Changing and Expanding Amidst the Impossible and Unfavorable
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing different types business challenges and degrees of stress to people around the world. Many countries have closed their borders. Countless major cities such as London and New York have gone into lockdown. Many businesses, unless categorized as essential, are forced to shut down with staffs being laid-off. Stock markets around the world took great plunges in the billions with every passing day. Flights around the world are pretty much at a standstill. Travellers are stuck in foreign lands and airlines do not even have enough resources to assist customers in dire needs.
People get infected with the virus without any symptoms continue to pass the virus onto others. Numbers of confirmed cases and deaths are on the surge every day. Financial experts are describing the [2008 economic crisis] was a heart attack and [the coronavirus crisis] might be a full body seizure. The coronavirus has put all the efforts of globalization back to square one. In the face of all these challenges, what is going to happen next? And when will we see the end to this?
Making Difficult Choices
Companies are facing difficult choices of further shutting down their operations, undergoing vertical or horizontal contractions, laying off more staffs, or even liquidating. In other words, it is time to review a business’ strategies. It is a time to make smart but creative choices and actions that will shape the direction of where the business is going, strengthen its position in the industry, determine the most appropriate business models, and to achieve its desired goals.
In this climate, strategy is everything. A business has to know what its competitive edge is to further differentiate itself from those in the same industry. You can never grow a business if you do business with emotions. Nowadays, directors and executives have more time on hand as social interactions are limited, this is the perfect self-reflection period to review what has been working and what has not been working in the past. What can the company do different to achieve different results?
The Airline Industry Example
Consistently ranked as the best airline in the world, Emirates Airline has stopped all its services starting March 25th amidst the coronavirus crisis. The global aviation industry is taking its hardest hit ever due to all the travel restrictions and flight bans issued by governments to control the spread of the virus. However, according to CAPA Centre for Aviation, a consultancy, “most airlines in the world will be bankrupt by the end of May unless governments intervene.”
Emirates made a swift move in cutting further losses in shortest period of time to “hibernate” through the difficult times so it could make a come-back. Emirates brands itself as an airline that offers an in-flight experience unlike any other. Rather than sacrificing their quality of their in-flight experience, they would rather preserve their brand image by temporarily stopping their services. It stays true to its competitive edge and knows that this is the last thing they could compromise if they want their brand image to stay intact.
Adapting To a New Normal
During these times when social distancing are recommended, companies can employ more interactive technology to enhance communication and engagement between staffs and with their customers. What do people long for the most these days? Entertainment and social contact. Many companies have started to employ online conference software such as Zoom, Skype and GoToWebinar to create a virtual meeting space that brings people closer when they are in actuality physically separated.
Some companies even set up virtual departments that are automated by Artificial Intelligence-based Information Systems. Educational institutes are forced to closed down and to delegate more of their resources online. Online education will soon change from being a niche to being mainstream. As less physical labour are required, businesses need to shift their focus on virtual transactions. People will soon have reduced work hours and elimination of mandatory in-office presence as most work can be done online. Companies that are resistant in adapting new technologies or employing artificial intelligence systems will soon become obsolete.
Change is The Only Absolute
Always remember that a company’s competitive edge should always malleable and adjustable according to the current trends and business challenges. Change is normal and essential in the growth and expansion of businesses. Consolidation is not necessary a bad thing but sometimes a means to withstand tensions from the macro climate in order to thrive in the future. Ask questions about your business on a daily basis to get the creative inputs required to grow your company.
This guest post was authored by Kayla Leung
Kayla Leung is a Global Entrepreneur that owns and manages multiple businesses in tech and financial industries. Kayla’s education includes a doctorate in clinical psychology, a bachelor’s in economics and commerce, and a degree in fashion. The many hats Kayla wears include public speaker, Wealth Creators Anonymous Facilitator, therapist, etiquette consultant, editor, jewelry designer, buyer, contributing writer, columnist, fashion stylist, blogger, marketing manager, business consultant and yoga instructor. With all her experience, she has been facilitating classes and workshops around the world to help others. Follow @drkaylaleung.