The new normal of business is being written as we speak. What the new normal will look like across multiple industries as business re-opens following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 has forced business owners to face something I have been trying to tell you people for some time now: In reality, success has very little to do with the idea and more about the team, execution, persistence, timing, and how good one is at adapting the business along the way. Adaptability really being key in this case. Businesses all over have had to make significant changes to keep their businesses alive and well. Many of these changes will become the “new normal” in their enterprises such as having a strong digital presence, working from home and taking precautions just in case a pandemic like this ever happens again. The long term effects of how people do business following Covid-19 actually have potential to benefit companies in the long run and will expand their business practices after this pandemic ends.
One thing the Coronavirus has exposed for a lot of business owners is the importance of having a strong internet presence. Over time, Business Internet entities have become increasingly popular because they let you scale more quickly by creating, chasing, and closing longer and lower ROI opportunities. And for those who are not strictly internet-based companies, it allows for them to extend their reach and have better communication with a wide range of customers. However, we see now more than ever just how beneficial technology has been. It’s become a saving grace amidst this time of social distancing and has allowed opportunities for everything from schools, stores and even restaurants to proceed with their operations without customers having to physically be there. These technological advances aren’t just academic exercises. They have a direct impact on business, and an entrepreneur needs to understand how to harness those benefits. For instance, even with businesses temporarily closed, a founder has no excuse not to be in continuous communication with their customers. The best customers don’t just use your product or service. They are fans, which means they will remain loyal and follow your business as it grows even during trying times. Social media and email lists provide you with the opportunity to stay relevant on the minds of your customers even if you are unable to provide your services right now. On the flip side, with social media so prevalent in our society, it’s easy to hear what your customers are saying. If you want to know what it is that your business could be doing to adjust and better serve your customers, just ask; then make sure you follow through. While there are businesses that have been slow to hop on the digital train, Covid-19 has forced many of them to find a technological presence. If they’re smart, most of them will continue on with building their internet presence even when this pandemic ends.
The internet hasn’t just been good for keeping contact for customers, but also implementing social distancing practice for work as well. Even prior to the Covid pandemic, many entrepreneurs swore by the virtual office, which is where you hire people who work for you remotely via the Internet. So you might have an executive assistant in Michigan, a sales rep in Chicago, and you are based in New York. While this method has it’s share of shortcomings, if implemented in the right manner by the right type of business, it can be quite successful. Social distancing orders have allowed us to see just how effective this option can be, so much so, that the work from home policies that many companies have adopted at this time will increasingly become normalized moving forward. For instance, Twitter CEO recently announced that their employees will have the option to work from home indefinitely. Nationwide is another company that has also taken a liking to the virtual office model with plans of exiting their remaining offices by November of this year. While it’s great to have the means to work from home when necessary, it does come with some challenges and it’s not a good fit for every company. It particularly works well for some online companies, but most businesses need their employees present or at least nearby. You need to have oversight, and that’s very difficult to do when someone is thousands of miles away. So even if you do decide to shift into the work from home model, I suggest that you hire locally at least in the beginning.
Proceed with Precaution
Covid-19 has caused a lot of stress and strain on businesses in such a short amount of time. The problem is that most businesses didn’t see this coming, thus they were not well prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. Moving forward, many businesses owners have plans of taking precautions just in case something like this happens again. Barclays is among many other businesses that have plans of implementing changes as a health precaution, exclaiming that the idea of putting thousands of people in an office is a thing of the past. While they do plan on reopening offices and won’t switch to a fully virtual office method, they have no intentions of packing their offices with people by any means. They along with may others will opt to operate smaller office settings instead of large corporate offices. Another example is that a lot of businesses have switched over to cashless and even touchless payment methods now more so than ever. While eventually businesses will go back to accepting cash payments, touchless payment methods will stick around for the long run moving forward. Educational means will change forever as well. Yes, eventually schools will open back up and allow students back in, but many will move forward with permanently integrating online learning with a dual learning experience. Covid has also seemed to force schools hands in solving a problem that had been ignored for quite sometime which is overcrowded classrooms. Most schools are implementing smaller class sizes to allow room for social distancing per the guidelines for their reopening.
Going forward from here, things will never return back to exactly how they were before. For the most part, the changes that will come out of this have some good to them. Businesses have had to learn to adapt to massive changes in such a short amount of time out of pure survival mode, but many have found that these new implementations have actually opened doors of revenue for them. In the future, businesses will work to strike a good balance between returning to their old operations and integrating their new ways of business. Covid-19 has taught businesses that the only constant in business is change and that businesses will be quick to fail if the founder lacks persistence, the skill to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, or the ability to see around corners and think ahead. Therefore, if you are to take anything from this situation, it should be that adaptability needs to be your new normal.