• Kirti Khanna

How To Combat Business Crisis Caused By COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought the whole world to a halt. Initially called coronavirus, COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan on December 31, 2019. The outbreak of this incurable disease across the world has put the human race in utter jeopardy. As we enter April 2020, the life-threatening virus has infected over 1,350,357 people with 74,866 deaths in more than 203 countries across the world. The actual number can differ because there aren’t enough tests being performed which means there are chances that a lot of people who have the disease haven’t been diagnosed as yet.


Scary, right? But it isn’t a movie plot but an atrocious reality. This blog is not intended to terrify you but to educate you about taking crucial business decisions in the times of global crisis.


Economies are shattering and there is no escape to it. Businesses are shutting down to protect employees and contain the spread of the deadly virus. Because the virus continues to spread, a final report of its effect on businesses cannot be fully known at present. China is trying to stand up back while other countries are just in the first stage of the virus. Having said that, the end to this cannot be predicted but one thing is certain that this horrifying virus will affect the global economy radically.


Handling The Immediate Challenge


With hindsight from the recession in 2008 and 2011 Japanese earthquake, following business suggestions have been framed to tackle such situations.


  • Building a robust framework for supply chain risk management

  • Be certain about viability of your own financing

  • Pay attention to cash-to-cash conversion

  • Start thinking like a CFO

  • Review the variable costs

  • Review the capital investment plans

  • Implement efficient inventory management methods

  • Scale payables in an intelligent manner

  • Start adopting alternative financing options for supply chain

  • Audit all the payable and received transactions regularly

  • Recognize interruption insurance needs for your business


Understanding the criticality of the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19, it is rather essential for businesses to act decisively to prevent their workforce, to keep their businesses operational even when we are through these drastic times.


Apparently, the first and foremost focus is on containing the spread of the disease and abolishing it while saving lives. The healthcare professionals and institutes are continuously toiling away to win this battle. At the same time, we need to understand how urgent and important it is to save the world economies. With every news update, companies are trying to understand the situation and find out ways to react to it while learning new lessons. The complete picture cannot be seen but we can continue to tackle this situation in stages.


So, we must come out of the denial and start accepting the reality to be prepared for our next step that does not throw our business out of the picture. Moreover, every company, irrespective of their level of preparedness will learn new lessons to deal with the future crises. The team at The Synergy Works is working continuously to build new methods of business operations for our clients. Here is our guide that will help you keep your businesses ongoing in these unfortunate times:


Revisit Intelligence Everyday

As I write this blog, COVID-19 cases have already increased by thousands. With the events unraveling at such shocking speed, the whole picture is changing every second. A few days ago everybody in the world including you and me, thought that it was an issue that China had to deal with and it was the country’s responsibility to control it. And now, we have the whole world going down with countries such as the United States, Italy, Spain, and Germany beating the number of cases in China.


This means we cannot be fully prepared until we revisit our strategies everyday because the situation is aggravating with every passing second. As a business, you must interact with your teams on a daily basis rather than weekly and discuss the situation and its consequences and how you should be changing your plan of action accordingly.


Beware Of Hype Cycles

News channels and media focus on daily updates and after a while neglect the complete picture thus bewildering the audience on wrong grounds. When there is no differentiation in hard facts, soft facts, and speculation, organizations can tend to take rash decisions by overreacting to the fast-changing information. So, in the current times, discuss with your team about the criticality of each news piece and its authenticity before acting on it.


Information isn’t always cognizance

Individuals have direct and easy access to multiple sources of information. They do not rely on anybody for learning new things but the online information. Business leaders can also fall for fake news sources to frame their strategies. So, it is important to put in additional efforts to find out the true facts rather than using the assumptions about facts. Moreover, you should consider selecting a few valid and legitimate sources of information.


Be Flexible

Companies of all sizes must be flexible enough to handle such situations where they can run business operations without their employees’ health being compromised. Most of the large enterprises lack flexibility and they wait for signs of certainty before shutting their business operations that creates fear and confusion in the company. Therefore, every business must be flexible to handle such rapidly changing situations.


Establishing Robust Communication Platform

We are witnessing times in which human contact is fatal for survival which is why it is important for businesses to have a robust communication channel to enable smooth information flow among employees. While most of the organizations rely on emails, it is also important to have an instant messaging solution for quick and better understanding of issues at hand. Companies can use project management tools, chat software, professional networking solutions such as Workplace, or any other quick communication tool.


