COVID-19 has struck the world so quickly, giving us no time to plan or measure the repercussions of our decisions. Even the most experienced and successful businesses are now finding it difficult to maintain healthy strategies to deal with the pandemic. However, there are certain keys that can still help businesses make subtle growth and enhance their offerings.
Let’s discuss some crucial strategies that can help businesses survive during the ongoing pandemic and allow them to emerge even stronger after it ends.
1. Reshape Your Business Strategy
The phrase reshaping your business strategy is extremely vague. Does this mean you need to rewind your strategies? Does this mean to scrape them off and start over? No.
By reshaping your business strategy, we mean you need to ponder over the current situation, adapt to the recent changes, and devise a revised business strategy that helps in the growth of your business.
Let’s see how you can do that.
No matter what business sector you may belong to, the current situation has changed everything. Digital transformation should be your main priority (if you haven’t thought of it already). I have talked about this and mentioned some key strategies in my Anti-crisis Transformation post. If you are the owner of a grocery service retail store or if you are managing an educational institution, then follow the new norm of going digital to ensure that you continue to provide services to your customers. In this regard, e-commerce services and e-learning platforms can help you in your respective plans.
Comfort your Employees and Customers
In this time of crisis, a brand needs to build loyalty with both its customers and employees. While many organizations are making difficult decisions of laying off their employees, this is radiating an upsetting vibe for both its employees and the customers.
According to statistics, 48% of the employees trust their brands more when the companies take positive measures to treat their employees during a time of crisis. More than half of the employees are unhappy with the current organizational decisions around the world.
Similarly, 65% customers agreed that a brand’s actions in the time of crisis have a significant impact in terms of their trust.
Adopt Agile Methodologies
In order to stay updated with the progress of the tasks assigned throughout the team, Project Managers should opt for an agile approach to manage the tasks with ease. By utilizing agile methodologies, you can easily make the necessary edits saving you heaps of time. This will be a great help in the current remote communication situation.
Study Other Brands
You might be of the opinion that you are better than your counterparts and the statistics might be proving you right, too. However, COVID-19 has managed to spark hidden specialties in different areas.
So, while your competitors must be incompetent in the overall picture, they might be providing some new features/facilities to their customers to keep them engaged. The need of the hour suggests you to study your competition, learn from them if they are practicing any innovative ideas and come up with your original creative ideas to enhance your popularity among the customers.
2. Enhance Communication with Consumers and Employees
Communication is the key to success in this uncertain global COVID pandemic. In order to remain relevant, maintain your importance, and satisfy both your employees and consumers, you need to devise ways to communicate with both, efficiently.
In order to communicate better with customers, businesses should opt for advanced CRM tools such as Salesforce, Freshsales, Zoho CRM, and HubSport CRM.
Due to the current situation, small businesses should consider the aforementioned cloud-based CRMs. These platforms will help them maintain constant engagement with their consumers. The CRMs provide effective details such as tracking customers’ interest in the business, interacting with the customers in forms of proposals/advertisements, etc.
Being a project manager, or a team lead, it must be difficult for you to manage a team of significant individuals, remotely. In order to keep them motivated while they are working from home, here are a few tips:
Choose a Secure and Seamless Communication Platform
With multiple video-conferencing and other cloud-based utility software available, you can choose the one that fits your needs the best. Just ensure that the entire team remains in complete sync throughout the daily office timing.
Constant communication will help the employees avoid exhausting themselves with constant editing in their work. Conduct frequent meetings to ensure that the entire team is on the same page. Project Managers can opt for software like Microsoft Teams, or other project management applications such as Asana to track the progress of their projects.
3. Monitor Data Integrity and Enhance Your Security
Due to the ongoing pandemic, thousands of companies have ordered their workers to work from home. Due to this, companies have started facing multiple cybersecurity issues that are creating data integrity issues for the organizations.
Hackers from different parts of the world are engaging in phishing scams and focused remote vulnerabilities. Clearly the majority of the companies are not comfortable with the work from home situation.
While there are a number of ways to breach a company’s security protocol (phishing, vishing, smishing, spear phishing, and whaling), some easily neglected threats can also be lethal in the current situation. One of the easily neglected threats is an employee’s vulnerable device (smartphone or laptop) that contains malware, which can provide different penetrators to get access to the company’s system.
Effective usage of cloud technologies and a proper backup mechanism to ensure no documented work goes to waste is an essential step for every business going digital at the moment. To ensure your company’s remote working remains secure, here’s a list of steps you can take to protect yourselves:
Use a Company-Supplied VPN
The concept of a virtual private network (VPN) is to provide an added layer of protection. When you use a corporate VPN, you can be free from the worries of being breached, as it provides an additional layer of security to the company’s resources. In simpler words, it adds an authentication medium to limit a specific amount of users on a network to counter any unusual activity from any employee’s vulnerable device.
Choose a Standardised Platform
Remote working provides you the leverage of communicating through various platforms. However, to ensure that you are able to monitor any suspicious activity, you need to standardise the platforms you use for specific tasks and stick to them.
Pick a secure video-conferencing platform, a secure file-sharing platform, a secure office productivity suite and make sure every employee uses only these to perform their assigned tasks.
