Coronavirus Challenges and Solutions for SMEs
Corona Virus has spread in every nook and cranny of the world. The death toll is rising exponentially and global markets are plummeting like never before. Governments have ordered a total lock down and asked citizens to self-quarantine themselves by staying back in their homes. While from a health perspective this is a good step, it has serious business implications. Businesses, especially SMEs cannot withstand the state of financial turmoil for so long. This article talks about the key challenges that SMEs are facing in the Coronavirus crisis and ways businesses could .
Key Challenges for SMEs during Coronavirus
1. Limited or no online presence
Generally speaking, SMEs have limited online presence. They rely more on manual methods of working, but current circumstances don’t permit that. When the whole world is working from home, and when governments have formulated strict regulations for anyone venturing out on the streets, you cannot afford to run your business in the old fashioned way. Say, for instance, you run a chain of restaurants in the city and rely on customers who show up daily. But due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the incoming traffic is nil. You will have to change according to the circumstances. Sign up for an online delivery service to get the food delivered at your doorstep.
2. Less exposure to remote working
Due to the Corona Virus crisis, companies across the globe have asked their employees to work from home. This is why remote working has emerged as a formidable solution to fight the virus. As far as SMEs are concerned, it is a fairly new concept that requires proper planning and implementation. SMEs should understand that remote working technology will help them to stay connected with their geographically dispersed teams 24/7, share documents and files instantly, resolve customer queries at a moment’s notice, and keep a watch over business processes from the factory floor without the involvement of onsite workers.
3. Difficulty in keeping clients
Companies of all sizes – big and small are struggling to keep their clients. Though big companies can keep themselves afloat during times of crisis, the same does not apply for SMEs. They survive on regular cash inflow. But when people are more inclined to save money, expecting them to buy your products and pay for your services with the same vigor is a pipe-dream. SMEs should prepare a list of vulnerable clients and offer a bail-out package in the form of late payments or discounts to keep clients in their books.
How SMEs Can Solve Coronavirus Challenges?
Coronavirus has spread across the globe. The number of positive cases and deaths are rising exponentially. To save the onslaught, governments across the globe have enforced complete lock down. This has helped bring down the rate of spread of the virus but it has negatively affected the global economy. Every industry has come to a standstill.
1. Focus on the big picture
Companies don’t update their knowledge about the crisis on a daily basis. And when they do, they believe too much on hyped news. This leads to analysis paralysis that doesn’t allow them to respond effectively to the challenges at hand. It’s important for companies to gather information periodically from relevant sources, not miss weak signals, and not become over flushed with ‘Breaking News’. They should keep their eyes on the big picture and how conditions are evolving with time.
2. Listen to multiple experts
Each epidemic is unique. It comes with its own set of problems. The same goes for COVID-19. As of writing this article, there is no vaccine to shield us from it. Epidemiologists, virologists, public health experts and institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) are fighting against this disease. To curb the spread of the virus, they release health measures from time-to-time, though with a little variation. Companies should keep their ears open to various expert opinions and adopt an empirical approach before taking any decision.
3. If need be, don’t hesitate to change your decisions
Relying on previous data to make decisions is a good thing. But it can often become the source of inertia. This happens because managers don’t want to look indecisive by taking decisions contrary to their initial assumptions. But in a constantly changing scenario, such as the Corona Virus pandemic, such situations arise endlessly.
Opinions by experts change at a rapid pace. This is where managers need to adopt flexibility. They need to learn how to phase out redundant decisions and make commitments based on current information.
4. Become resilient
The world has gone through many ups and downs and each one of them has taught us something new. The recent addition to the list is the Corona Virus. Following are the 4 ways that companies can adopt to become resilient by learning how to thrive and beat the odds:
- Have multiple sources for fulfilling your material needs
- Have additional manufacturing facilities to deal with production shortage
- Build ad-hoc systems where separate units can be combined in different ways instead of building integrated systems that fail due to knock-on effects
- Build systems that can upgrade at a moment’s notice with regards to new developments and evolving conditions
5. Distill learning from the pandemic
Out of all the points mentioned above, this is the most important. It is for sure that sooner or later, the pandemic is going to end. And once it does, companies should perform root-cause analysis to distill the learning. This will bring to the fore many challenges that organizations have been going through. It will throw light on the inability of the senior management to make hard decisions or their more than required affinity to please the consensus. It’s very important to learn the lessons and prepare for a post-corona world.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused much bad to the world at large – be it public health or economy. But like other pandemics in the past such as SARS and MERS, we will sooner or later find a cure. Businesses need to be resilient in times of change and prepare themselves for a post-Corona world. This is where we can help you. At Sage, we are home to industry-leading CRM systems and ERP platforms that enable you to communicate with your clients proactively and help your business stay agile. To know more about them, SMS SAGE to 56767. You can also write to us at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: All the information, views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and their respective web sources and in no way reflect the principles, views or objectives of Sage Software Solutions (P) Ltd.