Surviving COVID-19: Turning obstacles into opportunities
The ability to turn obstacles into opportunities is why some companies are able to steer through various types of “storms”. Throughout history, we have seen many examples of this, like the SARS outbreak in 2002, which inspired the creation of the e-commerce giant Alibaba. Desperation has a way of forcing companies to adapt and innovate.
During lockdown, amid stringent regulations, the vigour to “adapt or die” was an unmistakable drive behind many South African companies. In particular, those that started producing and selling essential goods, those that pivoted their businesses to e-commerce and those that launched a start-up.
However, there is a silver lining to this incredibly dark storm that the country is currently in. The trick is to develop the stamina to try to “face and embrace” it.
In level one of lockdown, the journey to a cloud-free South African economy has only just begun and, truthfully, the road might look considerably different. A crisis has the power to alter the way people think. In many cases, this mind shift is usually permanent.
Here are some tips to help your business turn obstacles into opportunities by adapting accordingly.
1. Plan for survival
Now is the time to focus on what is important to your success. It is time to think creatively and adapt your business model accordingly. Digitise, automate and streamline as many processes as possible and cut unnecessary spending.
2. Look to your customers for inspiration
A crisis changes the way consumers think and act, which means their buying behaviour will be different as well. Businesses need to be one step ahead. Continuously ask: “What do my consumers want from me?” and give it to them.
3. Appoint a change leader
Change almost has to be an ongoing process and will therefore require someone dedicated to keeping the company on track. Appoint someone new with experience in this field or upskill a member of your staff who shows talent and knows the business well. In essence, someone needs to take the reins to ensure your company remains as agile as possible. This person needs to constantly stay abreast of developments within the industry and changes in customer behaviour.
4. Get the right team at your back
In times of crises, you need doers. Take this journey with the right team at your back. People who make the changes that lie ahead easier and not more difficult. Try upskilling your staff with the right information and keep the channels of communication open to ensure they can adapt accordingly.
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