The coronavirus pandemic has brought drastic changes to the business sector. As economies suffer major blows – mainly due to lockdowns implemented by governments – thousands of businesses, even some of the biggest firms in the world, were left with no choice but to close their doors.
In the Philippines, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) comprise the biggest percentage of around 90000 businesses that were shut down amid the health crisis, according to the data released by the Department of Trade and Industry in September 2020. This shows that not even traditional business resilience can withstand the threats and disruption of a pandemic of this proportion.
As we transition to a new normal, companies now face a huge challenge to adapt to the existing business climate in order to bounce back and thrive in the post-pandemic period. In this article, we list down five key ways on how to build a plan that will protect a business from the economic impact of the pandemic.
1. Set Up a Budget that Includes Emergency Funds
A budget serves as the overview of the finances of the business. Typically, it covers the basics such as utilities, advertising and promotion, staff costs, legal costs, and so on. However, the recent pandemic has taught business owners that emergency funds must be included in a comprehensive budget plan. Most business firms that were caught off guard by the economic consequences of the health crisis were the ones that did not have savings, which can cover the operating expenses for at least three to six months. This is why business firms, regardless of the size, must have reserve funds in order to stay afloat or continue operations during difficult times.
2. Invest In Technology and Tech-Savvy Workforce
Aside from the importance of having emergency funds, the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the value of investing in technological tools and hiring a pool of tech-savvy employees. Tech upgrades are essential for businesses as employees feel more empowered if their remote working needs are met. Through these tools, employees will be able to streamline processes, maintain continuity, and gain more flexibility at work. Of course, this would only be possible if you hire tech-savvy workers to do the job. These people can help you ensure productive engagement and collaboration and drive the business towards innovation and success as they are more eager to search, learn, and apply more effective business solutions.
3. Expand Target Clients by Updating Marketing Plans
With community quarantine and social distancing still in effect, most consumers are staying at home and doing their shopping online. During the first six months of the pandemic, online shopping in the Philippines rose to 57% – the highest surge in Southeast Asia – based on a report from the e-commerce group, iPrice. With this current trend, business firms have to deal with the changing landscape and adapt to the buying behavior of consumers. To weather this storm, updating and re-adjusting the business’ marketing plans is a must. As consumers shift to digital and social channels, business owners should increase their online presence to be able to reach a massive audience. This can be done by creating a high-quality website, posting consistently on social media pages, or conducting webinar and virtual events.
4. Shift To Remote Work
One of the biggest changes in the business landscape brought by the COVID-19 pandemic is the shift ro remote working. As health risks and the fear of contracting the virus remain on a high level, a lot of businesses were forced to leave the physical office. Some say working remotely could be the new normal as more employers realize the benefits of less commuting, flexible work schedule, and greater productivity for employees.
5. Manage Risks By Protecting Your Employees
The success of the day-to-day operations of a business depends largely on its staff or employees. However, these people can be exposed to various risks, which, if not properly managed, can result in big damage or loss to the business. To avoid this, business owners need to protect employees by offering them insurance or health cards, so they can get the preventive care and the needed treatment when they are sick or injured and be financially ready in times of hospitalization or death. This strategy can also shape a positive culture in the company as such benefits can boost the morale of employees and increase their productivity.
Wrapping It Up
Even if things go back to normal, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt in the long run. The key for businesses to survive is to continue adapting to a rapidly changing environment. And with a new level of uncertainty during this difficult time, your business’ ability to adapt could be your competitive advantage.
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