Written by Lesley
Lockdown is giving many business owners pause for thought.
At the time of writing we are well into the second month with no clear indication as to how long and to what extent the social-distancing measures will stay in place.
Whilst the initial panic has eased, the fear and uncertainty are still present. Thousands of businesses across the world have been forced to grapple with how they can make money. For some businesses, short-term survival is the only priority. Others are thinking about how to position themselves once the initial crisis has passed and things return to normal.
The big question is, ‘What will normal look like?’ There is growing recognition that things won’t be the same for a long time, if ever at all for some businesses.
A new normal for business
The effects of the pandemic are sparking a rethink of how the world does business. Regardless of whether they run a multinational corporation or a one-man band, business owners are making a mental shift around how they want to work in the future. Being in lockdown may make business owners:
- rethink their business priorities, how they want to work and what they want to achieve. Will the shift to home working and time with family question their work / life balance?
- question whether they still want to be in this business. Perhaps this is the time to take the plunge and follow their dreams.
- change the way they operate. The coronavirus is forcing both the pace and scale of workplace innovation. In sectors such as medicine and pharmaceuticals where regulations meant it took years to bring in changes, we’ve seen drug trials and approvals achieved within weeks. The forced move to telemedicine has led GP surgeries to consider this as a more efficient way of triaging their patients once the pandemic is over. Across all sectors businesses are finding better, simpler, less expensive and faster ways to operate.
- change their working practices and organisational structure. The collaboration tools for remote working have been thoroughly tried and tested. These practices could stick, making for better management and more cost-effective and flexible workforces. But will we revert to face-to-face working with the need for more personal interaction?
- rethink staff management and internal communication. How will they galvanise team spirit?
- target their offering at new customers. They might have to focus solely on local markets as both supply chains and customer proximity drives their new strategy. Juxtaposed with this is the local business that has moved online and discovered a global audience.
- come up with new products/services. From the more immediate examples of factories turning their production to the manufacture of PPE, there will also be many businesses who will innovate and adapt permanently to new market opportunities once the pandemic has passed.
- consider new opportunities they’ve never thought of. In this quirky example a California-based animal sanctuary which lost all its funding from visitors, has started Goat2Meeting: a service where companies can pay to have a goat, llama or other farm animal make an appearance in their Zoom call to liven the monotony. They are charging between $65 and $250 for various virtual interactions with the animals. Who would have dreamt up that six months ago?
A new mantra
With all this rethinking there will be new messages and marketing to do.
Businesses will need to rethink and revamp their marketing for clients and the wider world – website, brochures, social media, PR … all will need to reflect the new ideas, products and markets.
Internal communication to staff needs to motivate, inform and educate.
That’s a lot of copy to create.