The business environment is a jungle, a matter of the survival of the fittest. Each organization or company seeks to strategize and generate more revenue, have more customers than its business rivalries. The aim of any business plan is to maximize profits and minimize costs. Strategies have to be formulated, implemented, and evaluated for a business to create a competitive advantage over other competitors in the market. Therefore, the company has to assess the environment it seeks to operate in. This means investigating weaknesses and threats in the business environment and how the company can utilize its strengths and opportunities to generate revenue. Each of the implemented strategies seeks to fulfill the goals that reflect the vision and mission of the organization.
Covid-19 pandemic turned the world upside within a brief space of time, which brought to a halt the market industry. Countries had to cope, adjust and adapt to the newly presented environment by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic posed threats to most industries and exposed weakness laid in the internal structures of the industries. Whereas some struggled to survive the pandemic, other organization saw a presented opportunity to market products and services and generate revenue. Those businesses that remained afloat during the pandemic maintained customer loyalty as they proved reliability. Covid-19 provided business lessons that organizations have to note for future use and as strategies for survival in the industry.
1. Digitalization of systems
One profound lesson from the pandemic is that businesses need to digitalize. The traditional method of conducting business proved ineffective in the face of Covid-19, which saw organizations adjusting to online media marketing. Social media platforms became the new business hub, the marketplace for advertisements providing products and services. The pandemic taught organizations to adopt online media despite criticisms leveled against it. Digitalization proved more effective in the marketing of businesses and the attraction of customers. It proved difficult for some organizations who were confined deeply in the classical, traditional way of doing business. Those who embraced innovation and change were quick to adjust back in business and create brand names. For small-scale and sole entrepreneurs, social media proved to be the best alternative to conducting business. Non- essential service providers were more disadvantaged as lockdown measures forced the closure of business in a bid to fight against the spread of the virus. The non-essential service providers, therefore, sought an alternative to marketing and selling goods. Organizations have to embrace new business strategies posed by the pandemic. Digital media has become not only a platform for conducting business but a host of many other features which offer mutual benefit to both the organizations and their customers, including but limited to:
- Digital archiving- file and data can be archived online for the convenience of organizations. Online media provides multiple ways of documenting files and storing them for instance on Google drives.
- Customer engagement- unlike traditional models, adopting online marketing enables organizations to engage with customers in an interactive way, providing instant help or access to information.
- Multiple formats- data can be accessed in either audio, text or video formats for the convenience of the customer.
2. Investment in other businesses
For those who maximized on one business venture, Covid-19 showed people the need to invest in different businesses. Putting all eggs in one basket has dire consequences. There is a need for investing in different business ventures for businesses to support each other by casting the net wider, regardless of the size of the businesses. Entrepreneurs ought to maximize profits from one business to invest in another business. Not only does this aid in generating revenue but also insurance, as one business can finance the other in the long run. Those employed were also maximizing their income by diverting savings for other investment plans. This allowed them to generate an extra dollar, compared to saving money without interest. Organisations that were rigid and not flexible enough to diversify the means of production, for example, city councils, (case in point- City of Harare) whose revenue model depended heavily on utility bill payment/ rates (house, water, parking, and vending rates) suffered revenue shortfalls. Instead of thinking about other money-making projects, they responded by increasing rates such as parking fees, to recover from the few vehicles that were allowed into town. Following the lessons leant from the current crisis, that is yet to be over, the recommendation is, therefore, apparent that side investments are sacrosanct to keep businesses afloat. The alternative business ensures that organisations/individuals do not start from scratch if one business idea flops and fails.
3. Focus on long-term goals
Organisations or individuals should root any business plan in achieving specific long-term goals. COVID-19 highlighted the need to set long-term goals. This helps the business to remain focused in case of any disruption to the normal business routine. Short-term goals, good as they may be, can be a disadvantage. Short-term goals lack the motivation to push a business through hard times, neither do they lay a firm foundation to sustain a business. COVID-19 taught the need to set long-term goals as these motivate a business entity to strategize plans to help sustain and build a brand, especially small-scale businesses. A long-term goal ensures the desire to fulfill the set vision, motivates a business entity to strategize ways to sustain the vision and invest in the set vision, especially when faced with a crisis.