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Business Survival amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

2020 December 4 16:00 GMT-07:00

The Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the world over has brought with it many unprecedented challenges for businesses.  

The extraordinary nature of this public health crisis has set one of the most abrupt changes in the online business ecosystem in recent times and has left many companies dealing with uncertainty and fear for the future. 

Now more than ever, there are a plethora of similar businesses online, serving similar products and services, and they all have to adapt to what has become known as the "new normal." 

For businesses to survive the financial and operations challenges that the present public health crisis has created, organizations must address the needs concerning their customers, employees, and services. 

This article aims to outline the struggles that businesses have had with the current pandemic and offer some real advice on continuing to navigate these challenging times.  

The pandemic's impact on business 

As a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increased focus on sustainable business growth. To stay afloat, businesses have had to learn how to navigate the present pandemic presents many financial and operational challenges.  

According to YPO's Chief Executive Global Survey on the Business Impact of Covid-19, the top three issues CEOs were facing or expected to encounter in the next six months were travel, revenue, and new business development. 

Covid 19 graph

(Source: YPO)  

RevOps can help to recover from the pandemic's effects 

Of 2,750 respondents, 58% of the CEOs surveyed expressed they were currently facing revenue challenges. This problem stems mostly from an overall decrease in many organizations' budgets across the board. For this reason, team leaders have had to rethink their customer retention and acquisition strategies to adapt to relatively lower budgetsThis has led many teams to find new ways to remain effective and efficient with a cut in their budget. 

Furthermore, a Gartner survey conducted on 317 CFOs determined that 62% were planning on cutting their organization's selling, administrative, and general budgets to address a substantial decline in revenue due to the pandemic measures. 

Undeniably, one of the effects of the current global health crisis, has been decreased consumers' acquisitive power. This has led to few consumers willing to try new products or purchase from an unknown business, while most consumers choose to remain loyal to the companies they already know. 

For this reason, marketers, sales, and customer success teams have come to realize the untapped value that can be found in existing customers. Existing customers know your brand and the quality of the goods you offer and are therefore more likely to purchase from your business than one unknown to them. 

Therefore, to achieve a higher customer retention rate, interdepartmental teams must work together.  

RevOps focused strategy can help your organization plan how to interconnect your marketing, sales, and customer success operations to improve your customer life cycle and bottom line. This, in turn, can help increase the odds that your current and past customers will continue to purchase your products, even amid budget and expense cuts and layoffs. Ithe product or service your business offers is a necessity to them, there is a greater chance you will not lose out on your current customers. 

Implementing a RevOps approach to your business may be a daunting task if you did not have this in place before the pandemic hit. But when departments see their budgets sliced, it is essential to "connect the dots" and focus on an interdepartmental strategy to keep a business running. 

Workforce disruptions 

In a survey conducted by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), nearly 43% of the small businesses surveyed reported they had to close their business doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily.  

Among the affected factors were significant decrease in overall demand, employee health concerns, and disruptions in their products' supply chain 

Virtually every business has experienced some level of disruption in its workforce and its business processes. However, these businesses' services and products are necessary – not only do their customer need their services and products, but other companies do too.  

Therefore, organizations must develop ways to cope with the inevitable changes taking place. Workplace disruption due to Covid-19 had led many employers to let go of some of their employees and, in some cases, withhold full payment for their services.  

Therefore, organizations must develop ways to cope with the inevitable changes taking place. 

Jonathon Bass, CEO of Whom Home, explained how his business has adapted to the current needs of his business and his employees.  

We are in a fortunate position of having a warehouse located in Mexico, which has allowed us to continue operations throughout [most] of the pandemic.  

To keep my employees safe and comfortable, I have set up a medical office in my factory. There is a medical professional available at all operating times, not only to assist with Covid-19 precautions but also with any other health concerns of all employees. Each employee who has shown any symptoms has been tested in our medical office. Additionally, we are providing employees with free and safe transportation to and from work. The vehicles are sanitized before and after employees get in and out. Temperature checks are performed at the beginning and end of each day. Sanitizing equipment is distributed all over the warehouse and masks are provided and mandatory for all employees.  

My employees are very grateful to keep working through these tough times, providing for their families is critical right now. 

On the other end of the spectrum, workplace disruption due to COVID-19 had led many employers to let go of some of their employees and, in some cases, withhold full payment for their services.

While this seems like an inevitable effect of pandemic fatigue, there are various strategies that business leaders can implement to ensure that their organization can reconnect with its staff.  

Managers within an organization also face a learning curve as most organizations have implemented a remote work policy. As the pandemic starts to waver, and businesses consider returning to the workplace, managers must learn a new skill set for a smoother transition.  

