As the Covid-19 crisis continues to spread like a wildfire, many businesses are seeking a lifeline. Stimulus plans notwithstanding, the crisis is forcing bankruptcies and is on course to precipitate a recession the like of which the world has not witnessed since the great depression of 1920’s. But all is not lost. The crisis presents a litmus-test for resiliency and robustness.
Weathering the storm while creating positive social impact will pay dividends. Companies that can deftly adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and pivot their resources to cater to current demands, will flourish. After all, business adaptation and resilience are building blocks of a successful business strategy.
From Remote work to Retail Drive-Thru’s
The crisis is upending traditional business operations and disrupting supply chains. Corporations like Apple, Facebook and Twitter are demanding their employees to work remotely from home; what was previously the exception is likely to become the new norm as fear of contracting the virus confines people to their domiciles. Ironically, this may inadvertently lead to an increase in productivity and employee well-being as people are no longer required to drudge everyday commuting to the office.
Likewise, due to strict restrictions on movement, e-retail is thriving. Online retailers like Amazon, for example, have recorded enormous sales growth in March 2020 and are now boosting capacity to meet rising customer demand.
For traditional brick & mortar operations however, the crisis has been a chastening experience. As traffic dwindles and sales plummet, they are facing an existential crisis. Fear of contagion has particularly exposed the vulnerable Hospitality and Tourism industry to the inevitable market crunch.
Still, for many struggling businesses, all is not lost; the key to surviving the impending economic apocalypse is to swiftly adapt to changing circumstances and become robust. The enterprising ones have taken note and adjusted their strategies accordingly.
Creating Positive Social Impact: A Win-Win Proposition
The popular Scandinavian wholesale electronic department store Power for example, recently launched a new ‘drive-thru’ service for its customers in Norway. Consumers can now order products online and collect them from makeshift drive-thru windows at company stores. Similarly, many restaurants are delivering gourmet food to homes, or making use of the Foodora and Wolt and similar services.
Most recently, the global electronics manufacturer Dyson is converting its factories to make ICU ventilators. The willingness and drive to create value for customer remains the hallmark for successful entrepreneurs, especially in times of crisis.
Typically, the act of business adaptation and resilience makes a business more robust. But because the fleeting nature of this crisis is hard to predict, one must act fast. For what was true and relevant yesterday, may not be tomorrow.