Covid-19 changes that may linger longer
By Pauline Muindi | August 12th 2020
When the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kenya in March 2020, the business world was thrown into disarray. After the first few weeks of panic buying, many businesses stalled due to travel restrictions and social distancing rules.
As curfews and travel restrictions are slowly lifted, many entrepreneurs are anxious to get back to business as usual. However, the world of business has been significantly changed by the pandemic. Some of the business trends brought about by Covid-19 will continue in the business world long after the pandemic.
By preparing your business for these changes, you will have a bigger chance at succeeding in the post-pandemic world. Here are some of the key trends:
Before 2020, business presence online felt more or less optional. But with lockdowns and curfews, the importance of having a strong online presence for businesses was highlighted. With limited movement, people have turned to window-shopping for products and services online before making a purchase.
Even after the restrictions are lifted, most people will be wary about shopping in crowded stores. To cash in on this trend, make sure to optimise your online presence. Pay a professional website builder to create a user-friendly website for your business. On top of that, ensure that all your social media platforms are regularly updated with engaging content.
During the lockdowns, people started spending more time on social media. Therefore, paying to boost your ads to reach your target audience is a great idea. To maximise the potential of social media, consider working with a social media influencer.
The acceleration of online business has also helped increase the demand for delivery services. You can either use an external delivery service or hire your own delivery workers.
One of the ways that Covid-19 is spread is through coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. When an infected person coughs or sneezes into their hands, everything they touch with those uncleaned hands, including money, gets contaminated.
Although the risk of getting infected by handling cash is lower than person-to-person transmission, cashless transactions have been recommended to stem the spread of the virus. Businesses that still have face-to-face customers – such as restaurants and clothing stores – will find it necessary to continue with cashless transactions even after restrictions are fully lifted.
Using cashless transaction solutions such as mobile money transfer and credit cards is definitely here to stay. Cashless transactions have their advantages and disadvantages. You won’t have to worry about storing your cash payments or receiving fake currency notes. However, you might have to pay extra charges to process payments. The cashless transaction system might also crash, leaving you stranded.
The coronavirus pandemic disrupted global supply chains, forcing business people to start sourcing from local suppliers. This led to revival of some local industries to manufacture goods such as masks, sanitisers and test kits, to mention a few.
This has made business people wary of relying solely on global suppliers. Even after the pandemic, it is likely that there will be higher demand for locally produced goods. An astute entrepreneur should prepare for this shift in the marketplace.
The pandemic forced people into lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions, and social distancing rules. To keep businesses running, more employees and business owners had to start working from home instead of offices.
This led to a new normal and companies realised that it was possible to function without physical office. Without the overhead costs associated with an office – such as rent, office furniture, utility bills – employees’ working from home might even prove to be more profitable for some businesses. Studies have also shown that employees working from home report better work/life balance. Working remotely also helps workers to avoid the stress and expense of daily commute, have more control over their work schedule, and have less stress.
Businesses that have set up systems for remote working are going to be more attractive to employees, even after the pandemic. There will also be a higher expectation for employees who are sick to stay at home till they are fully recovered. Employees with minor complaints such as the common cold can work from home.
Look for ways to enable your employees to work from home. There are many resources to ensure that working from home does not mean slacking on the job. For example, an app called Hubstaff to time track tasks, monitor productivity, and process payments. There are plenty of project management software and apps that can also help you manage your team remotely.
Video conferencing tools have also become a staple for work meetings. You can also incorporate video calls and webinars as a customer retention tool for your business.
The cleanest wins
Properly cleaned and sanitised business premises have always been attractive to clients. However, the pandemic has made sanitisation a significant part of running a face-to-face business. Even after a cure or vaccine for the virus is found, it is likely that businesses will be required to provide hand sanitisers and soap and water for hand cleaning.
Businesses in the travel and hospitality industry are especially going to be under pressure to deliver highly sanitary experiences. To cash in on this trend, look for innovative ways to ensure that customers feel that your premises are up to par in sanitisation. People should not worry unduly about picking up infections while in your business premises.
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