Nothing knocks consumer confidence quite like a pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns and business limitations designed to limit its spread. The entirety of 2020 has been a write-off for so many people and, with even the larger corporations struggling, you’d best believe that small and medium-sized businesses are feeling the squeeze too. As lockdowns are getting eased around the world, it’s high time that savvy businessmen and businesswomen start thinking about what post-pandemic business will look like.
Whilst we thought the pandemic would pass when it first broke out, some experts are theorizing that whilst the pandemic may be controlled, COVID-19 is here to stay, and if that is true then the face of public society may be about to change, and change drastically. Even if we do fully defeat COVID, the cultural and technological upheaval that the pandemic has caused will also change the business environment going forward.
That’s what we’ll be exploring today but, if you’re a business person in need of some advice, we’d recommend this piece by renowned investor Javad Marandi about the attitude and tactics that entrepreneurs should take when returning to the field.
Now, on to the main changes that businesses may see after the pandemic.
Retain Existing Customers
Any change in the way business is done reflects a deeper change in the way everyone is thinking and acting, so every household has changed its spending habits. Most of them have become more frugal since they now have a deeper appreciation of the value of money, especially those who are furloughed and financially struggling as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.
This means that customers will be more skittish and that the ones you do have will have to find extra reasons to justify buying what you’re selling. Business ventures who don’t have a dedication to customer retention can and have failed over the last six months because of all the upheaval.
We definitely think that we’ll be seeing more interest in not just your typical advertising and sales funnel strategies but, once clients have been secured, a more rigorous and incentive-based post-product/service plan to let the clients know exactly why it’s worth doing business with you again.
Those incentives will be discounts to get their foot in the door in the first place, then following up with the client to make sure they don’t feel ignored and taken for granted. Having a company ethic and social enterprising intentions also help to curry good faith, if applicable to your particular business.
Diversify Revenue Streams
Once having secured or otherwise maintained what clients you still have left, all businesses should consider diversification as their foremost risk-reduction strategy. We have seen this with small businesses already, with many independent vape manufacturers using the glycol they had stored to create anti-bacterial gel to sell at a slight mark-up. The pandemic is a very chaotic time and, though uncertainty and financial hardship can come, it also presents attractive opportunities to those looking to break into certain industries.
Whilst this diversification is more opportunity-driven, there is also something to be said for businesses that can’t easily transfer to one of the hottest pandemic products right now still trying a new approach. The old idiom “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies now more than ever, so even if your business isn’t one that can transition as easily as other, more profitable post-pandemic ventures, it’s still worth trying if long-term success is a motivating factor for you.
Flexibility in Infrastructure
With the mention of opportunity, it should be noted that the lockdowns have whipped many businesses and their accompanying supply lines into shape. The fat has been trimmed from many businesses, whether that be unnecessary workspaces, workplace rituals, or even employees who were laid off so that the business could stay afloat. What employees that do remain, however, should be the most efficient and productive and return to the workforce ready to keep your company competitive.
The rise of telecommunications and videoconferencing in the everyday lives of people is the main factor that has made businesses more flexible. It has eliminated a lot of wasteful costs, presenting fewer challenging overheads for your company as well as more comfort and convenience to the employees, especially if they’re able to work from home as a result. We expect that a lot of office spaces if occupied at all, will be occupied to a lesser capacity and only during certain weekdays instead of the full week.
We don’t see any reason why businesses that are able will continue to do so when the pandemic is over, since this can be beneficial to all parties involved and, quite frankly, was becoming overdue in a world where more and more facets of life are becoming digitized. If the so-called “new normal” does prove to be true, businesses that stick with their lockdown precautions after the pandemic may have an edge over the ones that try to rush back to the old way of doing things.
Remaking the Supply Chain
As mentioned, many supply chains took a beating by the pandemic and, more pointedly, the shutdown of many workspaces. This has decimated the commercial sectors, particularly where agriculture and supermarkets are concerned, and the shutdown of airlines and international travel has only worsened this problem.
In the last six months, the cracks have started to show in regard to the global spider’s web of supply chains that businesses both big and small have come to rely on. There was writing on the wall, with high-level businessmen and strategists warning that an over-reliance on imports will be severely punished in the event of a political or natural crisis.
Well, that crisis kind of happened, and now many businesses are looking to shorten their supply chains from the South East Asian countries that they have previously relied upon. American businesses, for example, are moving more into South America, even when their supply chains tend to be more expensive, just because they’re shorter and less likely to be disturbed as much by a global problem since they exist in the same hemisphere.