Running a Sustainable Business Amidst the Covid-19
Amal used to be amongst the highest paid employees in the Public Relations Consulting Firm he worked for. Now as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions, Amal no longer has a job to report to every morning, nor any more monthly income. Messers Consulting had successfully operated for 20years and although the company had their own fair share of hiccups and road blocks, it had managed to wade through it all and stay profitably afloat all these years. Few months after Covid-19 struck, Messers was left with almost zero revenue and client engagement. They therefore decided to shut down just until the covid-19 ends. Unfortunately Amal is one of Messers employees who lost their jobs as a result of this decision.
Fear, Confusion and Anxiety are feelings that plague a large percentage of earth’s inhabitants these days, and with employees out of work and employers struggling to keep their businesses afloat, this period calls for an urgent need to innovate. Desires have changed, and are now simpler than they used to be. But due to the confusion caused by the unexpected nature of the pandemic, businesses are not getting the cue fast enough.
Pre covid-19, people wanted so many things and had so much preferences, the service industry had a hard time keeping up. Now we just want a few things- assurance,trust, and safety. Luckily enough all wants are closely related. Investors want assurance that their investments are going into an organisation whose business model is pandemic proof. They want to know that they can count minimum to no losses if they invest in your business, and that their investments are safe with your model. Consumers want the assurance that they can trust your brand to continuously support them, and tend to their needs no matter what it takes. The employee needs assurance that her career is safe with your organisation, she needs to be able to trust your business model and structure, knowing that if she keeps up the end of the agreement, your organisation has what it takes to stay sustainable, and makes sure that she stays employed, safe, healthy, and paid.
How best can businesses innovate and take advantage of the opportunities available in order to successfully wade through the pandemic?
There are various areas through which this can happen. It is advisable you start by brainstorming through each building block of your business model (Customer Segments, Value Propositions, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Key Resources, Key Activities, Key Partnerships, Cost Structure) and decide on how best to innovate each building block. Lets consider an example.
Until the pandemic ends, business operations may not be what we have known them to be (Although studies on past pandemics show that within a year or two after the pandemic ends, activities usually revert to how they used to be), this we all know, but what baffles me is why businesses are still trying to operate as they have been accustomed to in the past or copying what the crowd is doing. For example, there is a pop-up ad on my computer screen from an electronics store offering discount on all stock in their consumer electronics section, i haven’t paid attention nor noticed it because of its irrelevance to my current situation or the situations of those closest to me. Giving mind blowing discounts is a good way to keep revenue coming in, but isn’t quite the sustainable move for the business right now.
Let’s assume instead that you are scrolling through your Instagram or tiktok feed( that whats on these days right? ) and an ad pops up, it is from an electronic store you’re quite familiar with because you either usually scroll past their ads with speed faster than that of light or you impatiently press the skip button whenever these ads come up. But this time you sense something different. It is not the same old salesy content you’re accustomed to skipping past, this is just not an ad, it is one offering no contact services if you need to have electronic devices installed, repaired or maintained. Now thats something new. Even if you do not need the services at the time, you definitely took a screenshot of that ad!
First of all it is relevant. Then its new, refreshing and provides a solution to something you or someone you know might actually need this period. Not most people want to spend cash, no matter how discounted on a new TV considering the fact that a lot of people are either out of jobs or simply trying to hoard cash just incase a crazy economic depression hits us, but then quite a chunk of people will need to have their Televisions repaired after the poor thing may have developed some fault due to a surprising surge in its usage this period.
The most important goal therefore shouldn’t be making chunks of revenue, instead it should be striving hard and smart to stay relevant during and after the pandemic, and how best can your business stay relevant in the minds of your customers than by appealing to their desires in the best way possible. As an electronic store, by offering no contact service delivery on fixing or installing electronic gadgets, you give your consumers the assurance that you care about their overall well being and comfort, you help them trust that irrespective of whatever social or economic situations, you are reliable and always ready to serve.