KAMPALA —The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It is such uncertain time with lots of unknowns.
Authorities are advising people to stay home, as the situation may continue for a while. While some companies are open to remote operation of their employees, others cannot. Small businesses would also be negatively affected as consumers go out less and turn to shop alternatives. Small companies will need to act quickly and plan to take advantage of the turnaround and brace themselves for the repercussions of Covid-19.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational companies (MNCs) are suffering and in some extreme cases even shutting down. Goods have been stranded at ports for weeks, hundreds of cities worldwide are in lockdown, Consumers are behaving erratically, resorting to panic shopping, or revising their entire values of material versus immaterial needs.
Legislators are trying to catch up with daily events to accommodate needs, and there’s pain and strain on global supply chains.
In these trying times, where all businesses were brought to a standstill by the pandemic covid-19, it is the innovative, shroud entrepreneurs who think outside the box that will thrive through these times.
In the realm of productivity, we have seen a strong rise in cloud services for collaboration, solutions to minimize paperwork and physical contact, reimbursement apps and digital solutions for accounting, and the growth of contactless devices for an infinite number of environments.
Embracing Technology: with the current barriers to reach every client physically technology plays a bigger role to have continuity in business.
Development of mobile phone applications and online portals through which clients can request for products or services.
Capitalizing on Social media platforms as direct avenues of marketing products and services to potential customers. These platforms also help the business to easily get feedback from its clients.
Delivery Services: In addition to the use of digital systems, businesses need to embrace offering delivery services of their products to the client’s premises. In a situation where a client can’t come to you, you need to go to the client. As the says goes `If Muhammed won’t go to the mountain, then take the mountain to Mohammed.
Effective Communication: Communicating consistently and efficiently would be the secret to preserving the customer relationship. In all situations, marketers will try to establish trust with current and potential customers through constructive contact through email and information directly on their web. In cases where activities or places need to be postponed, companies will consider their long-term relationship with consumers and realize that a refund or rescheduling may be a support point for anyone who can encounter discomfort or inconvenience at those periods.
However, several companies are not silently watching – they have adapted like chameleons to the situation and stretched their brand, reshuffled their production lines, and catered to new needs. They have listened to the market and taken a risk or two, making COVID-19 the main propeller for new growth in some sectors and reviving dormant potential in others
This has opened up new opportunities in various sectors which include:
• Food – fresh groceries and meat, cold storage, high quality foreign food and beverage, cooking appliances.
• Entertainment – gaming industry, new ways of disseminating content and promoting small businesses, online cooking classes, and virtual visits to landmarks.
• Education, sports, and well-being – online fitness classes, Virtual classrooms
• Services industry – enhanced delivery services, remote banking services.
• Healthcare and health technology – pharmaceuticals, supplements, medical devices, personal protective equipment (PPE), telemedicine, online consultations, digital medical assistants, apps and mini-apps, self-diagnosing medical devices.
• Electrical appliances – washing machines and sterilization machines.
This writer, Nataliey Bitature is Simba Group Chief of Staff