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Coronavirus Crisis Will Force Businesses to Choose Between Pivot or Perish.

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

It would be fair to say that not many companies were ready for the disruption that was brought upon by the #Coronavirus crisis. Ensuring business continuity in crisis management mode requires the right mix of leadership, technology, patience and agility.

Coronavirus impact on businesses
Coronavirus will impact the entire business value chain

#Businesses that depended on habit-formation, face-to-face customer interaction, vanity purchase and experiential engagement will suffer the most. Let’s look at some of the sectors that are most likely to bear the brunt.

Many companies are encouraging employees to work from home, reducing road traffic and demand for fuels. At the same time, many regular users of public transport are shifting to private cars for office commute to avoid crowd and contact, partly offsetting sales decline. Several pump owners are reporting a 15-20% decline in sales.

With work from home becoming the new norm and the associated cost saving, businesses will gain from #WFH as regular office-commute will go down for many. There are large cab aggregators which might be directly impacted were that to happen on a global scale. Not to mention the car manufacturers and associated industries, which depend on regular consumption coming from the daily office commute.

Domestic demand for petrol, diesel, jet fuel and shipping fuel have all contracted 10% in the first fortnight of March 2020 and this downward trend will continue till the #lockdown is substantially lifted across the major metro cities. A drop in sales volume would hit earnings of refiners and fuel retailers that are already facing deep inventory losses this quarter due to the oil price collapse.

Cab aggregators would similarly have to ensure new hygiene driven standards to retain customers, while some people would prefer to drive their cars instead of risking a cab which might have carried a coronavirus positive or asymptomatic carrier before them. This will add to the operating cost and further shrink margins. New measures like passenger screening or a fitness certificate may need to be introduced to shore up customer confidence in their services.

Coronavirus crisis will force Businesses to choose between pivot or perish.
Photo by Edward Jenner

Indians spend more time in daily office commute than people in most countries in the world, with more than 2 hours on the road every day, according to a report by office commute platform MoveInSync. Wherein the scope of building efficiencies will now entice many businesses and in the long term, businesses may decide on a hybrid WFH model with key functions working from the office and support functions operating from WFH. More businesses adopting the WFM model would also impact the demand for large office spaces and further impact the beleaguered real-estate sector.

The change will also be unstoppable for companies in the entertainment and organised retail, one of the main drivers of this will be the change in consumer habits. It is a generally accepted belief that it takes 21 days to form habits, though this is not true in all cases. But taking that as a benchmark many of the businesses such as newspapers, for example, may have to rethink their strategy, as well the businesses which have traditionally relied upon print and ooh advertisement will now have to leverage more of digital marketing as a first choice and not just as an option.

The impact of behaviour change is noticeable, latest numbers show that in mobile apps, Media Streaming is leading the way with revenue up 200% since week 3, while non-organic installs increased by 77%; other apps seeing an increase were Education, which grew since week 3 with revenue climbing 94%, News (+162% revenue, +62% in non-organic installs), Music (+40% revenue), and Social (+26% revenue, +32% organic installs).

Though some companies have reacted by laying off staff and closing their doors, hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass. Others have decided to pivot. They've come up with innovative ideas of how to retool or reconfigure their operations, to keep their doors open and their employees working.

You may need to think on your feet and pivot right now. Here are some of the steps to take:

  1. Recognize the need to pivot, normally embracing change is more a case of planning for future business strategy and 5-year projections. But this is an immediate need now.

  2. Determine new goals, find a realistic new direction. Unfortunately, in an exigent moment like this, there is not a lot of time to dig deep. What you have to do is quickly come up with a Plan B.

  3. Act now, ask the important questions: Is there a market for this new direction? Are there customers? Do you have the resources to do this or can you get them? How will you need to change? Work with your team, speak with your customers, solicit advice from advisers and get moving.

  4. Implement the changes now, don’t wait: Start implementing these changes. This varies from business to business, but ultimately what this means is getting buy-in from your team and realigning your structure.

  5. Be a team of fixers and not complainers, anyone in your team who is not part of the solution should not be in your team.

  6. Now is the time to be bold and nimble. Don’t get invested in anything but results. See what works and double down on that.

You can leverage a leaner #digital-driven transformation for your business and marketing goals. Get into the startup mode, develop, adapt and launch solutions that are going to help your business pivot to the new reality. The global business landscape has already changed. #Leadership in thought and action is what will separate the winners from those who bite the dust.

How can we help you? We’d love to hear about your challenges and ambitions. Let's work together.


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