When one door closes, another opens—and entrepreneurs who keep this mantra in mind are more likely to remain on top once the world has moved beyond the novel COVID-19 pandemic. What can business owners and other entrepreneurs do to adapt to a consistently shifting set of circumstances?
Identify and Adapt to New Market Needs
COVID-19 has majorly reshaped the way Americans go about many parts of their everyday lives, from grocery delivery to telemedicine. Some consumers have expressed their preference for many aspects of the "new normal," particularly those that provide greater convenience or allow them to spend time focusing on more pressing matters. This means that if you're still trapped in the "business as usual" rut six months or more into this pandemic, it may be time to make some changes.
If you're able to identify new market needs among the demographics you serve, you may find that your business is uniquely well-positioned to meet these needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies that adapt and find ways to meet their customers where they are, rather than where they were pre-COVID, are the most likely to thrive in the post-pandemic economy.
Get Out of Survival Mode
Nationwide shelter-in-place orders in early 2020 sent many entrepreneurs scrambling to find a way to stay afloat amid an uncertain future. But as the pandemic now appears to be in for the long haul, it's time to break out of "survival mode" and begin to make the types of long-term decisions that are a key part of the entrepreneurial package. By planning your next moves now, even if the situation continues to evolve, you'll be in a better spot to make tough decisions down the road.
Revisit Your Business Expenses
Keeping your business model as lean as possible may help entrepreneurs avoid some of the potential problems plaguing companies with hefty overhead and operating expenses. Ask yourself questions like the following:
- Does it make sense to have a more remote (or entirely remote) workforce?
- If so, can office space be permanently relinquished?
- Can senior staff cover some duties normally handled by other staffers?
- Can the product catalog be streamlined?
- Can certain non-key roles or duties be outsourced?
For example, it may make more sense to use outside agencies to hire new staff, deliver products, or collect outstanding payments so that your paid staff can concentrate on more value-added duties.
Troubleshoot Supply Chain Issues
Between pandemic-fueled travel disruptions and panic-fueled runs on certain supplies, supply chains were under unprecedented strain during the first half of 2020. But now, six months into the pandemic, if supply chain issues still haven't improved, it may be time to make some more permanent changes. This is even more true if you weren't entirely happy with a certain vendor's service or response time before COVID, as the pandemic is unlikely to improve matters.
Many entrepreneurs have recommitted to using local suppliers where possible or using several different suppliers for an in-demand product to provide a hedge against unforeseen disruptions.