Implement Central CRM Solution For Entire Organization

Businesses that use CRM solutions across all departments of their organization face less difficulty while handling situations like this. Employees can easily access and modify information through a single interface anytime and anywhere.


Right now this is the biggest challenge faced by traditional businesses. They are clueless about how they should be running their business without asking their employees to come to work. With individuals at constant risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus, businesses cannot put the health of their employees at stake to make profits. Off-the shelf CRMs can help companies apply a quick fix to this solution but a custom CRM solution will allow companies to do much more than just manage sales and marketing.


Define Remote Work Policies

Work-from-home (WFH) or remote work policies need to be defined in every organization to face such times of fatalism. There should be a clear definition of the processes, tools, and methods that will be required to set up an efficient remote working ecosystem. Every business works on a different model that has its own specifications and challenges. Therefore, the management must create policies that comply with the model without any bad effects on the business operations.


Supply-Chain Stabilization

Supply-chain businesses must ensure stabilization through alternate sources, backup stocks, and emergency supplier networks. For unfortunate times like now, you must have insurance for your products that keeps your production and manufacturing ongoing while allowing your company to sell. With implementation of technology, you should have an efficient logistics solution into place that will help you overcome the supply chain management challenges.


Implement BI Tools

Business intelligence tools are important for smart and informed decision making. That said, BI tools will help tackle adverse business circumstances by offering real-time insights about user behavior and business performance. Entrepreneurs, marketers, and business leaders can better understand the effects of a sudden event on their business that will help in determining quick resolutions. When the event or crisis is over for good, companies are judged on the basis of their business intelligence and combat skills. Since desperate times call for desperate measures, it is really important for businesses to act decisively in these situations.


This means, your business needs to act now before it is too late.


While framing business policies, here is what you must consider!


It is quite impossible to build a stable business ecosystem that does not falter due to some unfortunate and sudden events. However, it should not be the main goal but to build a resilient business model that can survive through unpredictable and unfavorable events. Here are the factors that you should consider while framing your business crisis policies.

Diversity

Multiple approaches to fulfillment help businesses overcome unfortunate business situations. Diversity in ideas can improve product development to a great extent. Thus, the crisis management team of your organization can collaboratively come up with better and more effective potential solutions to combat business crises. Organizations that do not promote a respectful diverse culture and work environment can face this as a challenge and business will fall because of one-dimensional solutions.


Redundancy

For smooth supply-chain operations, your company should be able to accommodate more manufacturing capacity. Companies can rely on innovative sources for short-term solutions but for long-term they can choose redundancy.


Modularity

Highly integrated systems that offer impeccable performance often fail at the times of crises. On the other hand, modular systems can offer great resilience, thus, allowing organizations to cope with any kind of events.


Evolvability

There is no product in the world that is made perfect in the first go. Consistent improvements and optimizations are done to achieve the peak efficiency level. Evolvability allows businesses to improve their services or products as per new possibilities, concerns, users, and information. Having said that, no business was prepared to deal with COVID-19 because it hasn’t happened before. So, rather than applying wrong measures, it is better to learn more and iterate effective solutions while constantly measuring the performance. Until then, keep optimizing on the strategies that produce effective results for your business.


Embeddedness

Companies should realize that all businesses irrespective of their industries are all together and acting selfishly might devastate the reputation in the longer term. In such adverse situations, organizations should implement solutions that support the user community, healthcare professionals, business partners, and social communities. As a result, your company will come out with better goodwill and increased customer trust.


Be Prepared For The Worst & A Changed World


COVID-19 is not the only challenge that we are facing. Besides the fact that we do not know when the deadly virus will be contained for good, we need to be prepared for the after effects of the current pandemic. It is not going to end anytime soon, so the organization responses should be based upon preparation and preemption. Intellectual preparedness is not enough for these sudden events. With the rise of new disease epicenters, we need to customize and update our strategies. Being aware about the situation and understanding it without turning it into an actionable plan will only increase the stress.


COVID-19 will change our lives completely including how the businesses work and society functions. Currently, businesses with online business models are flourishing. Online shopping and food delivery businesses are helping individuals to maintain sanity while meeting their daily needs. When all of this is over, the businesses will take time to start over but people will realize the importance of online business models in times of crises.


When the crisis subsides, you must focus on drawing out the business lessons. Document all the business events while the crisis continues. The business weaknesses will be exposed to you that you can work on for improvement.


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