Do Not Feel Reluctant to Invest on Security
Due to the intensely tight financial situations, businesses are only making extra transactions that are absolutely necessary. The purchasing of multiple security licenses for remote services for your employees might not seem like a feasible choice. However, compare it with the cost of breach in your company’s system and the effects of your data integrity being compromised.
It might help you understand that strengthening your security might be the best investment in the current situation.
Did you know that Zoom, just recently, had to specifically announce and demonstrate that they are making major integral security enhancements in their system to ensure that organizations continue using their services?
4. Take Proactive Measures to Maintain Your Reputation
In the times of a crisis such as COVID-19, the real test of a brand is how it manages to maintain its reputation amongst the customers. With the high magnitude of Coronavirus’s spread across the world, the majority of the businesses are finding it difficult to remain relevant without being able to market themselves as they could in the past times.
The education sector is devastated, all kinds of institutions have to opt for non-conventional modes of study, which is hardly matching the quality they claim to provide throughout the year. Furthermore, the stock market is chaotic, as a number of businesses are facing bankruptcy issues.
During such times of great uncertainty, businesses are not only striving hard to keep both their employees and customers satisfied, but they are trying to protect the health of their brand’s reputation as well.
Though there are no right ways to safeguard your reputation in such uncertain and unstable times, connecting to your customers can go a long way in helping you stay relevant.
Customers expect their favorite brands to have a plan for all kinds of situations. In such situations, brands should opt for a proactive approach and reach out to their customers, keeping them informed regarding their movements.
An important example of proactive communication is how Lyft is handling the change in its business by communicating with its customers and keeping them updated.
Moreover, businesses should enhance their response times to customer queries and concerns to show that their interest in their customers is still intact and the brand is fully motivated to serve the customers. Revisit your marketing techniques to tweak them a tad bit in order to exploit the excessive mobile usage that has increased in this crisis.
5. Monitor the Effects of COVID-19 and Plan for the Next Step
Majority of the companies, if not all, are worried about the post-COVID world and the business opportunities that will follow. However, they are missing the important aspect of strengthening their chances of survival by taking preemptive measures. After all, challenging times are indeed opportunities to thrive.
Like most of the companies, we hope that your employees are also working from home. There have been claims of high unemployment rates across the world, which must have left your employees worried about the status of their job in the upcoming months.
While most companies find the solution of decreasing budgets and increasing the timelines of their products during the times of crisis useful, COVID-19 has hit all forms of solutions right out of the park.
Even the most prepared of businesses that are laced with contingency plans are in a state of utter chaos, and are struggling to achieve the best way out of this aggressive situation. According to multiple strategists, the businesses that will resurface after the outbreak ends will be the ones who took positive proactive measures rather than the ones laying low till the storm passes.
A different perspective to this situation is of the companies who are considering this as an opportunity to expand their radius of services and capabilities. They want to push forward, dig deep in new ideas, and rebrand themselves with more strength after the lockdown ends.
Since the future is so uncertain, the decisions need to be out-of-the-box and unusual too.
Let’s have a look at some of the strategies that companies can opt for during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Improve Your Products and Expand your Radius of Development
Although the current pandemic might not be the best time to test things, it certainly will help small businesses enhance their offerings.
Invest your resources in exploring different areas to figure out if your business can expand and incorporate those services.
The maintenance and improvement of the current systems is important, they should continue to be enhanced. However, introduce new features or services to prove yourself better than your counterparts.
Prepare to Welcome the Change
What if the pandemic stays for months? What if the customer response is not as satisfactory after the outbreak ends, as the strategists expect it to be? What if things do not come back to normal till the start of the next fiscal year?
To combat all the possible “what-ifs”, you need to become a smart leader and develop plans keeping in mind that the world has changed forever.
You can either become an industry that may never heal from the damage due to your one-dimensionality, or you can move forward and continue to diversify your offerings.
We would suggest you strive for the latter.
Explore Different Partnership Opportunities
One thing that almost every economic crisis helps the businesses learn is that you can strive hard, but you can never be a successful jack of all trades. This helps us to understand the importance of seeking partnerships with other businesses to keep our business affairs in motion.
Train your Employees
In order to expand your radius of services, you need to ensure that your employees enhance their learning curves and learn different skills. You need to organize multiple training sessions of various skills for your employees to participate, learn, and give you the capability to expand. Train your team on how to transform, so they do it fast, quicker, the first time, on time here.
Brainstorm Innovative Ideas
Since the morale of employees must be really low in the current situation, businesses need to provide them with the necessary confidence to ensure they can function well. When planning your steps forward to deal with the stationary business world situation, you need to value your employees’ brainstormed ideas and encourage them to participate.
COVID-19 has stumped us all. Even the most prepared of companies that had contingency plans are now clueless on how to tackle the financial situation. In such uncertain times, businesses need to revisit their policies and processes and make rethink these so they enable change, not block it. This will help them adapt to the current situation and seek different opportunities to grow and diversify themselves.
To help you plan these strategies, join us on the our crisis-transformation webinar series, to help you implement faster!
Hope you found some value in this, thank you for reading this. Let me know what you think, or what you would like to see next in the comments below!
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P.P.S. If you want to learn more about business transformation, check out The Business Transformation Playbook here.
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