these situations and should be at the forefront of a business owner’s mind.  

  2. After this globally shared experience, individuals will want to stay prepared in case another global and economic event drastically changes or even halts their routine.

  3. Communication and meetings via digital outlets and platforms will be much more utilized and popularized in the mainstream; Zoom and GoToMeeting have already seen an increase in participation.  A couple of the benefits to online meetings are saving money on travel and spending the time saved on other activities.

  4. Businesses that provide products should consider implementing a subscription element if they have not already. Consumers will need to feel a sense of commitment from their providers, that in the case the stores begin to run out of their necessities and products, they can turn to their subscription to take care of their needs and give them priority. An example of this is toilet paper … many of us didn’t believe the day would ever come when we couldn’t just go to the store to buy it when we were down to our last roll. A subscription to monthly bathroom necessities and cleaning supplies so a household doesn’t have to worry about running out again will gain a business the loyal customers as well as a secure revenue stream.

  5. Amazon offers monthly subscriptions, however, they have begun to run out of stock. If a consumer couldn’t get their product at the store, they went to Amazon. But even the most popular online retailer couldn’t keep up with the sudden demand for what they always had an abundance of before, so people went looking for it elsewhere. Prime no longer became 2 days because of the high demand and many products on there were put on the backburner for the time being while priority was given to hand sanitizers and food. If you relied on Amazon for all your sales, it’s time to consider implementing your own! Make sure your website is secured with proper security and shipping. 

What will be different after the quarantine period is over? Which industries may flourish?

  1. Healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are among the flourishing industries. We have seen a world without a vaccine and it shut down the economy. More funding may be provided to these industries to assist combating any future pandemics.

  2. Sick days could be used beneficially due to remote access and employees will be more encouraged to stay home to avoid spreading the virus/germs.  With the continuing implementation of easy, remote access to electronic files and video conferencing, the work could still be completed while staying at a safe distance.  We’ve learned how viruses are spread, and to avoid reoccurrence, our society needs to take health care and general hygiene much more seriously.

  3. Dog groomers, barbers, and hairdressers — you are missed right now! Hold tight and consider hiring extra on your staff because those appointments will be filling up fast! A way to support them right now is to pre-pay for your future appointment as well as offering package deals.

  4. Restaurants, clubs, event venues, museums and other “non-essential” but comforting businesses will be packed once the dust settles and the isolation is lifted.

  5. In past few weeks virtual meeting softwares have seen increases in users. People are seeing the benefits of remote work and in the upcoming few weeks and months, we will be seeing more programs created to make working from home more efficient.

 

 

Our current situation was unexpected and businesses are dealing with the fallout as best as they can. The strategies that were previously in place for a variety of uncertain possibilities, had to be reevaluated and revised to adapt to the now-changing economic situation. Despite these hardships, businesses are showing their resilience and are working hard to get back up to speed with the new temporary normal.  Overall, these owners are learning how to continue operating remotely, adding additional services offsite, offering sanitary delivery options, and even pivoting their primary manufacturing services to make necessary supplies in the continuing fight against the virus.  A digital transformation for all businesses has recently become the most important step to take in order to adapt and stay resilient!