The COVID-19 pandemic has distressed major economic and financial markets, with indiscriminate challenges to all industries and governments associated with economic effects of measures marked to combat the pandemic. Many work places worldwide have been desolate for months due to lockdown and social distancing measures which have been emphasized by governments in a bid to fight Covid 19. Many questions have come to mind as majority of organizations continue working remotely, CEO’s having restless nights striving to keep employees and businesses intact and majority of us breaking skulls to solve a whole new lot of work/life balance challenges. Telling from the acuteness of the disaster so far witnessed, Covid 19 has presented us with a deliberate urgency to change mindsets.
What is the most pressing concern right now?
As we progress through the phases of Covid 19 pandemic, we have adjusted our operations greatly by undergoing both forced and self-motivated changes in order to survive during the current times. These changes have been negative to most businesses although for some positive. The work environment has been reset in terms of workforce and work itself; employee/employer relationships, and the entire business echo-system has been reset.
As the pandemic may have wiped business strategy slates clean and each organisation taking its new path, it is even more important that businesses re-evaluate business models and consider adopting new and more relationship-based business models. This will entail ensuring that businesses are still providing value to customers, healthy working relationships are preserved, legal compliance is maintained and that overall sustainability is achieved.
All teams should be focused on investing the lessons learned back into the enterprise to reset strategy and build resilience as businesses respond to the pandemic throughout the recovery stage and finally to have a renewed strategy to a whole new normal operating environment. As this is done, the following elements should be taken into thought to guide strategies as businesses cope up with new challenges;
Diversification of the financial reporting environment
Many companies are facing financial reporting challenges during coronavirus pandemic times due to limitless Financial Reporting considerations related to Covid-19 and the Economic decline induced by the pandemic. Those include preparation of forward-looking cash-flow estimates, recoverability and impairment of assets, accounting for financial assets, going concern analyses among others. These have caused financial reporting delays as accountants seek more time to deal with all the problems, especially as many of them are forced to work remotely and are away from their colleagues. This presents companies with a need to empower their teams and to engage their financial consultants considerably in order to keep up with changes in financial reporting requirements as much as possible.
Keeping up with legislation
The business landscape is changing at a rapid pace, governments are releasing new regulations that affect business owners almost on a daily basis. These include laws on emergency prevention and control, tax laws, Acts that govern tenancy relationships, employment laws among others. It is therefore paramount that business owners monitor news from local and international sources on a daily basis so as to understand and follow up with new legislations and changes. Most importantly, information should be obtained from official and trusted sources such as national broadcasting media, official government websites, bank representatives, financial and tax consultants and professional bodies within the business network.
Further as we advance through the Covid-19 episodes, disruption has been caused and the existence of many SME’s has been exposed to danger. Many business owners are unsettled in fear of the accelerating obstacles that cause doubt to continuity of the businesses they have put their blood, sweat and tears into. On top of that, many of them have employees that they’re trying to protect and reassure a future for their employment when they themselves are struggling with burnout.
In these times, business owners should re-focus capacity and propagate optimal liquidity maintenance plans whilst encouraging employees to manage financial and behavioral discipline as a key player for survival during covid-19 pandemic.
Managing customer expectations
Your customers are equally distressed as everyone else during this pandemic. This calls for a more empathetic engagement in order to manage customer experience during such times. In order to exhibit true empathy, it is important to time your engagement well by preferably reaching out to customer’s way before they come to you stressed and worried. You need to take ample time to understand the changes your customers are going through and the implicit effects these have to their mindsets and take clear steps to meet their needs before they are even presented to you.
It is also important to re-evaluate your current products. It’s possible that you headed into the COVID-19 crisis thinking your customer experience game is already strong. That was a promising sign but now, it is even more important to re-invent your business and ensure you maintain your relevance to customers.
In a crisis like this that requires quick thinking in the face of uncertainty, it is important that we set more organized and coordinated effort to stabilize operations; create a plan to restore a scalable state and identify new capabilities we need to strengthen in order to reclaim leadership in the new normal.
By: Malumba Paul