As governments make significant interventions in response to the coronavirus, small and medium enterprises in Pakistan are also rapidly adjusting to the changing needs of their people, customers, and suppliers, while navigating the financial and operational challenges in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
With every industry, business, and country affected due to the Pandemic, the amount of potential change to think through can be, indeed, very daunting.
Today’s businesses are faced with overwhelming, competing challenges, and untested strategies as they continue to navigate their way through the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Out of necessity, businesses around the world have prioritized the present and the “New Normal”, focusing on supporting their people, customers, and suppliers, and adapting to extraordinary steps in response to constant supply chain disruptions.
In parallel, business executives have sought to stabilize revenues and take care of customers, to reshape their businesses, aligning with the ever-evolving demand, and finding newer pathways to growth.
Businesses are rapidly turning their attention to the “Next”, a period of unpredictable and possibly slower economic recovery which will raise numerous new competitive threats and opportunities at a speed that is unimaginable before.
Take an example of Zoom, for instance. Who would have thought that Zoom will become one of the most important communication channels around the world in a matter of days!
What follows will not be a return to pre-COVID business practices, per se, but more likely a decade of the New Normal or even, Never Normal, as the WHO has declared Coronavirus as an Endemic.
It will be a new era defined by fast-changing shifts in cultural norms, transformations in societal values and behaviours, such as increased demand for responsible business practices and renewed brand purpose.
Against this backdrop, leaders also face the urgency and complexity of reopening their businesses. To minimize uncertainty, reopening their businesses also require a program of reinvention.
This presents an opportunity for many companies to build the competencies they wish they’d invested in before – to be more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; to have more flexible structures and automation; to create stronger capabilities in e-commerce and security.
This adaptation will be essential for the long-term capabilities that they will build. Businesses should consider the steps they take to reopen as the first in a long journey of wider transformation.
“Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.”
Organizations globally are experiencing several disruptions at any given point in time along with an unprecedented scale and speed. Virtually all companies are still determining how we will work in the short- and long-term, since the virus hasn’t even peaked yet, especially in Pakistan.
But speed is of the essence, as the businesses try to function and perform while struggling to cope with what is happening on a daily basis.
People across the industries are rising to the challenge, helping people and organizations to navigate the workforce, addressing the urgent need to transform to a remote workforce, serving each other for a collective benefit.
Plans, for any organization, need to be fit-for-purpose today. It does not need to be perfect. Even a trial-and-error will work since these times are extraordinary and we need something extraordinary to function to the optimal level. No one has experienced such a pandemic before, so matter what we do, either we will be successful or we will learn more from our mistakes.
However, even today, global health priorities and the economic environment is rapidly changing. Businesses, governments, people, and NGOs, all play an extremely critical role in establishing a human-centred, system-minded approach that promotes shared workforce resilience and tenacity.
This is not a one-time process nor it is an everyday job. It requires the development of persistent capabilities and relationships across all the stakeholders. CEOs and leaders are on the front line of this response, equipped with the advanced technologies and intelligence that they will need to help navigate these sudden, massive workforce shifts.
Along with these enormous shifts to a conventional, typical business model, businesses need to find faster and efficient ways to seek opportunities in terms of digital transformation. A pandemic may not last forever, hopefully, but the opportunities created by it, may last eternally. And the heart of these solutions lies in e-commerce.
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has forced us, the businesses and enterprises, to move at unprecedented speed to serve our customers with quality while also caring for our employees with compassion.
Businesses are re-evaluating how to work as a remote agency, how will the employees deliver relevant customer experiences, where they work, and how digital channels and technologies can be used to support business continuity through the crisis and beyond.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed our experiences ― as customers, employees, citizens, humans ― forever, resulting in an ever-evolving customer buying behaviour. The crisis is fundamentally changing how and what consumers want or need and this is accelerating the much-needed structural changes immensely.
Once the immediate threat of the virus has passed, companies will need to consider the impact of these changes on the way we design, communicate, build, and run the experiences that people want and need.
Businesses need to carefully evaluate their line of work, structural changes, industry-wide transformations, consumer patterns, and transforming the working environment before they even begin to work on their products or services.
With these emerging new behaviours, businesses also have an opportunity to accelerate the pivot to digital commerce or e-commerce, by expanding existing offerings and creating new lines of service, like the retailers working to provide a “contactless” delivery option.
If there’s one sector that has not taken a toll in this pandemic is retail. But the question remains of whether the conventional brick-and-mortar retail is still viable today or not. Businesses that have not yet realized this, will need to step up their game. The rise of e-commerce is inevitable.
This acceleration of retail transformation will force organizations to revisit, revamp, and even reimagine their digital strategies to capture new marketplace opportunities and digital customer segments. The core of this structural change will ultimately be small businesses.
With the COVID-19 crisis, fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, supply chains, and routes to market are knocking companies off the balance. Responding to the pandemic has shown the need for the businesses to accelerate the adoption of extraordinary ways of working and transformation to help minimize uncertainty.
Becoming a Smart Enterprise means shifting from top-down decision-making to a decentralized one, empowering teams guided by purpose, driven by data, powered by technology, and enabled by Cloud to outrun the competitors. This is where small businesses, with their personalized approach, can make a mark.
It calls for the rigid, conventional structures to transform completely.
Now, more than ever before, e-commerce and small businesses are critical for every country in the world. The business community, as a whole, should work collectively to transform digitally and to help our small businesses. They need our support, not sympathy.
Companies NEED to develop a rapid response to address current disruptions and to repurpose and reshape for the future by increasing both resilience and responsibility.
Hence, RLTSquare is working round-the-clock to provide business opportunities for small businesses to go digital. Together we can transform it. Together we can overcome it. Together we can fight it. Together We Keep Our Small Strong!