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7 Steps for Businesses to Survive the Coronavirus

7 Steps for Businesses to Survive the Coronavirus

Date : Jun 10, 2020

To rise above tough situations is what makes mankind so special. And the COVID-19 pandemic is indeed an unprecedented situation that has forced businesses to re-think their marketing and profitability strategies, so that they can deal with the sudden decline in demand in a positive manner. Owing to lockdowns, an uncertain employment scenario and several safety measures in place, it is time to stay calm and evaluate your business and its possibilities in a whole new light.

So, are you looking for coronavirus survival tips for businesses? These strategies from Iris Management should help.

  1. Analyse your finances and take necessary action – The big question is, for how long can business owners pay bills and wages on time? Well, pragmatism is the need of the hour—while anxiety is understandable, the senior management of any company must make financial decisions with wisdom and empathy.

So, conduct a judicious assessment first. List down your fixed and variable costs and determine all areas you can cut back on. Eliminate unnecessary expenditure, and focus only on essentials. This will free up more working capital. Don’t just track your own bills—follow up on vendor repayments, or any customers who owe you for your services.

Unless absolutely essential, avoid downsizing. These are difficult times for all, and employees who feel supported, can bring a lot to the table. Experienced staff can manage combined workloads, while junior employees, who are energetic, can deliver a high degree of passion and commitment—perhaps, even innovation—during this crisis.


If a department isn’t essential for daily operations, consider sending its employees on furlough. Look at new sources of funding, or explore bank loans (e.g. instant cash loans, invoice discounting, and working capital loans). Traditional lenders might be wary of disbursing loans, but many fintech firms are willing to release funds in smaller amounts with flexible repayment periods. However, be sure of your repayment capacity, as you surely don’t want to get saddled with multiple debts.


  1. Track government relief measures – Countries that are severely impacted by the coronavirus have announced many relief measures to ease the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. Some are highly publicised, while others can be found in unpromoted notices on official websites. From moratoriums on loans, tax waivers and loan schemes, to grants and aids, various welfare measures exist that a business can capitalise on. So, keep yourself updated, note all aid helplines and eligibility criteria, and apply as needed.


  1. Amend your organizational policies – You might have an existing crisis management policy, but it must be tweaked frequently, and according to every new situation. Since the coronavirus outbreak is novel, going by the book might not be the best idea. Instead, write a new chapter.


Follow government guidelines on health and safety, and incorporate them into your manufacturing, handling, and delivery processes. While profits are important, you must pay enough attention to employee welfare too.

Implement remote work policies if your daily functions can be location-neutral. For essential service workers, ensure the availability of protective gear like face masks, sanitisers, face shields, bodysuits and separate changing and disposal areas. Avoid all unnecessary gatherings, and shift all in-person communications to secure digital platforms.

  1. Communicate with your customers –Messaging during these times must be kind, crisp and consistent. If you’re open for business, let your regular customers—and any prospects—know. In case you’ve decided to temporarily close operations, inform them of that as well. Relay all changes in a formal yet empathetic manner and explain how it is in everyone’s best interest.

    To boost outreach, social media is the way to go. Despite closing operations, consumers should be able to recall your brand with ease. Maintain interest with creative and compelling content that is focused on enquiries and building brand reputation. If you want to refresh inventory, modify communications to include clearance sales, exclusive offers, and BOGO-style deals that can be fulfilled by delivery. If there is a deadline as to when your business might return to normal, highlight it on major communications.

Show solidarity, and share valuable information with your target audience. In case your team has limited resources or marketing knowledge, consult an agency. Seasoned professionals can relieve business owners from the hassles of ideation and clear up space for more central decision making.


  1. Spend time on introspection – While most businesses are likely to remain a little slow, in some cases, they might stagnate for some time too. Working from home offers more time for scrutiny, and so, instead of worrying about missed targets, it’s better to use the extra time to think about the way forward. How can you improve existing practices? Is there any core philosophy or competency that needs restructuring?

Revisit your policies, marketing strategies, employee tactics and product/service catalogue to identify areas of improvement. Locate your profit and growth centres, and areas showing continued deficits. Help your employees to improve their skills with online modules, webinars and remote training courses to fill in any knowledge gaps. You could even consider leadership courses to improve your abilities as the face of the company.


  1. Explore alternative channels – What can you tweak in the sales funnel to retain customers? Conduct research on competing brands in your segment to find out what’s working and what isn’t. The ecommerce landscape is witnessing a surge in demand for example. So, online sales and partnering with delivery apps seem to be clear winners.

Restaurants can recover losses using delivery, drive-through or take-out options, while fitness centres can design staggered workout and diet plans to reel in customers of all ages. Find your silver lining—even if it’s unheard of—and see how you can leverage it. You might become an opinion leader in your category too!


  1. Innovate – Is there anything new you can bring to the table that can support not just you, but your entire niche? We don’t just mean direct sales, but also community drives for the greater good. For instance, certain Michelin-starred restaurants turned their under-utilised spaces into meal kitchens. Unilever and Louis Vuitton have repurposed their manufacturing facilities to produce hand sanitisers.

To round off, a company’s agility and ability of meeting product shortages can build goodwill and brand reputation. Newer forms of manufacturing can also provide employment to displaced factory workers and others who have faced layoffs. During a crisis, being part of the solution is essential. Though they’re not part of your central revenue plan, they can present new opportunities to sustain operations.

All in all, stay calm and look at the big picture. Your focus as an entrepreneur right now should be to keep things running with minimal impact on your staff and customers. While Iris offers management consulting in UAE, we can also schedule online consultations with clients across the world. So, get expert opinion on business consulting and devise bespoke strategies that will help your company to emerge as a success when times improve.