The infectious respiratory Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has become the worst nightmare for everyone. Originating from China, the gruesome Coronavirus is now traveling the world, creating new epicenters and damaging livelihoods as it goes. At the time of writing this article, the number of Covid-19 cases in India has touched 2,301 with over 56 deaths being reported so far.
Last week, starting from March 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week nationwide lockdown, urging citizens to stay indoors and strictly follow social distancing. By imposing strong restrictions on the movement of goods, businesses in India are facing severe shortages of supplies, forcing some of them to even shut their operations. China, on the other hand, is now showing some early signs of economic recovery, as work resumption picked up towards the end of March. This gives Indian businesses some hope, amidst supply chain disruptions, plummeted demand and limited workforce.
As the Father of Evolution Charles Darwin rightly said, those who survive “are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.” This is quite applicable to businesses as well. As the fight against Coronavirus continues, Indian businesses should begin hunting for opportunities in times of adversity. To help you get started, we’ve brought to you 5 strategies to cope up with the slump which every business owner should think upon:
1. Evaluate and improve your past business strategies
Treat this lockdown period as a window of opportunity, where you get to rethink and progressively improve all your past efforts. To effectively execute this, you need to plan now. For example, if you were so far procuring goods from a few local vendors, it’s time to reconnect with them, understand their current situation, and find out a way to work together in order to mitigate the disruptions in supply. In a worst-case scenario, prepare a backup plan to fulfill procurements by reaching out to bigger distributors/ wholesalers/ manufacturers.
2. Reassess your business reports
While you might be aware of your current financial situation, checking your business reports thoroughly will give you a good idea about your customer outstanding, inventory status, profitable items, and most trusted parties. You can also use mobile billing & accounting apps like FloBooks to quickly assess your past performance, check receivables and take informed, data-backed actions accordingly.
3. Embrace new sales/marketing channels
In times when social distancing is the new norm, the offline retail industry will be transformed completely. Brick and mortar shops will have to go online to market or sell their goods and services. Small businesses should improve their digital presence and leverage social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc. for promotions and sales.
4. Adapt to new consumption habits
It’s highly likely that new habits will be developed post coronavirus crisis, of which some are already getting visible. Consumers will mostly rely upon online purchasing, home delivery and takeaways. Digital payments over cash transactions will gain ground. Businesses should look ahead and prepare themselves in order to adapt to changing consumer behavior.
5. Extend your credit lines
Indian government is actively taking measures to counter the economic slowdown and has announced a moratorium of 3 months on term loans outstanding. Financial institutions like SIDBI (Small Industrial Development Bank of India) are also extending loans to micro and small businesses that are manufacturing medical supplies to fight Covid-19. It’s imperative to monitor your cash flow and identify options for new credit lines to prepare for surplus cash ahead of difficult times.
In a fast-changing world, successful businesses are the ones who are watchful of the trends and they quickly change their strategies to mitigate the crisis. As change is inevitable so we need to change early, change fast!
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