The Covid-19 pandemic has many far-reaching implications for businesses large and small. While companies have been on a forced hiatus, their markets, customers and many critical resources have been changing. The flow of goods and services from suppliers to companies to consumers has been disrupted. It is time to bridge the chasm of the past weeks and return to productive commerce.
On one side of the bridge are formerly successful companies with their inherent strengths, resources, people and ideas. On the far side are customers with a pent-up demand for their favorite local businesses, travel, leisure and entertainment. The Covid-19 response forced business restrictions and closures, halted revenue streams, lost continuity, isolation and halted revenue streams. Once the bridge is reconnected, society and business will again enjoy the flow of goods and services that sustain trade, feed families and provide for a strong economy.
What businesses still have: Companies should assess what assets they’ve retained and how they will leverage them to reenter and win in the marketplace. Most still have company leadership, access to good employees, supplier relationships, a customer base, and other advantages. Although adjustments may need to be made to accommodate new business realities, companies still have their business models, proprietary ideas, value proposition, systems and other productive resources. These must be innovatively combined to recreate a competitive advantage to cross the bridge to prosperity.
What waits on the other side: Customers are exhausted with the isolation of the pandemic. Though continuing to be cautious, they are hungry for a sense of normalcy. They miss their routines and comfortable consumer habits that have developed over a lifetime. People also want to return to their jobs and careers. They are ready to achieve and feel the rewards of their labors – but with an eye on safety and security.
What businesses need to bridge the gap:
- Rehiring key employees is an essential first step to resuming operations. Some headcount model adjustments, such as graduated rehiring, may be warranted initially.
- Reinforcing company culture is essential to restarting. For companies that did not have a strong, cohesive culture, now is the time to identify what values drive the company. These values should be communicated clearly to employees along with the company re-opening plan.
- Assessing the impact that reduced revenue flow has on the company’s financial reserves. Some borrowing may be necessary for working capital. Reasonable options are available through government grants and low interest loans.
- Maintaining customer connections should have been a marketing priority throughout the crisis. If contact was insufficient, make it a key priority to reconnect. Special offers and promotions can help remind customers of the value of your services.
- Assess and consider making changes to operational efficiencies. Keep in mind the changes to the marketplace, new ways of working and need for technological improvements.
Now is the time to act with entrepreneurial faith by developing and executing a strategy to bridge the gap to a new and profitable era of business.