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4 Ways to prepare one’s business for the new normal

4 Ways to prepare one’s business for the new normal

How many times have people heard “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal” in the past few weeks? Let’s be honest, there is no going back to the way things were before. 

BY MOHAMED MAJAPA 

While no one could have anticipated a black swan, an event that has had catastrophic repercussions the world over, it is now time to prepare for the new normal. 

Here are tips to how one can get ready to do business in a new way: 

Communicate 

Just pause for a minute…The coronavirus outbreak has taken everyone by surprise. 

As a business owner, one might be feeling overwhelmed by the sudden closure of business and the fact that the rent is due and salaries have to be paid. But remember that people do business with people. One might not know what to say to stakeholders, but as a business owner, one needs to communicate with them. The lives of staff, suppliers, creditors, and customers have changed. Everyone is feeling anxious. 

Not communicating with them can be perceived as insensitive and uncaring. This is the time to show people you care, listen to their concerns, and start a dialogue. 

Strategise 

Use the time wisely. Take a close look at the current business model – it might need panel-beating to make the business more relevant. The world is changing and one’s business must innovate and adapt as well. Business owners should ask themselves, “Is there a way one can pivot to provide other, essential products? Is there an opportunity to scale up or down?” 

If the business’ customers have migrated online, then that’s where your business should be too. One might also be able to offer free webinars. If a business can’t be operational, improve staff and management’s skillset with online courses and podcasts. 

Have a battle plan 

How fragile one’s business is during this crisis, has shown where the holes are in the business bucket. It’s time to draw up a plan to plug those holes by putting proper systems and procedures in place. Some crises cannot be anticipated, but others can. 

Therefore, do as much to model such scenarios and prepare in time. Businesses are competitive, but this would be a great opportunity to look at how collaborating with other businesses can help both of them survive. 

For example, Vodacom recently partnered with Discovery to provide a free, online, Covid-19 consultation facility for all South Africans. This will allow Discovery’s team of medical doctors to reach mobile phone users all over the country. Lockdown has also given business owners the chance to look at the effectiveness of their website and social media channels and how these can be improved. It is also a great way to stay in touch with one’s customers and encourage them to share one’s content. 

Virtual Workplace 

Most businesses think that if they are not in an office space, they are not able to work. Covid-19 has proved this theory wrong. This crisis has encouraged businesses to look at productivity and efficiency differently. 

Remote working is not a new trend. Those companies who have a remote workforce are more agile during the lockdown. They have proper policies in place and are certain that regardless of where their staff work from, their output will remain the same. One way to ease into this would be to allow staff to work from home for a week at a time. 

The coronavirus outbreak has revealed that businesses that do not allow for a virtual workplace will be sorely tested during any crisis that limits physical contact. 

There is no doubt that small businesses have been hit the hardest. But those who invest in the right tools, processes, teams and have the right attitude will be better prepared to do business in the new normal 

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