Covid-19 has paralyzed the society. It has infected more than a million people all over the globe according to the latest reports. But it has infected more than just people. It has spread across the economic landscape sparing none. The big players in the market have been just as affected as the mid to small level businesses. Be it the food industry or the manufacturing companies, they have all become devastated by the pandemic. The travel and tourism industry are among the most affected in the market. It is being predicted that the world might face a huge recession in the future. Even after the whole Coronavirus pandemic is dealt with, its repercussions will be seen for over two decades in the society.
Coronavirus is a group of viruses and Covid—19 is on only one among them. People have been calling it Coronavirus. It is not synonymus.
The big corporate businesses have less to worry about as they are more likely to bounce back than the mid to small level businesses. Small and medium size enterprises (SME) are facing a future of uncertainty and concern. If you are an SME owner, it is likely that you are unsure about what you must do to save and carry your business across the desperate times. One thing you can do is to don a different outlook. Sure, the things are bleak at the moment but if you bide your time, you can make it big when the world has healed from the Covid-19.
For example, consider the tourism industry. It is one of the worst hit in the market and has almost come to a complete standstill. But once the travel restrictions are lifted, there will be an unprecedented hike waiting for it. People around the world will start traveling for leisure and for work. Another example is the food industry. Food industry can count on coming back with a bang. Healthy living is also a concept that is going to get a boost. People will be on the lookout for natural and organic food and medicines. So, the question is if you are an SME, how you will get ready to bounce back to your feet when the world is done healing from the Covid-19?
- Make sure that your business is accessible even during the lockdown or isolation period.
Even if you are in the thick of the lockdown or isolation, make sure that you are always available on phone and can be reached by e-mail. People are thinking of the future and they might contact you for services or queries. Prompt and appropriate replies to the queries will instill faith in your existing customers and will impress any potential clients.
- Build a strong brand recall.
If you already have a digital presence, now is the time to expand it. If you do not, what are you waiting for? With everything lockdown, people are increasingly turning to the digital media for news and entertainment. Grab the opportunity to be noticed by making a mark on digital and social platforms. Keep building a brand recall throughout the lockdown period. One way to do this is to have sustained digital campaigns on the various online platforms. Your physical business might very well be closed but you can make your presence felt by conversing with your customer base on a regular basis. When all is done, the people will remember you and will come back to you for your services or goods.
- Make sure that your existing customers are happy.
You may not be getting any business from your customers now but that is no reason to ignore them. Keep in touch with your existing customers by phones or updates online to show them that you care and that you are standing by them through the difficult times. If you are providing services during the lock down, make sure that your services are exceptional. These steps will make sure that your customers will stand by you too when the lockdown is over.
- Implement work from home.
Keep your business up and running even in a basic skeletal form. Any employees who can do their jobs from home must be allowed to. Ongoing work in any form is better than shutting the work down completely.
- Utilize the lockdown period to update skills.
With the lockdown in place, you will probably have a lot of free time on hands. Use this time judiciously. Use it to update your skill by means of online courses. You can also use this time to impart training, knowledge and skills to your employees.
- Make use of the technology.
Many SMEs in our country are still not very bent towards modern technology. There is no better time than now to adapt to harness the advantages of technology. For instance, conference video call apps like Zoom, etc. can enable you to efficiently co-ordinate work and conduct meetings remotely. File sharing apps can be used to share huge files instantly across your employees.
- Think, contemplate and conceive.
Use the extra time on hand to think deeply about your business. Think about the ways that your business can be better and think about the course to take when the market is functional again.
Founder – CEO.