COVID-19 has disrupted the way businesses conduct their day-to-day operations as a result of lockdowns and other mandatory quarantine measures.
Restaurants, airlines, hotels, casinos, and many other establishments have been forced to rethink their business models and the way they deliver their products and services to clients. The goal is to not just bring in revenues, but to even find ways to expand despite the various obstacles.
In an environment such as this, is it really possible to grow a business?
Tech companies, delivery service businesses, medical providers and a group of other ventures have taken advantage of this situation to expand their businesses dramatically, which points to the reality that even in the midst of a life-disrupting scenario, companies can still find ways to grow by identifying ways to meet their clients when and where they need it.
In the following article, business consultant Jasdeep Singh gives business owners a few strategies that could result in growth in the midst of what could be our new norm.
Rethinking your business model
Although small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the deep pockets or human capital that large companies can access to restructure their businesses quickly, making some changes in your company’s business modelcould lead to positive results without having to overcommit resources.
Take for example a local restaurant that did not have a delivery service prior to the pandemic.
For this establishment, offering an in-house delivery service entirely free for customers whose orders reach a certain minimum amount could be an excellent source of revenue. The restaurant would be more accessible to different segments of the market (ex. families with young children or the elderly), it would save on fees paid to online delivery services, and a new marketing advantage could be used against competitors.
Another great example would be a yoga trainer or a fitness trainer. These professionals could shift their regular on-site classes to online sessions via Peloton or one-on-one sessions with a select group of clients for a higher fee.
In both cases, the business model has been adapted to meet the client’s needs – which hasn’t gone anywhere – in this new environment.
Stepping out of the comfort zone
Change is difficult for most people.
Transitioning from a long-established business model to another or changing routines is not something people embrace easily. Dr. Spencer Johnson, in his book “Why moved my cheese?” writes that “The quicker you let go of old [ideas] the sooner you find new [ideas].”
It is perfectly understandable that thinking about change exhausts you too much, but successful entrepreneurs and business people understand this one thing: big challenges may be accompanied by great opportunities.
Simply put, businesses either adapt and succeed or stay stagnant and lose ground. Books such as
As a business consultant, part of Dr. Singh’s job is to advise his clients during the process of shifting strategies, which often involves holding their hand while they overcome that initial unconscious barrier that prevents them from adopting a newly-established order. He utilizes many strategies, such as Dr. John Kotters’ 8-step process for leading change.
Adapting to a world such as the one we are living in requires a commitment to plan, marshal the necessary resources, and move forward strategically despite the obstacles we all face.
Establishing key alliances
Alliances and partnerships are another crucial element to successfully grow a business during these difficult times.
It is hard to overcome so many obstacles by ourselves and thriving businesses have understood that. An example of this has been how vaccine makers have partnered with universities and think tanks to accelerate the process of developing a cure for the COVID-19 virus.
These alliances require finding areas in which both parties can share their strengths to help each other in serving clients better, faster, and cheaper.
Another example of this would be Apple and Google’s recent decision to collaborate in developing contact-tracing software that can be adopted by both of their operating systems, although their rivalry remains.
Finding businesses and professionals that provide complementary services to one’s business would speed up the adaptation and change process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenging environment in which businesses are seeing survival as the main goal.
However, by approaching the situation from a different perspective, potentially seeing the opportunities out there in the midst of the difficulty, business owners can effectively identify new areas of growth for their companies.
By embracing change, adapting the business model, and finding key allies to overcome all of the obstacles ahead, small and mid-sized businesses can still meet customer needs and even manage to grow their ventures.