• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Reinventing your business after the lockdown

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As businesses begin to reopen across industries, business leaders are coming to a potent realisation – this is not just about the resumption of previous operations, but a completely new beginning for their businesses. A reinvention of their businesses, if you will. This article aims to present some insight and suggest some changes that need to be made to maintain your competitiveness.

In the time during the pandemic, brands have experienced an unprecedented change in their realities; businesses have had to cope with the effects of a sharp reduction in monthly revenues, brought about by a myriad of factors from broken supply chains and increased operational costs, to cancelled projects and events.

Likewise, workers have had to navigate the new, always-on, online workplace environment, bringing discussions about mental health into the Nigerian mainstream. Finally, on the side of the consumer, trust has now become a top-of-mind priority – be it trust that your product or service can be safely consumed, or simply the trust that you are there for them, available to meet their needs. This makes it hard to re-engage your customers once you are back on your feet, and even harder for you to acquire new customers.

In the previous months, businesses have had to evolve overnight to contend with these changes or close down operations due to their inability to immediately conform with new social distancing directives and protocols. In other cases, they have had to take a step back as a cost-control measure, whilst determining the next best course of action, keeping in mind the new ways of working.

As the postponement to the ease of the lockdown continues, businesses are once again coming to the collective realisation that this situation may indeed be the norm for some time to come. With this in mind, business continuity demands that the playing field has to be recalibrated to once again put some control back in the hands of the business owner – online.

Business realities to consider going forward

Some key business considerations should be taken into account once you resume operations.

Meet your customers where they are

  • As consumers avoid physical stores and crowded places, e-commerce is poised to see an uptick in usage. In some cases, this may be mandatory as restrictions will not be eased across all industries for a while. This means you may need to update your website to include an online payment platform to collect card payments. As over 80% of your online audience accesses your site with mobile phones, your website would also need to be mobile-optimised.
  • The Direct-to-consumer (DTC) model of getting rid of the middle-man was already picking up steam before the new normal. Now, the cost and uncertainty of the supply chain during this period has given the added incentive to further secure your “ownership” of the customer by including services such as home delivery and the ability to collect payments online.
  • Put measures in place to easily receive feedback from your customers. Some examples of this include: interacting with your customers within your own social media comments, or sending online receipts for purchases of your product with links to online forms so you can receive feedback on how the transaction went. 
  • Seek to understand and empathize with your audience, taking care to put them into the context of your solutions. You can gain a further understanding of your customer using online CRMs like Hubspot and Bitrix to receive further insight into your customer’s journey across your platforms. You can also automatically keep tabs on them whenever they return to your website with an offer once to reward them for visiting your website.

Keeping your team productive and motivated

  • Change your workflow to a task-based one: Break up the project workload into actionable items that can be designated to individual team members. This incorporates the trust you have requested in your earlier contract. 
  • Re-assess the physical workspace: This covers not just making sure that your team is safe in the workplace, but also takes into consideration measures to reduce work stress. Aim to limit physical contact by introducing flexible shifts, or segmenting key workers who must be physically present from the workers who are able to work remotely.
  • Leverage online tools for enhanced productivity and communications: These online software tools have been perfected over time to allow for teams to work efficiently remotely, at an affordable price (or free!).

Other considerations

  • Reduce the complexity of your product lines or service offerings to focus on your core offerings.
  • Invest in ways to manage and interpret data from your business – operational costs, sales data, marketing data, etc. You can do this by partnering with a digital agency with strong data analytics competencies. Here, they are able to look at the entire spectrum of your value chain with the consumer and use data to find all the parts that lead directly to turning a profit in your business or hitting your non-revenue objectives.
  • Consider opting for variable payment options for services. You can opt for paying monthly rent at a co-working space instead of making a yearly commitment, or paying a small monthly fee for online software, or paying your contractors on a per-project basis, 

As the lockdown slowly eases, it is the best time ever to reinvent and transform your business from the ground up taking advantage of online technologies to make deliberate, and impactful business decisions.

Zubby is a media, marketing, and technology professional with over a decade’s experience leading multinational teams to create winning campaigns, and helping businesses around the world to build and scale their brand.

He began his professional career in the UK, freelancing with top businesses and publishing brands to improve their online identities. He eventually returned home to Nigeria where he’s led cross-functional teams across multiple African markets to execute award-winning campaigns for top tier clients.

He now runs a full-stack marketing and technology business that provides these world-class digital services to businesses on the continent, empowering them to perform competitively on the world stage.