Four Factors SMEs Should Plan for Business Post COVID19

Business Covid Steps
Business Covid Steps
  • Major Points SMEs/MSMEs should look post COVID19
  • Revisit the Business Plan, don’t be emotional, review objectively
  • Abide by all government directives and the instructions strictly
  • Ensure that your firm doesn’t break any rule

A severe pandemic COVID 19 has struck the entire world and is damaging human life as well as the business across the globe. All the nations of the world are right now trying to fight out this calamity in their own way. Most of the nations are right now in a “lockdown” state and the businesses have almost come to a standstill.

None of the existing generations have seen this type of a pandemic and therefore are grappling to deal with this new calamity. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel, however long the tunnel maybe!! Therefore the entire world is hoping to come out of this calamity “asap”.

While we all are trying our best to fight out the virus, in my opinion, all the business leaders and all the stakeholders of the businesses need to start thinking about the business post-COVID19. I have tried summarising some of the points that SMEs/MSMEs should look at.

Related to Business:

First and foremost review the intent & purpose of your business, the objective of the business. Revisit the Business Plan. Don’t be emotional. Review objectively. Use this as an opportunity maybe to pivot the customer segment, business model, technology even the product or the service that you are offering

Look at alternate sources of raising capital. Use Start/Suspend/Stop/Continue model while you decide further actions.

Review Business model, Product/Services, Cost, Technology, Systems/Processes/Policies to decide the things that you should Start/Suspend/Stop/Continue. The key drivers are Introspection & Exploring.

Related to Government

Look at the possible help/concessions the government/RBI has come out with. The government and RBI have rolled out quite a few concessions especially for SMEs/MSMEs. Those could certainly help the business at least in the short term. This could ease out your cash flow in the short term which could be a great relief. At the same time, abide by all government directives and the instructions strictly. Ensure that your firm doesn’t break any rule. This is very important.

Related to Operations

Revisit all HR Policies. Start looking at innovation for continuity of operations. That is our first goal. Engage every stakeholder. Continue Sales/branding/marketing as much as possible. Use digital technology as much as possible. Look at the inorganic growth opportunities (Mergers & Acquisitions) of course this is not easy since capital could be the biggest factor here.

Innovation and research have to be continued within the organization. Start talking to your suppliers for extended credit terms. Look at better processes (could be a mid-term or long term use). At this point in time, low-cost automation could be very useful once the operations restart.

Think about cluster manufacturing. This means the markets where customers and suppliers are nearer could be the best and quick starting point. Of course one needs to find the logistics providers which could be one of the challenges. Digital logistics could be certainly thought of at this point in time.

Related to People

This one of the most crucial elements. Always remember that this resource is your biggest strength. Communication is the key here. Start communicating at all levels in the organisation. Fortunately, the means of communication is not an issue in today’s digital world. For lower levels in the organization use conventional tools of communication like phone calls, WhatsApp, SMS, etc.

Instill confidence in the people. Empathize with the people. Remember, this is the time to co-exist and collaborate as a leader. Take your people’s support as well wherever possible. Give them an overview of the future and how is the organization planning to address this difficult situation.

For the senior-level employees, review to what extent salary cuts are possible and for how long but continue to pay the people at lower levels where salary matters a lot. Reducing salaries is a better option than lay-off. However, this has to be done with caution so that the motivation level is not lost.

Start training/retraining and multi-skilling of the employees because you will have to look at rightsizing the organization at this point in time by various improvements like multi-skilling, low-cost automation, and improved processes. Certain painful decisions like low/no increments for the next one or two years may have to be taken. Here also use Start/Suspend/Stop/Continue as the model for arriving at certain decisions above.

Overall it is a testing time for all of us in business and COVID 19 has brought us to a situation to redefine/remake business strategies. Review the risks which we never thought before by using Risk Management tools like FMEA. We will have to adapt ourselves to this new world post-COVID 19 then and only then can we survive in the business because it is “The Survival Of The Fittest”


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