  1. Business and team leaders within an organization should set and enforce boundaries in the workplace. This means communicating clear expectations on what is expected from every member of a team.
  2. Changing the organization's mindset from "restitution of long-gone days" to a chance to improve and move toward something more efficient while preparing for future unknowns.
  3. Prioritizing the work  to be done. The midst of a pandemic is a time to be effective and efficient. Rather than being "busy," it is now more important than ever to be "productive." This can take the form of putting a few projects on hold until your organization has prioritized what is necessary to keep the company running.  

As the Covid-19 health crisis has propelled online activities such as webinars and meetings through live video (in an attempt to recreate their in-person counterparts), the average employee will need to learn more about personalization to attract customers more effectively. 

Avoiding a downturn 

Once health authorities declare an end to the current pandemic, businesses interested in maintaining their competitiveness in the market will require establishing strategies aimed at long-term efficiency to ensure their business's resilience in a possible future similar situation.  

Therefore, business leaders will need to create systems that make the most significant lessons they have learned from this experience to better prepare for future disruptions.  

A step toward digital solutions 

Due to government-mandated shutdowns and social distance measuresall businesses have had to reinvent how their team members interact with one another and perform their daily responsibilities 

In pre-pandemic times, a shift toward digitalization was already underway. The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated this trend.  

Tim Sumer, CEO of Video Jaguar can confirm how his company’s approach to video marketing gave him an advantage during this pandemic 

We have [seen] an increase in sales, of around 20-25%, during the pandemic. I believe this is because many businesses are cutting back on costs by switching to digital solutions, especially now since more people are online. With Video Jaguar, businesses can automate their marketing by being able to create videos and then scheduling them to post on all social media channels; eliminating the need to outsource these tasks or hiring someone.” 

To remain competitive, leadership needs to proactively tackle the challenges their organization faces that can be mitigated with digital solutions. 

Coping with changes to your supply chain 

Unless a business was already creating, managing, and delivering its products using its very own supply chain, organizations' leadership has likely had to adapt to a new way of conducting business with their supply chain services.  

As a result, its sourcing and production has likely moved closer to the end-users, triggering a need to restructure the supply chain most businesses had in place in pre-pandemic times.  

This means that companies have likely to search for more local alternatives to their usual supply chain providers to make next-day delivery an option for their customers.  

An improvement to IT infrastructure  

Before Covid-19 became widespread, many organizations were already facing considerable technological challenges as businesses naturally gravitated toward digital operations. As social distancing became a worldwide norm, an organization's IT department (or lack thereof) became focal interest for every business operating online 

With the pandemic in full swing, many companies have had to swiftly overcome the technological hurdles they might have been facing and tackle new ones to remain a relevant piece in their industry. 

Changing your customer approach 

While most businesses have had the scramble to generate new strategies to deliver a better customer experience, leverage their current resources for maximum effectivity, and use digital channels to keep their business running, customers still expect companies to deliver.  

The current global pandemic has permanently changed how consumers buyEven with a future vaccine that aims to eradicate Covid-19, the consumer experience is not likely to see a massivshift. For this reason, organizations that continue to operate post-pandemic will be required to adopt a permanent transformation in the way they interact with their customers.     

Implement a safe retailingapproach 

With a global economic crisis in effect, consumers want businesses to provide the information they can trust. This includes adding more information about your products or services to ensure the potential customer that your brand is reliable.

Show you Care

Now more than ever, businesses have to be reliable. From product availability to offering goods at a stable price and providing good customer service, organizations have to show they care about their customers' satisfaction.  

A brand that respects its employees and its clients and goes the extra mile for their comfort is likely to earn the respect of its customers.  

Maintain and build relationships with your customers  

Good customer relationships have always been the end goal of the customer experience. Now more than ever, consumers are selective of what they purchase and from whom. While this degree of customer selectivity may not be completely permanent, businesses need to place a greater focus on cultivating positive relationships with their current customers.  

diversify your delivery options

Covid-19 has been synonymous with social distancing. This has forced many companies, particularly those in the consumer goods industry, to offer home delivery options when applicable. Once the pandemic ends, businesses that offer various delivery options for their products will likely need to  

Creating meaningful change for the future 

All industries have been impacted one way or another by the Covid-19 pandemic. While some companies were more prepared and had the upper hand, others have struggled to remain competitive players. 

Considering the fluctuating consumer demand patterns, companies and industries alike will need to continue to adjust their internal operations and adapt and adjust to what works for them and keep generating revenue while satisfying customers. 

 

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Karen Lopez

Written by Karen Lopez

Karen Lopez is Theia Marketing's Marketing Manager.

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