The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on public health and the economy. While some people focus on the millions of infections and deaths around the world, others point to the equally disastrous economic effects that are pushing millions of people into poverty and economic hardship. Even back in June, economic experts at the World Bank were predicting that the lockdown measures brought about by the pandemic were threatening to plunge the global economy into the worst recession since World War II. While there can be no doubting the fact that the coronavirus has caused severe economic hardship on businesses and individuals, the global pandemic has also opened up opportunities for certain businesses to grow in new directions.
By now, you’ve probably read statistics of how Amazon has posted its largest ever profit margins during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the massive online marketplace has certainly benefited from lockdown orders, quarantine measures, and a boost in e-commerce benefitting the third-party merchants that use its platforms, other businesses have also been able to create successful pivot strategies to help spur growth even during this difficult economic time.
Below, we take a look at how companies can develop a successful pandemic business strategy that takes advantage of the that exist in this unique period of history.
The Negative Effects of the COVID-19
First the bad news. The global recession brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has certainly caused its share of economic turmoil and chaos. Just last month, an article published in Business Insider found that 60 percent of businesses that were forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus would most likely not be reopening their doors for business. The same report states that as of August 31st, over 163,000 businesses had shut down. On a global scale, the World Bank reports that the global economy is set to shrink around 5.2 percent in 2020. To say that this puts a strain on businesses would be a major understatement.
Despite these obvious economic challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed some businesses to create successful business strategies with the intention of capitalizing on new trends in the global economy and consumer purchasing habits.
How to Develop a Pandemic Business Strategy
One of the most important characteristics of successful businesses in today's economy is the ability to be flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances. In this sense, whereas some companies might lament the hardships brought about by economic lockdown measures, others were successfully able to design and implement pandemic business opportunities.
The Harvard Business Review article Adapt Your Business To The New Reality, published in the September-October 2020 issue, states the following:
“Even in severe economic downturns and recessions, some companies are able to gain advantage. Among large firms doing business during the past four downturns, 14% increased both sales growth rate and EBIT margin… [C]rises produce not just a plethora of temporary changes (mainly short-term shifts in demand) but also some lasting ones.”
So how can companies looking to create successful pandemic business opportunities learn to manifest those lasting changes in demand and market conditions?
- Develop a systematic understanding of the shifting consumer habits before they become obvious to the rest of the competition. During the COVID pandemic, one of the most obvious shifts in consumer purchasing patterns was the massive growth in demand for online products and online delivery. U.S. online sales have risen by 43% in September of 2020 alone. Companies who foresaw this trend in the early stages of the pandemic were obviously better situated to take advantage of this growing ecommerce trend.
- Learn to identify both short-term and long-term trends that emerge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, direct-to-consumer (D2C) theatrical releases in the film industry became prominent during the pandemic, and many experts agree that this might continue to be a long-lasting structural trend that changes how businesses in the film and entertainment sector operate.
- Focus on how changes in the workplace environment can affect you - your supply lines, manufacturing processes, distribution, and other aspects related to your business operation, to include in your pandemic pivot strategy. For example, during the initial shift to remote working at the beginning of the pandemic, one study found that 25 percent of executives and small-business owners purchased new digital tools to create a functional structure for managing a remote workforce. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic will one day end, many of these business owners and managers expect that digital tool usage will remain a permanent part of their operations.
Steady Your Pivot With Work-Fit
Learning how to successfully manage a remote team of employees is the centerpiece to most pandemic pivot strategies for businesses affected by COVID-19. Work-Fit is an industry leader specializing in on-site injury prevention and wellness management for your workforce. We also offer consulting and remote services that reflect the full expertise and value of our onsite programs.
Along with injury prevention, Work-Fit also offers remote ergonomics, injury triage/early intervention and wellness programs to help boost productivity levels and the general wellbeing of your remote employees. Contact Work-Fit today to learn about how we can help you better navigate the potentially permanent shift toward a remote workforce.