As we write this, many major economies around the world are gradually opening up. Even as the workforce returns to the much-quoted ‘new normal’, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 is on the rise. There are also fears of a ‘second wave’ of infections as more and more people venture outside. The future still seems rather uncertain. So what should you as a small business owner consider in this state of play?
A recent PwC survey1 of business owners and CFOs in the Middle East reveals that nearly 75% of them expect economic recovery to take 3 months or more. Meanwhile, nearly 9 out of 10 CFOs expect company revenues to decline – but thankfully only 11% expect revenues to go down by more than 50%.
What is crucial now more than ever is for companies to focus on pushing through the current crisis in order to emerge even more robust, resilient and ready into a post-COVID world. Here are the 3 essential questions every small business owner or CEO should be asking:
1. How will my customers change the way they use my services/product?
One of the biggest impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is on customer behaviour. From an increase in online shopping and delivery, to cashless transactions, telemedicine and e-commerce, consumer behaviour has undergone a massive shift.
So, no matter what industry you are in, your customer touchpoints and user behaviour have undergone a paradigm shift. That’s why you need to spend time considering how you could change your services to better suit current customer demands.
2. What useful information can I provide my customers with?
Google search behaviour2 shows that one of the top-trending searches is for critical information and content about how people can get the things they need while minimising the risk of infection. This means that it is imperative that your customers should be able to find information about your services and product offerings online.
We’ve mentioned this several times in the past: this is the perfect opportunity to improve and enhance your online offerings. Whether it’s sprucing up your website, or investing in good-quality social media content, you need to take this time to make sure your customers are actively engaged with your brand across your assets.
3. How can I prepare my workforce to be more robust in future?
One thing is clear: this pandemic has shown us how badly we can all be affected within a very short period of time. And this won’t be the last. Many experts opine that, as global warming continues to wreak havoc, the chances of such pandemics recurring is higher.
So, it’s best to be proactive and make plans to enable your teams and workforce to be even more resilient before the next crisis strikes. Research by the World Economic Forum revealed that nearly everyone (98%) surveyed said they would prefer to work remotely for the remainder of their careers rather than go back to an office.3
While that may be a bit much, remote working is definitely here to stay, and many companies are opting for flexible schedules (3 days in the office, 2 from home, and so on) to enable more people to work remotely. However, working from home brings with it its own challenges, and companies need to spend time figuring out how to make this work for everyone.
So, if you are a small business owner or CEO, make sure you introspect deeply and think about these 3 essential questions. The answers you come up with may literally mean life or death for your company.
If you liked this article, make sure you head over to our blog where you can find more thoughts from our team!
- PwC, COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey
- ThinkwithGoogle, Consumer insights on coronavirus needs
- World Economic Forum, 6 charts that show what employers and employees really think about remote working