What Businesses Can Learn From Virus Crisis
March 16, 2020

Coronavirus impact has exposed the soft contingency foundations businesses have on

The pandemic spread of Covid-19 has brought almost two-thirds of the world to a standstill. Governments, global organizations and the businesses are all jostling for solutions on how to manage this pandemic outbreak. Its spread has put everyone in exigency mode.

Government and international bodies such as WHO are devising strategies to minimize its impact. Likewise, businesses are in crisis management too, but they seem ill-prepared to deal with this emergency. Most seem to be awestruck with no contingency plan. They are reading between media headlines to plan their responses. While containment is a priority; its overall impact assessment is also needed. An outbreak of this colossal level has highlighted many risks that have opened up.

However, this crisis has also unleashed new opportunities. Business leaders must act diligently to transcend these situations. They have to move into a transformative mode with definitive actions for business continuity.

Being the CEO of a company, I am in deep waters managing this crisis, and I see how other businesses are responding to the same. We continue to see most in panic mode with knee-jerk reactions, resorting posturings rather than proactive risk mitigation.

THINKING BEYOND CONVENTIONAL WAYS

People tend to have a reactive approach whenever faced with an unforeseen crisis, and this pandemic has again exposed this anomaly. It is the panic that rules the minds than rationale. They are waiting for governments to step in to assume their responsibility to protect them. Governments indeed have extensive infrastructure to safeguard with adequate disaster management resources. However, the contrary is the case in business preparedness. In general, most businesses are not prepared for risks arising out of unforeseen natural disasters.

Specifically, most threats are either not insured due to insurance complexities or not factored in routine business planning. It is visible during this crisis. Most of their contingency plans are built on limited eventualities, confined to conventional disaster management. In the case of Covid-19, we are appalled to see reactive responses and muted actions.

It is time for proactive thinking on how to safeguard the overall business sustainability itself, considering the risks and the opportunities mentioned earlier.

BUSINESS NEEDS CONTINUITY

I continue to see managements gripped in cost-cutting exercises and uncalled deliberations than seeking resolutions. In such solutions, the cost-cutting syndrome is counterproductive. Staff are already in fear and this is indeed dampening the spirits.

IT’S TIME FOR PROACTIVE THINKING ON HOW TO SAFEGUARD THE OVERALL BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY ITSELF.

These actions mostly put the business in a logjam and make a recovery more difficult. Whilst cost rationalizing in times of austerity helps, it is also essential to map the opportunities evolving during this crisis. Besides disaster management and safeguarding against risks, it is equally critical for business leaders to build new revenue streams as a result of market disruption.

People must not resort to being in the opportunistic mode by inflating prices and hoarding items needed for mass consumption. Businesses need to reinvent themselves based on transformative ideas such as online platforms for education, alternative transactional platforms for public convenience, or innovations in the hygiene.

For instance, digital learning got shot in the arm with the closure of schools in countries affected by Covid-19. There are umpteen avenues to look at arising from its aftermath. Businesses can now look to building innovative online work interfaces to promote work from home that shall limit business travel and cut high costs.

On growth, there are specific opportunities that have caught the eye during this crisis, and each business should look to transform their model to capture these opportunities further.

Source: Gulf News



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