Business Planning: How to get prepared for the post-Coronavirus era

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been an unexpected crisis affecting the global community since the beginning of the year. It’s been hard for all the businesses around the world to adapt to the new conditions and find ways to maintain the continuity of their operations. 

Following the official government instructions, businesses have implemented preventive measures to avoid spreading the coronavirus. In this new context, they changed their policies and incorporated the ‘’working from home’’ model into their everyday operations. At the same time, it’s self-evident that a large number of businesses couldn’t do otherwise but postpone their operations. 

Businesses, apart from adjusting to the coronavirus era, need to take concrete steps to be prepared for what follows. And, your business may take five simple actions towards this direction:


1. Build Trust with your Customers

One of the most important assets of an organization is its customers. During a crisis, it is important to develop strong customer relationships. Your customers should feel valued and appreciated. Let them know that you will be supporting them along the way. During this period, personal meetings shall be avoided but use alternative ways of communicating and stay in touch with your customers. Work even closer with them because in difficult times it’s possible to form bonds that will endure for years.


2. Keep your employees engaged and motivated

Remember that your employees are also affected by the crisis. Being locked up at home without being able to have a normal daily routine is not always easy to handle. Businesses need to re-evaluate their objectives and adjust them to the present conditions. It’s vital to recognize that priorities might differ from the ones you had while your team was working in its physical work environment. Be flexible and focus on priorities that will empower your employees to be productive in the ‘’remote work‘’ environment. It’s time for you to implement your leadership skills to keep your team united but, make sure to choose a leadership style that suits the circumstances. Consider a participative style of leadership that will allow you to make decisions through consensus and based on mutual understanding. By keeping your employees engaged and motivated, it will be much easier to get back to normal, once the crisis is over.


3. Understand Consumer Behavior 

A large percentage of the world population has been requested to stay home following the implementation of social distancing measures. As a result, people have adopted alternative shopping habits using the capabilities of digital technologies. For example, in China, there’s been an increased demand for online shopping, including shopping for fresh food and groceries. These days, online shopping is becoming more popular, and businesses need to re-adjust their selling procedures either by upgrading their e-commerce systems or considering adding an e-shop to their traditional sales process. In both cases, businesses will have several challenges to overcome. They might even need to rebuild their product portfolio to keep pace with the new developments. In general, businesses must be alert to understand how consumer behavior changes and take the required actions on time. 


4. Invest in Corporate Social Responsibility

During a global crisis, charity is a usual practice by organizations. It has an ethical extent but simultaneously has a positive effect on the organization’s reputation. It is advisable to proceed with charitable activities in the local community to de-stress the governmental system and the non-profit organizations’ procedures. If possible, encourage your employees to be involved in charitable projects. Take for example China, where the crisis had started; Alibaba Group offered a $144 million medical supply fund for hospitals in Hubei Province while Hubei Huanggang Agricultural Development Co. donated 220 tons of vegetables to families that most needed them. The reputational effects on both companies on traditional and social media are already evident.


5. Managing Your Cash Flow

During a crisis, businesses shall remember that cash matters. Try to have at least one to three months of cash on hand to be able to cover your immediate expenses. In such uncertain times, businesses may choose to delay the payments to their suppliers and this may apply to your customers as well. That’s why it’s of great importance to set specific standards in your invoicing procedures. Make sure that your invoicing is processed on time and accurately. Any errors in your billing process may lead to costly delays in receiving payments. Also, wherever a business holds inventory, it shall review its internal procedures and supply chain and make adjustments when necessary.

It is generally accepted that new challenges will arise for businesses even after the crisis. However, they must take significant measures in the current period so that they can recover more easily once the economy enters the post-coronavirus era.