I think a lot of business owners will agree that a lot has changed in the business world after the pandemic. A lot of businesses had to close down and the few that remained still needed to create innovative ways to survive. For some restaurants and hotels that meant starting online delivery for their food items. For others, it meant holding online consulting meeting with clients as opposed to physical meetings and changing physical conferences to online conferences.
On the other hand, some businesses boomed during COVID – 19. Businesses like E- learning platforms, Online Food Delivery, NETFLIX and Zoom were in the perfect position to grow due to the pandemic. Pharmaceutical companies also made money from sale of face masks, personal protective equipment and drugs people purchased due to panic and fear. The secret of success for businesses here was that they were in the right position in the market. At the Flux Group, we created a business, County Support which partnered with a local mask production company and sold over two million locally made face masks at cheap prices to Nigerians and helped businesses cope with the effect of the pandemic and adapt. If your business wasn’t ready to attend to customers from their homes or supply products and services necessary for survival, it may not have been able to adapt to take advantage of the economic situation created by the pandemic but there is no reason why your business should be left out of the post – pandemic economic boom.
I have itemized a few tips on how I think businesses can survive and thrive in the post – COVID -19 economy:
- Prepare to think out of the box: All this time we have had a lull in business, should have been used and should still be used to create new ideas and schemes on money making from our business. At Flux, we used this time to find international partners for our real estate company Taylor’s Realties which now sells properties in several countries around the world. If you’re a law firm consider creating an online legal consulting chat box on your website. If you’re an event planner, find the best online apps for hosting events, synchronize them with music and food vendors and give your guests an unexpected experience. Are you a physical store? This is the time to consider becoming an online store. This is the time to try something new, improve your product and hit the market running.
- Invest in marketing: If you had never taken marketing seriously before, this is the time to take it seriously. Now the world is more of an equal playing field and those with big stores can’t oppress those with online stores. Many people can’t and wouldn’t leave home and so online purchases have increased. If you can invest in a good digital marketer, you can forge ahead and hit the targets you need to.
- Reduce costs: This is the time to analyse your business and reduce your costs, if you’re not using all that office space, reduce it and sub-let. You may need to downsize your staff, you may also need to cause members of staff to play more than one role. You need to look at your business and cut off all the extra luggage you have been carrying around.
- Look closely at your profit margins: If you pay close attention, you would observe that some things have become more expensive post COVID-19. These price increases could affect your raw material cost, transportation costs, storage costs and more. The incidences of items getting lost in the mail have increased and as a result, so would the cost of insurance and these can all affect your price margins. The increase in margins affected our business Foodworths as the price of food skyrocketed. We couldn’t have the sales we used to do regularly, we actually had to increase prices. My advice to you is this: I know you do a 20% off sale every September, but the question is, can you really afford to right now? Never take your eyes off the bottom line.
- Lawyer up: If your business didn’t have a lawyer before, this is the time to get a good legal infrastructure. You would need to ensure that your insurance contracts are reviewed to cover pandemics, strikes, riots and natural disasters. You would also need legal advice on how to disengage employees, negotiate lower wages and pay offs. Good legal support will help you follow up on contractors who don’t pay you and try to rely on force majeure clauses in your contracts. This is the time to actually review all those force majeure clauses in your contracts. Good legal advice is something every business owner needs.
I could go on and on about how to help your business thrive post covid if we had more time, alas we don’t and its time I say goodbye. Be that as it may, I think you should be very proud of yourself if your business survived the pandemic because a lot of businesses didn’t. The journey from here to success may not be an easy one but it would be worthwhile. Even if you lost your business during the pandemic, study the market, you would see that a lot of new businesses sprouted from the remains of those that died. Zoom has brought the world closer and people can now do business across borders better than they did before.
In the words of that great philosopher ‘if at first you don’t succeed? Try, try and try again’ With persistence and perseverance, a sprinkle of hardwork and a dash of good luck, you would overcome and achieve your dreams. Form a good reading habit and read books that develop you as an entrepreneur, learn about sales, profit margins, business in general and work hard towards a better tomorrow.