Politics 18:56 15/07/2020 Armenia

Covid-19: A bridge for business opportunities

Author Azganush Mnatsakanyan

The coronavirus pandemic has left no industry untouched. The impact of coronavirus has been felt globally bringing its own challenges for businesses. But now, as the lockdowns lift, businesses are thinking about their next moves returning to the new “normal”as it’s clear that “hope” is not a strategy.

Besides the collateral and anticipated damage of the Covid-19 pandemic some industries are thriving in the face of crisis. In the short run, companies focusing on the exchange of goods and ideas without actual in-person interaction like Amazon, Cisco, Zoom, Netflix, GrubHub, UberEats are positioned very well and have an increase in stock. In some cases the crisis made our most urgent problems and their potential solutions more obvious. That is how board-game, puzzle companies, online shops or wine stores benefited by filling the spare time during lockdown. But let’s have a look at the opportunities that coronavirus impact could bring in the long run.

Crisis creates new needs –which can be solved!
The virus disrupted our way of life and work, and created all sorts of new marketplaces.  The remote working style lays ground for a wider variety of videoconferencing and workflow systems, which can be a perfect opportunity for a new wave of startups. The digital infrastructure is affected by comparably more internet usage, which might lead to new investments in cloud computing, digital processing, etc. Not only being limited by tech there have already been tons of new solutions in the healthcare industry, but still there is a need for more healthcare innovations.

Tackling short-term challenges and boosting entrepreneurial potential could help to speed up the recovery and preserve aggregate employment in the long-term. This may occur through different margins like keeping start-ups alive and boosting the growth of young firms. There have already been coronavirus-themed hackathons proving  how wonderful it is when people virtually offer solutions and bring their experience to the table. A Berlin-based startup “Suncrafter” came up with a “hand-washing” solution using ultraviolet light to do the disinfecting which addresses the waste of disinfecting materials. Another example is  Vermont-based startup OhMD- a  telehealth platform, centered around texting, for better communication between medical providers, doctors and patients. This basically helps doctors to save lives. There are also a lot of startups helping corporations to keep in touch with their team and customers like The Call List- interactive video plugin, Kustomer-omnichannel SaaS platform specialized in customer service. The list can go on, the lesson here is to make use of the opportunity, as you can make money, offer employment and meanwhile help the society and the world.

Service-based businesses in high demand
As the era of social distancing won’t be over any time soon, service-based businesses that require little or no person-to-person contact will have extraordinary opportunities to thrive. Despite the current economic  downturn it’s gonna be an excellent time to launch or prosper businesses that will flourish  for years. It will include commercial cleaning services, which will be essential for businesses like gyms and salons to bring their customers back in the door. Office-based businesses will also need it, because if one of the employees tests positive they would like to have a cleaning service handy.

As remote work in many companies becomes widespread and normalized, IT and cybersecurity consulting will keep business data secure. Companies will do everything in their capacity to have permanent secure solutions. Social isolation will result also in more virtual personal trainings and teletherapies or errand services, because people will not only need food deliveries, but other everyday services, which they wouldn’t like to do especially if they’re old or at a high-risk group.

Crisis changes the rules — for the better!
Before COVID-19, you couldn’t talk to your doctor over Zoom or FaceTime or walk into a local restaurant and get a cocktail to go. Now you can. Why? Because there’s no other way or maybe the law has changed or it’s much safer. There are numerous examples like these, when the sudden change in the social rules made life easier for everybody. As a result many businesses tried to find new ways to reach their clients and come up with innovative solutions.

 As L.P. Hartley says “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” So the small change is having a ripple effect and it’s unlikely that people would like to go back to the past when cocktails-to-go and virtual doctors already feel “normal”. We’ve entered a world where you should take the opportunity when you see it. If you notice that there is a need for something or it could be done better or in a different way, just go for it! Create a value for people and make them love you! To show different perspectives of business during the Covid-19 you can have a look at some business strategies from Armenia, where the impact of the coronavirus has also been huge.

Remote and digital becomes strategic
The trend of working remotely is experiencing a major boost as businesses shift to digital channels and more people avoid physical gatherings. Restructuring the communication, socialization and coordination processes in the right way makes the remote work very effective.  Before Covid-19 ProDigi  Digital Marketing Agency had lots of clients on a local level. However, coronavirus created an atmosphere, where marketing services became high in demand on the international market.  People keep social distancing and try to hire services online, so it doesn’t matter if your digital agency is based in your own country or nestled somewhere in the Caucasus.

Many businesses are fighting to survive and digital marketing happens to be an essential part of their recovery. The increased use of social media has been instrumental in driving the growth of the market. Retailers’ online channels are experiencing unprecedented demand. As a result most of the companies try to maintain or increase their presence in the digital world. They work on their website performance, social media platforms and refer to marketing agencies to help them. This is the case when the services of the company suddenly  become very high in demand and the company should work hard to keep its place in the market.

Less competition = more market share
You’ll find that during economic crisis there is less competition. In some cases this means that you can get deals like a potential reduction in pay-per-click advertising. As the market continues to decline, many companies will struggle to pay their debts, which means they might go bankrupt, get bought out or get bailed out by the government. While the coronavirus pandemic presents business risks in some areas, it also offers opportunities in others. As a marketer or entrepreneur, the key is to explore the possibilities while acknowledging the potential risks. In the case of Digital Caramel advertising company, the opportunity kicked in when one of the main competitors dropped out of the market. It was a sign to redouble the efforts and get more market share. Marketers from Digital Caramel also mention that many new customers were attracted away because of the competitors’ low performance during coronavirus. And staying loyal to your advertising agency when it doesn’t meet your needs is not a sure-fire strategy.

Building foundations for the future
While many businesses try to meet the ends to survive, others which have been immensely disrupted by Covid-19 prepare their business for a post-pandemic world. Of course, if they came out strong and survived! Facing external pressures, some business leaders are stepping out of their routines and comfort zones to become creative problem-solvers.

 The sad reality is that the collapse of the tourist economy bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus operators, car rental agencies- and threw an estimated 100 million people out of work. Overnight much of the world went from over-tourism to no tourism, but the human cultural curiosity cannot be expunged. That’s why travel agents are highly sure that we will continue to travel-although it might not be the same as before. What is the right strategy for tourist companies now? The business lesson from Arara travel agency is to prepare the team and the company for post-covid-19 travel. It includes a deep market research introducing new products and travel tendencies, which was always difficult to manage because of the ongoing working processes. Working on the online performance is vital for the upcoming reality. A whole set of new complications will affect the way people need travel agents by their side.

Recruiting and Prospecting in every field
Another tendency that many business owners focus on during this time: recruitment. It’s  easier to identify people who have been laid off  from heavily hit industries, and employ fresh minds not only from your own industry . During the crisis, it’s potentially even easier to access recruits because nearly everyone is at home. You never know who might be looking for a new job, and with nearly the entire nation stuck at home, companies are much more likely to reach potential recruits or as many say “steal great people” while they practice isolation. Is there a talent on the market that you could finally employ that you never could before? Is there a customer that you could go after now that never would have been open, but now might take your call? Now is the time.


Source Panorama.am
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