Being in the middle of COVID19 outbreak makes it hard to make any estimates, nevertheless what we’d like to bring up here today is an overview of the current situation and tangible effects of the pandemic on business and strategies around the globe.
I do not believe that there is a single person, legal enterprise or living creature on the earth that was not affected by the COVID19 outbreak. Nationwide lockdown, social distancing, self-quarantine – all these challenged the way we think and the way enterprises are operating. Severe impact on business ranging from start-ups to well-established enterprise is something that I compare to time – we can’t stop it, we can’t slow it down, and we can’t’ turn it back. All we can do is make use of it and turn every second into a result.
Let’s see what failed us when the COVID19 outbreak began.
1. Longterm Strategy
Yeah, they told us in business schools that we have to think longterm: that short-term benefits and goals won’t allow us to achieve stable growth.
This type of thinking is a symptom of a widespread 21st-century illness: complacency. Let’s take the example of online platforms like Skyscanner or Kiwi, who had plans for 18 months ahead. Do you think they had a backup plan for surviving three months without any bookings? Do you think they forecasted people being scared of travelling to Spain or Croatia, the most famous destinations for summer holidays in the EU?
Lessons Learnt: aside from having a detailed & inspirational 1-2-3 year longterm strategy, always have a “short-term-crisis-plan” in your locker.
2. Old School Off-the-Table
I do believe in two things:
- everything is about balance
- everything is just a matter of time
What does it mean here? Old-school companies that were playing hide-and-sick with global trends lost the COVID19 “game”. On the other hand, those who “played it digital” faced significant growth in their revenues.
Lessons Learnt: never stop growing, and keep up with the time you are living in, otherwise you are doomed to failure.
3. Not Being Customer-Centric
Everyone now will roll their eyes, saying that “Oh, man, I am more than customer-centric”. Are you? Are we? Consumer behaviour changed dramatically over the past six months, but did we manage to adapt? Even if you are lucky to answer “yes” here, how long did it take you?
Lessons Learnt: be flexible, make it a key strategy. No one could predict the COVID19 outbreak, but those who couldn’t change the course of their business lost “the game” before it even started.
4. No Online Presence
For the majority of business owners, this time is a nightmare; however, others call the COVID19 outbreak a “golden time”. Grocery and merchandise delivery, DIY stores, drive-in movies/restaurants, digital fitness services offering home workout plans – these businesses are doing better than ever.
5. Cutting Jobs Due to Being Outdated
I love this one because it’s controversial. So, as you can imaging, we have companies like Marks & Spencer that decided to cut 7000 jobs because they were unprepared to handle massive store closures. But in a reverse scenario, companies like Google or Amazon did not just manage the outbreak, they also came out stronger.
TOP Trends in Consumer’s Behavior
Those who were “smart enough” and had relevant resources started to follow market trends, I call it “COVID19 Buyer Patterns“:
1. We seemed to care much more about ourselves. Yoga, fitness, creams, shampoos, relaxation candles – yeah, all this stuff for which we did not have “time” before.
2. “Social” games – puzzles, cards, table and board games – what to do in your spare time in case you can’t go anywhere? Exactly, old-school-games are back in the house.
3. Apparently, we became Mr/Ms Clean – there is a dramatic increase in purchasing cleaning products.
4. Social Media Mania – our new hot trend, and you (as a business owner) should consider Instagram, Tik-Tok and YouTube as online platforms for your future ads.
5. We tend to trust “the online world” more – what do I mean by this? The majority of my friends avoided online shopping (before the COVID19 outbreak). I always asked them why? What’s the matter? And they told me that they enjoy the experience of choosing foods they’ll be eating solo. Sure. What do you think is their buyer pattern now? They are ordering every other day from online grocery stores. They’ve started trusting more and it’s great.
To conclude, I want to leave a message for business owners – we, your customers, have become smarter. We know how to use technology and we know that this will save us time. You have all the cards to win this game, the question is – when you are planning to start playing?
Resources: Jordà, Òscar, Sanjay R. Singh, and Alan M. Taylor. Longer-run economic consequences of pandemics. No. w26934. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.