By Melinda Lim, Lecturer, School of American Degree Program
COVID-19 started as a health crisis, then at a fast speed, it became a pandemic. It has left a severe effect on the business environment and has changed the landscape significantly. New business activities adapted by companies in order to survive. Businesses will not be the same after the pandemic.
With the recent arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia and the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme starts from 26th Feb 2021 onwards, will Malaysia move out of this pandemic any sooner? How do businesses move on after this pandemic? Some of the areas that worth consideration in rebuilding businesses are listed below.
All about paradigm shifts
The pandemic has impacted us on what we’re experiencing now. Many businesses had to adapt to the work from home culture. The physical office is likely to be a thing of the past. People after realizing that they can work from anywhere. This will have an impact on the real estate industries as most buildings will be forced to turn to residential buildings. Efforts are made by businesses to ensure that everyone employee is in sync and are trained to use collaborative tools. Management noted that work can be done without being at the office.
It is worth taking into consideration that there is a paradigm shift in how we work in post-pandemic.
Digitalization and Automation
The convenience and speed of shopping via smartphones was gaining momentum during COVID-19. During the lockdown, people created diverse online shopping lists – ranging from groceries and healthcare items to interior decoration materials and consumer appliances – for home delivery and home consumption.
Product sales via live-streaming and social commerce also increased. To facilitate online buying, there was a rise in e-wallet transactions, plus cashless payment promotions by retailers, restaurants and brands. Governments and banking authorities are supporting this cashless transformation. This trend will continue after the pandemic.
Post pandemic will see the continuation of this trend, Therefore, create new sales channels, marketing business online and very important to let inform the potential customers on the latest updates so that businesses can move on.
Seek Funding to Recover
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that digitalization and automation is a necessity to ensure business sustainability. Businesses are now working towards automating repetitive jobs such as administrative tasks and robots are taking over manufacturing. Retraining and learning new skills are necessary to ensure the unemployment rate stay low. Malaysia government implemented a series of stimulus packages for businesses to mitigate coronavirus impact such as PENJANA, PRIHATIN, PERMAI to name a few.
What about post-pandemic businesses? Maybe it is good to look at various loan options to kick start the post-pandemic recovery. It is important to look at business and personal credit scores to remain competitive when applying for loan and not forgetting business and personal financial commitments too.
Build an Efficient Network in Operations and Supply Chain
Malaysia went into its first nation lockdown on 18 March 2020. Business suffered tremendously as many had no experience of this. It was obvious that businesses that had centralized their operations suffered a lack of important supplies for their business and declined sales. This was a learning period for many businesses.
By the time the pandemic is over, businesses should have diversified their operation and supply chains nation-wide and globally.
Give time for business recovery
Running a business is all about patience, persistence, effective decision-making, and consistency. Develop a timeline to rebuild the business. Maybe, it starts by identifying the most critical aspects of business and start working on them accordingly. For example, seeking for funds can help to ease some of the daily business costs. Tracking progress is important to find out which activities are working best toward recovering business. Start with weekly reviews, then move on to monthly as things start to stabilize.
The road to recovery is a long and rough path and needs to take one step at a time. Careful planning and patience are critical elements in any business recovery.
Companies should be making decisions and taking actions during the crisis with recovery in mind. When the crisis is over, it will be clear which companies have the resilience and agility to reshape their business strategy to thrive in the future. Like after a storm, businesses take time to recover and rebuild. May some of the areas discussed can be used as a start point for a post-pandemic business recovery plan.