Surviving the COVID Crisis: Diversifying & Adapting
Whether it’s the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, or Africa, every part of the globe is feeling the ill effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in practically every sector of our global economy have been negatively impacted in some manner. Whether sales are down, employees have been either furloughed or laid off, or supply chains disrupted, what used to be the normal everyday navigation for most businesses is now completely uncharted.
Although monetary and fiscal programs have helped tremendously to alleviate this sudden shock and ultimately, allowed for the survival of some businesses, others will be either forced to close or declare bankruptcy. However, for those businesses that will survive this period of economic turmoil, their business model will likely be forever changed. The goal of the changed model should be focused not only on continuing to provide either the best product or service for their consumer but also maintaining sustainable levels of profitability. Organically, this period will push business owners to dig deep within themselves to continuously innovate. Innovate by way of diversification and adaptability to sustain their business’ growth and ultimately, the long-term success of their business.
Diversification is one of many elements aiding business growth. Specifically, differentiation focuses on either expanding or varying the range of products or services. For example, differentiation of a business might be reflected in the form of related products and/or services, added value products and/or services, or even adding a completely different line of products and/or services. In other words, any tactics that allow a business to either change or provide more than one line of their products or services.
Businesses that were accustomed to repeating similar behavior, absent of change by way of same products, same services, same sales efforts, same pricing, same customer service, will most likely find themselves in the back of the pack rather than leading the pack.
It’s in moments such as these black swans, when business owners must, more than ever, bring themselves back to their entrepreneurial spirit of when they first opened their business. You must ask yourself, “Who am I helping?”, “How am I helping them?”, and “What is the result?” The exercise will not only ground one in the initial purpose of their business but also bring forward ways in which the answers to these questions have perhaps changed due to the existing environment of the consumer. Rather than “business as usual,” a new model will couple the old with the new. Ultimately, allowing one to re-center on current business practices while capitalizing on the existing business environment, which will lead to differentiation and uniqueness within the target market of that particular business.
While diversification is important, adaptation is another key factor, which is equally important in future success of a business. In today’s rapidly changing world, adaptation in business means adapting to the local and global environment, altering business operations to the market forces, modifying existing products and services to meet the needs that are suitable for either prospective or current customers, and evolving new and different markets.
In many parts of the world, stay-at-home and isolation policies are in effect that force businesses to either adapt to the current situation or shut down because of a lack of business. Businesses that understand the need for adaptation and learn how to adapt will build a stronger foundation for the future.
The Path Forward
Out of despair and failure, different business models emerge that would never have been considered just a few short months ago. It’s certainly not an easy task and absolutely not one that every business owner will be able to master on their own. It will take thought, ingenuity, researching other business practices alongside discussions with your team of employees. However, the short-term loss of changing your business model will provide long-term success to those who are persistent and most importantly, have confidence in themselves to succeed. Will all ideas be successful? Will all businesses attempting innovation by way of marketing, operating, or financing efforts not fail? Absolutely not. Yet, more likely than not, the status quo unfortunately will not be enough to sustain the multitude of businesses feeling the impact of this Covid Crisis. Believing and failing is better than not having tried at all. Failure is not defeat, it’s the ultimate lesson by providing you the opportunity to become even more successful as you’re now one step closer to your ultimate goal.