The effects of the COVID-19 (that’s short for coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic have only just started. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, job losses and all the other headline-grabbing consequences will have far reaching effects in ways we simply cannot predict. In hindsight we’ll look back and say “Why did we not see all this coming?” Well, obviously we knew a serious global pandemic might happen. Goodness knows, there were plenty of examples from the past and plenty of people sounding warnings about the possibility of hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths. Deaths were to be expected. It’s the unexpected side effects of what we are doing to combat the spread of the virus that are so difficult to predict. The reduction in air travel was to be expected, but who’d have thought they’d see airline pilots driving tractors, that hotels would become detention centres, that universities would be facing ruin as a result? We can expect the unexpected. And that makes it very difficult to know what we can do to keep our businesses going.
The acceleration of the move to online business will continue, however that’s just impractical for many. An on-line cleaning service won’t work, nor an on-line shearing contractor. Advertising in the print media and on radio and TV has become less attractive due to the high costs. More and more businesses are diverting spending towards online advertising instead of the traditional newspapers and magazines because on-line ads and website maintenance give much more return for the investment. I for one, cannot remember when I bought a magazine last and I used to spend a lot on magazines.
If you have a small to medium sized business and you don’t have a website then you will fail. Most certainly you will fail. If you do have a website but it was built a long time ago or built by yourself and it’s not that great then you need help or you will be overlooked and most likely within a year you’ll be gone too. If you have a good website, kept really up-to-date and you really look after the website visitors with great service and popular products then most likely you will muddle through this crisis. For example, if your website focus is on foreign visitors then that’s a problem and you need to re-focus it on the domestic market. Foreign visitors in previous numbers are not coming back any time soon. And so it goes. Profound are changes emerging everywhere you look.
So, what should you do besides pray? Obviously you need to take a long, hard look at your business and really, praying won’t help. It’s no use blaming anyone, complaining that you aren’t being treated fairly or feeling sorry for yourself. Face the facts and take action, not tomorrow, not next week or next month, but now! The gates to business survival are rapidly shutting, hour by hour. Unforeseen events and consequences will unfold before your eyes and you’ll need to be super quick on your feet. Put all the energy you have into making decisions and acting now. Do not run down the rabbit hole, waiting until the world returns to normal. We are already in the new “normal”.
The introductory question is nearly impossible to answer. But you should know that what you’ve always done in the past will not be enough, this time.