How businesses can navigate a post pandemic world

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Yasmeen Collins | The Ticker

Farah Javed

As the coronavirus outbreak rages on, an atmosphere of uncertainty pervades the present. Wishing for a return to normalcy, people are rioting in the streets and calling for an end to quarantine. What they fail to consider, however, is how a post-pandemic world will be and, most importantly, how the economy will be.

One perspective can be seen through a clever analogy by Forbes. They liken the future economy to that of the movie “The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney. Clooney’s character embarks on a voyage in search of food, finding a crystal-clear blue ocean swarming with fish. After taking as much as can fit in his boat, he begins to go home, only to be caught in a storm. Spoiler alert — he dies.

The storm represents COVID-19. The blue ocean was the calm before the storm, or the intact, functioning economy before the outbreak. With the ongoing storm, business owners now have to make it through the storm and survive.

The coronavirus was a sudden reality check to many businesses, showing that the structure of their business needed to be reformed if they wanted to stay afloat. Only those who can adapt now will be able to survive in the long term.

One example of this is Cristina McCarter and her Memphis based food tour company. As an entrepreneur, she was heartbroken at the thought of closing the business that represented her lifelong effort and passion.

“But then, she had an idea. As McCarter saw restaurants in town reopen to serve takeout, she realized she could take her business, City Tasting Tours, virtual. She could team up with the restaurants to create special meals that she could deliver to clients along with a link to a 30-minute video tour about the food, the chefs and Memphis,” according to The New York Times. Still, adapting one’s business is easier said than done. Hence, the Harvard Review created a series of questions that business owners should ask themselves.

First, they need to be aware of their own position as a company, in terms of resilience. At the moment, some companies are thriving, like those in the health industry. Others are experiencing stagnation or a decrease in revenue, such as hospitality or travel businesses. A plan must be curated to map out steps to address their position in their industry, whether this means how to handle a loss of market frenzy for a product after the pandemic or how to attract a consumer base once more to increase sales.

The plan must be designed to accommodate getting through the pandemic, as well as the world afterwards. Without one, a business is left in murky waters, far from that clear blue ocean.

Next, a business needs to reevaluate what it stands for. It either needs to change or cultivate an identity that fits the post-pandemic world. For instance, an ice cream company may switch from marketing itself from being a luxury or snack to being a comfort food that is there for people when they need some sweetness in their lives.

Once their positioning is established, a business should focus on the projects it can accomplish. With many recovering from the coronavirus or experiencing loss, it is better to not assign multiple projects to the same employees. Instead of overwhelming the workforce, strive to be considerate while growing the business.

Lastly, once all these steps are completed, a business must discern whether it is prepared to bring these steps to fruition. Only by having an actionable plan will a business be able to survive the pandemic and the world after it.

The end of the coronavirus will act as a double-edged sword. The world will rejoice as the invisible enemy that disrupted their lives and took away their loved ones is finally defeated. At the same time, it will also mean a long road ahead in rebuilding financially devastated businesses, reopening factories, fixing the high unemployment rate and trying to decide what measures need to be instituted to fortify the nation for any future disasters. Through grit and proper planning, there is hope for navigating through a post-pandemic world.