There are more than 48 million small businesses in India.
Corona Virus will hit them hard. Some may close down as there are no customers. Some may survive if they reinvent themselves. One thing is sure-if you don’t understand this massive change taking place in business arena- you will be history. But Covid 19 is also an opportunity for small business.
You need to expect the unexpected. Accept that things are not going to be the same. Don’t think for a while that as soon as lockdown is lifted-you
can go back to your normal business. And life would be all about new orders, delivery and income and apple and peaches again. Most businesses fail because as they do not want to adapt to the new changing world. Internet was not responsible for closing down fax or mail – but people didn’t want to change to new technology. Video libraries shut shop as live streaming came- and nobody was wanting to change their business model. Starbucks was not responsible for all coffee shops being out of business- but coffee shops didn’t want to change their way of selling coffee..
Uber and Ola cannot be blamed for slow death of individual taxi operators-but they were simply blown by efficiency and service levels of new age operators. In all the above examples, businesses got wiped out-as they did not adapt themselves to changing environment or
Corona virus will change how we eat, live or do our business in future. We may need to change our business model or product portfolio. All our yearly plans are useless now. So, we must adapt to change. A fine dining restaurant in New York changed into a delivery company after business nose dived after corona lockdown. Nobody lost their jobs and the company is doing good business. If you are a small business and you do not want to close down in next 90 days, do these 5 things starting today:
1) Be ready to change.
Things will not be the same again. Be prepared to change your business model, your product portfolio, your way of working.
Sony started by selling rice-cookers, now they sell great head phones.
2) Preserve cash
Next 90 days are bound to be challenging. Be prudent about money. Cut back on all your expenses. No office parties. No business class travel. Collect all your unpaid dues from your clients. Be persistent. Extend your line of credit with banks. You must make it a company policy to save money, in every activity-big or small Any additional money will help you to survive another week.
This is the time to communicate with your employees and customers. With employees, you need to take care of their expectations and fear. With customers, you need to address their concerns about the future of their business. They are worried about their return on investments(ROI), so you must make it a point to over- deliver as per their expectations.
So communicate as much as possible-by phone, WhatsApp, e-mail or any other mode of communication. Desired frequency- daily. Worst case scenario- weekly. If you don’t have time now- don’t worry, you will have all the time in the world-when you will have no
4) Marketing & selling
Your old marketing and sales plans are not relevant anymore.Throw them into dustbin. You need a fresh mindset to change your communication as per the new reality. You are dealing with a new customer mindset and you need to address his fear of unknown. Your selling efforts also must reflect more keenness to take care of your customer’s most pressing problems. And all his problems are immediate. He also wants to survive-just like you.
5) Be Positive
You shall survive the coronavirus phase by taking care of above points, but to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to be very positive. There would be enough people who would predict doomsday every week. The trick is to completely shun such people. WhatApp fake news will close down more businesses than anything else. Choose your company very wisely during this phase- as you cannot afford any negative thoughts entering your mind. Be positive, meet positive people and you shall notice that this phase will also get over soon. Take care of next 90 days and market conditions will start changing in your favour.
Can you make Covid 19 as the turning point of your life?
By Hemant Mishrra
Founder & Principal Consultant at Neeti Brand Accelerator