After China re-opened for business, uncertainty remains unsolved for companies. However, the prediction for the future looks a lot like the past economic crisis. Are we ever going back to normal after COVID-19? All in all, the answer is not that simple, for many businesses, this will become a new way of operating.
Coronavirus outbreak caused another level of doing business. The question is what is the new normal? Will this mean that people could not go to the shops without keeping the social distance, or will the coronavirus fear fade away. The reality is that consumer behavior is changing fundamentally, and so much else is changing, and the question is, “will it go back?”
If you think about a lot of what’s happened in the last few years, some of it’s going to be reinforced. The remote work has now been given a boost, and it’s hard to see that it will go back to where it was before.
What is the meaning of the new normal?
In the context of COVID-19, the new normal means the prospect of slow growth for many years. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed how we live, work, and learn. Managing in this new era will be different – and much will rest on how willing CEOs and their executive teams are to stray from their comfort zone and challenge their traditional ways.
As we put out statements about impacts on supply chains and demand, we don’t mention people. In reality, we’re experiencing a human health emergency. Moreover, companies and governments can do better than just to talk about profits and the market.
As a company leader, ask yourself “What’s the best thing you can do for your employees?”
To go virtual is the easiest for some organizations, but it gets more complicated for jobs that can’t go remotely. Can companies provide some emergency pay for workers as the economy slows or at least ask for government grants and loans to do so?
Ecommerce boom during COVID-19
A lot of companies are seeking to find a way to maintain business online. The one sector that we see keeps recruiting is retail business and warehouses. They still need people as the demand for food products is rising.
On the other hand, coronavirus will change the way products reach consumers. The more emphasis will be on safety and control, rather than efficiency.
E-commerce has boomed as consumers worldwide practice social distancing and self-quarantining (by choice or by government mandate), leading e-tailers and marketplaces like Amazon to amp up their supply chains to cope with increased demand. There are many examples of successful businesses that started an e-commerce website online.
The most important thing about moving your business online and having an e-commerce website is knowing how to scale your product. Selling online products or services is just one of the solutions to your business strategy.
Meanwhile, some retailers are witnessing an increase in online demand of between 150 and 500 percent. There is no better option than to start the digitalization process for your business. In these uncertain times, no one can predict how long will COVID-19 last and what are the consequences. You should keep on doing what you know the best and try to adapt to a new normal.
Establish a continuity plan
Moreover, according to Greg Milligan at Harney Partners, as a business owner, you need to establish your business cash position. Furthermore, an integrated profit and loss model for scenario testing is necessary for longer-term planning. Developing various scenarios can help you understand and estimate the impacts on your business and develop a continuity plan around the scenario.
A business continuity plan is the outline of procedures to prevent damage, maintain productivity, and recover in the event of a national emergency or disaster.
To understand what continuity plan looks like, consider interviewing other colleagues and ask for advice from professionals. On the other hand, business hibernation can be a better strategic option to conserve cash and position your business for a return to the market when macroeconomic conditions allow. Anticipate viable adjustments to make as you settle into the new normal, post coronavirus world.
During any time of crisis, open communication on a predictable schedule is essential to a successful outcome. Your employees or stakeholders deserve accurate and timely information about your business.
How do you write a continuity plan?
Every business needs a plan to maintain business continuity. Even if it’s a small business, you need to effectively have a plan when disaster strikes to avoid business disruption.
Many people think a disaster recovery plan is the same as a business continuity plan. However, a DR plan focuses mainly on restoring IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. It’s just one part of a complete business continuity plan, as a continuity plan looks at the continuity of the entire organization.
Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company’s future depends on your people and processes.
If you are able to handle any incident effectively, this will have a positive effect on your company’s reputation. Besides, this can have a positive impact on your market value and it can increase customer confidence.
If your organization doesn’t have a continuity plan in place, start by assessing your business process. Determine which areas are vulnerable, and the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days or a week.
Next, develop a plan. This involves six general steps:
Identify the scope of the plan.
Identify key business areas.
Identify critical functions.
Identify dependencies between various business areas and functions.
Determine acceptable downtime for each critical function.
Create a plan to maintain operations.
You start with testing your business continuity plan and understand if it works. However, controlled testing is a more comfortable way to find out what are the gaps.
How to test your continuity plan?
Many organizations test a business continuity plan two to four times a year. The schedule depends on your type of organization, the amount of turnover of key personnel, and the number of business processes. It also depends on IT changes that have occurred since the last round of testing. Standard tests include table-top exercises, structured walk-throughs, and simulations.
A table-top exercise usually occurs in a conference room with the team reading the plan and finding possible gaps. In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or her elements of the plan in detail to identify gaps.
In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or her elements of the plan in detail to identify gaps. In the end, there is a disaster simulation testing that is quite involved and performed annually.
For this test, create an environment that will reflect an actual disaster incident. The purpose of the test is to find out if you can carry out key business functions during the crisis.
In the end, make sure to review the business continuity plan in the future. As new technologies evolve, the plan needs to get renewed and updated.
We’re all in this together
One of the lessons we’ve learned from countries that are ahead in terms of dealing with this is that it’s not so easy to bring a business back if you haven’t got employees. We must understand that we’re all connected. The pendulum has been swinging in recent years to an “every person for themselves” attitude. Pure nationalism is honestly dangerous in the face of borderless issues like climate change, resource overuse, and, yes, pandemics.
There are overlaps and dependencies between all our biggest issues. As the planet warms, the seasons will lengthen and geographic ranges will expand for many dangerous diseases. When we talked about the importance of incorporating ESG into your investment strategy, we emphasized environmental concerns in the world.
To sum up, we don’t know yet how the new reality will look like. What we know is that companies should learn how to adapt to the new way of work online. There are numerous ways you can move your business online. That way, your company will adapt quickly and be ready for the time things start to pick up.