Entrepreneurship

5 COVID-19 challenges businesses are facing and how to overcome them

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Every business whether it is small or big has been affected by the pandemic. The past few months have been an extremely challenging time for communities across the world as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Amid all the chaos and anxiety nevertheless, the world is trying to return to the new normal. During this unique reality, businesses are witnessing the start of a dramatic reform of economic and social nature. Everyone is looking forward to the next normal that will materialize after the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has been won, with hopes that it will be better and more profitable.

COVID-19 is changing the way we do business

Reopening businesses

Every industry and retail has been impacted by the pandemic crisis. Production and manufacturing both have been on a downward slope ever since the pandemic hit. Businesses have been shut down and the supply chain is weary. Reopening and re-thinking the business has become a top priority task. 

Businesses need to adopt new strategies in order to not just reopen but to restart and reset. They ought to be adaptable to the changing situations and offer contactless pickup and drops for their products and services along with other features. Moving forward they should also shape their future workforce by upskilling employees with digital fluency. Cross-train employees so that they can fill in when others are away. They should strive towards automating every task possible such as labour scheduling, self-checkout methods, and also provide remote management tools for in house and field managers.

Shift in customer habits

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer behaviour has also drastically changed. In the coming weeks and months, customer habits are bound to change and evolve even further. Customers have been focusing more on the three phases for buying any commodity which are escalation, accumulation, and recovery. Also, customers will now favour making purchases online, thus focusing more on eCommerce.

To overcome such change in customer demands, businesses can ensure to enable flexible product flow by aligning product inventories with the consumer demand. They can also make the distribution centers more flexible. Boosting the online presence of the business is a crucial step and so is maintaining close communication with the customers and making them aware of the availability of the products.

Business operations

The impact on the business operations is one of the chief concerns in any business during and after this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected sales values, the ability to serve customers and clients and to manage the business as a whole. Companies have also been facing difficulties in managing different situations with employees which include being quarantined and providing the tools to the employees for working when quarantined. 

To overcome such tasks businesses should establish cross functional teams for coordinating the activities between various business units that can provide necessary information over to the management team and increase communication with employees, partners, and customers. Decision making processes and roles should also be analysed deeply and critically. Companies should also ensure the safety of employees for maintaining good hygiene at the workplace and ensure that there is no crowding in the office and optimize work which can be done at home and reduce in office attendance. It is important as well to create plans for managing the arrival for the support staff.

Manufacturing

Manufacturers are facing difficult challenges to continue and restart their operations during and after the pandemic. Workforce issues have been arising everywhere around the world under the pandemic situation. Such manufacturers require fit-for-purpose plans. 

They can start with analyzing the current need for workforce and design a workforce approach. Fix up time slots between teams to come in at different times depending on the number of workers and skills required at the instance. Try to automate certain aspects of the industry to avoid too many people at the site. They should also definitely organize daily cleaning and disinfection of the workplace and tools used and invest more in medical equipment.

Business finances

Companies have been affected due to the economic uncertainty which is a result of the ongoing pandemic. As businesses slow down, companies are seeing reduced revenue because of lower cash flow. This situation is worsened by insufficient digital maturity, staff shortages and enormous pressure on the existing infrastructure as companies deal with the impact of the pandemic.

Companies need to adopt the right digital technologies that enable ease of business between their customers and themselves. To improve their payment collections they need to adopt billing software that can automate their payment collections and tracking. Through re-engineering and automation, businesses need to ensure that they are not only surviving but adapting to the new business normal.

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Adapting and evolving to the new business as usual

In these difficult times, it is important to stand united and help one another in whatever way we can. Data, readiness, and empathy are the three imperative qualities essential to keep people healthy and businesses running. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has added to business challenges around the globe, irrespective of size, location, or funding, the most important thing to remember now is to focus on tomorrow.