Back in January 2020, the novel coronavirus crisis seemed like an isolated situation that’s happening in China — very far away from Charlotte and the rest of the United States. But in just a few months, the virus rapidly spread all over the world and forced cities and even entire countries to impose lockdowns and other safety measures.
All of a sudden, businesses had to rethink how they operate. Many of them had to adopt remote working arrangements. Those with physical stores had to explore digital channels. Some companies even had to completely pivot their businesses to survive.
While the mass rollout of COVID-19 vaccines seems like the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s important to look back and take note of these five business lessons learned amid the pandemic:
1. Having a crisis management plan is a must
If you didn’t have a crisis management plan before, then now is the time to make one. Or if you did, then you should update it with what you’ve experienced in the past year.
Review how the pandemic affected your business. How did the company adapt to the changes brought about by the situation? What were the things that worked and didn’t work? Who were the people who played key roles? What were the issues that surfaced? What aspects of your crisis response could be improved? Factor in all of your answers when creating your company’s crisis management plan.
The plan should include information such as:
- Members of your crisis management team and their individual roles and responsibilities
- Types of equipment needed by the said team and where to obtain these
- Physical and digital assets that should be protected from damage or theft
- Activities that are part of minimum basic operations
- Skeleton workforce and equipment they need
- Means of communication to be used by employees
- Means of communication with stakeholders (e.g., customers, contractors, regulators)
2. Business agility is key to survival
A lot of companies were forced to file for bankruptcy or even permanently close due to the pandemic. Those that are still operational found that they had to be agile so they can adapt and respond quickly to changing events. For example, to secure revenue, some companies had to shift to the products or services that are more profitable and channels that attracted more customers — and do all of these as fast as possible.
To better prepare for future crises, examine if your company can quickly shift gears when necessary. Do you have contingency plans? Do you have multiple income streams or can you easily create another one? Are you equipped with the right tools that help you stay agile?
3. Remote work is doable
A flexible working arrangement used to be a job perk, but it quickly became the norm last year. Prior to the pandemic, managers were worried that productivity would dip when employees work remotely. But they’re now finding that with the necessary tools and resources, productivity stayed the same or even improved compared to when staff were based in the office. In fact, some companies like Twitter and Square already allowed their employees to work from home permanently. You may want to consider a similar setup for your own company.
Related readin: How to manage remote workers effectively
4. Keep a cash buffer
The pandemic highlighted the importance of financial preparedness. Despite suffering revenue losses, companies that had excess cash were able to stay afloat. It also allowed some businesses to retain all their existing staff and even hire new ones.
As we slowly transition to the new normal, make sure to regularly set aside a portion of your sales to your business emergency fund. This fund will help you ride out any economic hardship that comes your way.
5. Leverage technology
Businesses that were resistant or slow to invest in technology were suddenly forced to fast track their digital transformation. Suddenly, they had to digitize paperwork so their employees could access these remotely. They had to rely on cloud-based communication, collaboration, and productivity tools to stay operational. What’s more, they had to play catch up in their online presence and point of sale.
Moving forward, invest in the technologies that help increase your business’s agility and expand your online channels to a much wider audience. If you need help identifying such IT, consult with the experts of SpectrumWise. With our help, you can be one step ahead of your competitors.