A large part of doing business is dependent on planning; budgets, sales, and profit projections are just a few examples of such plans. They help a business keep their matters in order, and sure, no one can precisely predict the future, but reasonable approximations can be reliable and helpful nonetheless.
Unfortunately, there was no trend or statistical graph that could have anticipated the Coronavirus. As a result, most businesses have found themselves taking a substantial hit in both operations and earnings. The has made COVID-19 a major disruptor with a steep and unforgiving learning curve.
What are the lessons that you can take from the COVID-19 period as a business owner? Let us explore a few of them.
A defined structure of operations is important in ensuring that your business runs in an orderly way. However, in the face of challenges such as those presented by a pandemic, rigidity can be tantamount to self-sabotage. Now, as the pandemic is waning, you may be more awakened to the idea that flexibility is not such a terrible concept. Further, you could also take note of the following things.
The Importance of Flexible Manufacturing
Producing in larger quantities is more financially sound than manufacturing in smaller capacities. With that said, when demand is low and even the availability of raw materials becomes a challenge, scaling down becomes necessary.
A flexible manufacturing system allows you to adjust your production so as to cope with market changes. If you are in the manufacturing sector this may be something to consider implementing in the near future as it could protect you from losses.
The Benefits of Flexible Operations
When “stay home” and “shelter in place” became the new way of life, having staff at the office was no longer an option. So, you likely had to move the core of your operations online, which may have served as an eye-opener that:
· Employees can still be productive even when they telecommute
· Having online work systems is crucial
· There is a need to capitalize on online sales and marketing
Going forward, working remotely may be worth integrating into your operations. For example, you could consider using it during transitional periods like when employees are re-entering the workplace after bereavement or maternity leave.
In addition, if your business has not had an active social media presence or a proper website, it is certainly time to correct that as you will be greatly limiting your firm by ignoring the online market any longer. It may be a while before people are fully comfortable or able to interact with businesses in person; therefore, the need for online platforms will remain imperative for your enterprise for the foreseeable future.
Consider, for instance, that you fix wristwatches for clients. In this business, you would need to know suppliers of replacement parts and stay informed on what they have to offer. That way, when a client comes to you, you would already know of options like a Sofly watch part for sale that would be suitable for the repair. If you have no trading relationship with important suppliers in your industry, you would not know where to begin when a customer needs your assistance.
Mechanics, manufacturers, farmers, and almost all businesses find themselves dependent on other businesses too. Suppliers and B2B relationships are fundamental to the prosperity of almost all businesses, including your business. If your supply chain has remained intact through COVID-19, they have likely played a key role in facilitating that. Be keen to strengthen such partnerships.
On the contrary, you may have found yourself struggling with a supplier whose supply chain has not been resilient, and as difficult as times have been, it is imperative that you are still able to deliver to clients. Consider finding reliable back-up alternatives that you can reach out to when such lapses occur.
Resilient Supply Chain
Even with the most reliable suppliers, your supply chain may still have come under siege recently. With airplanes remaining grounded and movements across borders being limited, most businesses have found themselves stranded. Raw materials, especially, have been a challenge for most industries to acquire as well as getting products to consumers.
It is certainly a lesson that your supply system needs to have contingencies to main consistency.
Establishing a reliable supply chain could include ideas such as:
· Maintaining extra stock where possible
· Having alternative arrangements for delivery such as shipping or cargo trains
· Establishing an in-house business-to-client delivery system that you control as opposed to outsourcing
This pandemic has been a duration of tremendous loss and trauma, and your employees, like the rest of the world, are doing the best they can to get by amidst a crisis. The same can be said for your clients and business partners.
Formal communication can sometimes be detached and unfeeling, and it is purposely kept in that framework to maintain objectivity and respect. However, there can and should be room for compassion even in formality.
During and even after the pandemic, it would be prudent to take on a policy of compassionate communication. Often, the manner in which people perceive the tone of communication from your business affects the way in which they relate to it. When torn between insensitive and compassionate, the latter will always yield a better return.
We are all learning and adapting to navigate the present and hoping that the future may see things improve. Even governments across the world have been playing catch up to the ramifications of the Coronavirus, but no one has a full-proof plan on how to manage the current events.
So, if your business is still trying to find solid footing in the middle of this, do not be too hard on yourself. Take from it the lessons that arise and keep giving it your best shot.