The coronavirus has swept through the US, disrupting industries and economies along the way. That’s not to mention the unbelievable strain it has put on the healthcare sector. As the lockdown first came into effect, and businesses began to shut down, nobody was sure what to make of it. After an extended few months starved of profits, many businesses were forced to lay off employees. What followed was perhaps the worst rise in unemployment rates that the United States has ever seen. An economy that had grown significantly over the past decade now faces a severe recession.
Business Opportunities That the Reopening Economy Brings
There is no denying the horrific global fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the United States, where the death toll has been the highest. In many ways, the US economy has also been among the worst to suffer. But there is also no denying that disruptions, even ones on a global scale, lead to new opportunities. The world has changed, and while the race to find a viable vaccine for the virus is still on, it would be prudent to accept this as the new normal. That means you will find many opportunities amid all the chaos to make changes to your business and gain traction. From leaner talent acquisition strategies to revamping your business model, there are many variables that you can look into.
Here are a few opportunities that business owners and managers should consider:
- Rethink Your Cost-Cutting Approach
- Adapt to Drastically Changing Consumer Behavior
- Bring Your Business Model Into the Post-COVID World
- Aggressively Hire The Best Talent Around
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
Rethink Your Cost-Cutting Approach
The logical course of action for businesses during a downturn is to cut costs in order to pad out its bottom line. When business survival is at stake, it is a natural response to cut expenses down to a minimum and aggressively hoard funds for even tougher times ahead. However, there is really no evidence to support aggressive cost reductions now will help you stay ahead of the competition in the future. In fact, research conducted by Harvard Business School found that the firms that cut the most costs had the lowest probability to catch up to their competition when conditions improve.
What this means is that instead of simply cutting costs across the board, you need to rethink the nature of what costs are essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that an “under siege” mentality usually leads business managers to view every decision from the cost-cutting aspect. In contrast, companies like Apple have successfully navigated recessions by increasing spending in certain areas while reducing costs in others. In Apple’s case, it took the opportunity to invest more significantly in its R&D function. The resulting products, like iTunes, propelled Apple to major success. A similar rethink of prioritizing where you spend is needed instead of an across-the-board cut.
Adapt to Drastically Changing Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior was already undergoing a transformation thanks to the ever-growing E-commerce industry. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed this transformation, bringing about a sudden and massive shift in consumer behavior. The age-old maxim “the customer is always right” means your business needs to adapt to this new behavior and find ways to deliver exactly what your customers need. One of the paramount concerns consumers have these days relates to the health and safety risks of shopping during the COVID-19 era. See what your business can do to address these concerns and place itself as a suitable option for consumers to get what they need. This can be an opportunity for your business to completely change its approach to customer experience.
Bring Your Business Model into the Post-COVID World
Whether we like it or not, the year 2020 marks a turning point in economic history. As with any major disruptive event (even ones that only happen once in a century), there comes a moment where businesses have to decide between evolving or continuing to do things the same old way. More often than not, rigid and inflexible businesses find it challenging to deal with quickly shifting landscapes. Business owners and managers would do well to realize that this may very well be the new normal. And if that is the case, your business model may not be equipped to dealing with life during a global pandemic.
COVID-19 presents the perfect (if destructive) opportunity for you to update your business model in the context of what many now believe to be our new way of life. From offering doorstep deliveries to creating more intuitive buying experiences to shifting to remote teams, there is no shortage of changes you can make to your business model. Of course, the specifics will depend on the nature and size of your business. But suffice it to say, the old ways won’t work anymore.
Aggressively Hire the Best Talent Around
It’s a brave new world, and it will require businesses to become much more aggressive in their talent acquisition and retention. In the absence of conventional hiring processes, it may be a good idea for businesses to strategically partner with staffing agencies within their industry or niche. For example, professional mortgage recruiters will be much more likely to source and deliver quality talent than an in-house function. At a time when you need your business to survive at all costs, having the best talent on your team will prove to be a huge help. The COVID-19 pandemic has already lead to mass unemployment, flooding what was, until recently, a job market that favored candidates. With many bright and talented individuals looking for employment, now is the perfect opportunity to aggressively staff your company with the best talent around.