Lessons and Opportunities from the Coronavirus Pandemic

After months in lockdown and contemplating how badly the coronavirus is, what lessons and opportunities can be learnt from the pandemic?


The happy and buzzing lives of populations worldwide came to a sudden halt when the coronavirus outbreak hit the world in the middle of February, 2020.

With its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the virus spread across the globe. While no one was expecting to witness such a situation, the coronavirus got everyone spinning on a roller-coaster ride. Lives, economies, businesses, every aspect of life was affected by the pandemic.

A survey by the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA) in partnership with international and supranational organizations reported that:

  • Global trade for the second quarter of 2020 would drop by 27%
  • The tourism sector was predicted to fall by 58% to 78% this year.
  • The education of 1.6 billion learners was disrupted.
  • 40 to 60 million were expected to be pushed to extreme poverty by the end of 2020.

The normal life that people were accustomed to was paused.

Today, after contemplating how badly the pandemic treated us all, we take a look at another aspect of its impact and explore what positive effect the pandemic has on businesses and lives.

Remember, with every dusk there also comes a shining dawn.


Key Lockdown Lessons to Note


We have discussed enough of the negative impact of COVID-19 on business activities, so now let’s talk about the lesser-explored business lessons and opportunities that have arisen.

Here’re key observations, insights, and opportunities the global coronavirus pandemic gave us to reconstruct our businesses:


1. Remote working and digital adaptability


We were all used to getting together under the same roof in workplaces. But now that we are mostly working remotely, managing tasks requires more dedication, communication, transparency, and awareness.

Today, employers from different sectors across the world are encouraging employees to learn new tools to enable smoother processes and communication while working from home. Digital consumption increased during the lockdown.

Meanwhile, apps like Zoom, Slack, Skype, and WhatsApp for communication, as well as apps like Invoicera and Zoho for productivity, cash flow, and workflow management are playing a more significant role in managing and streamlining business processes.

The pandemic quickly conveyed to us something we had been overlooking for a long time; It has enabled us to appreciate and accept digitalization, its convenience, and perks.

Takeaway: Move online and manage staff virtually to enable remote working. That'll help you to:

  • Manage remote staff better
  • Track working hours
  • Speed up approval processes
  • Collaborate in one place safely
  • Enable faster workflow, and
  • Save infrastructure and miscellaneous costs


2. Reality of rapidly changing trends


People have been arguing about the disruption that has been occurring in organizations and business processes for years. But hardly were we looking at the evolving patterns changing those trends, and the subsequent evolving opportunities emerging and necessitating businesses to respond to all of it.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, patterns forcing hitherto flux trends to change again you should take note of might come in the form of a digital disruption for a company, clients’ changing buying behavior, more environmental awareness, and hardening/softening of political sentiments. 

Takeaway: Patterns and sentiments that impact people’s behavior and drive market trends are changing rapidly, including in-house, backend and out-house consumer behavior. This presents an opportunity to grab the new openings so as to stay relevant and in tune with the present changing times in your business.

Offer what your clients seek. For instance, your clients are now preferring to buy and shop online. Therefore, offer them an online shopping platform that is as seamless as your offline store. Offer the best experience anywhere that resonates with the times. Many people sell products but the ones who offer top-tier experiences reach success.


3. Emerging needs from the ‘new normal’


The coronavirus has brought new norms many of which to keep people safe. With the changing patterns of behavior and new norms, people’s needs are also changing. Businesses can and should help people meet these needs and, while at it, possibly also create new revenue streams while doing that.

For example, travel aversion and limited travel means people are mostly spending their time indoors and updating their needs accordingly. While that has hurt some brick and mortar businesses, it has also opened new digital avenues and exciting opportunities for online commerce that are now the ‘new normal.’

Takeaway: It is high time you invest in digital solutions and increase or scale up online engagement, rather than merely focusing on your traditional offline methods for increasing sales. 

  • Offer your clients convenient virtual platforms to connect with your business.
  • Keep them not only engaged and entertained, but also informed during these tough times.
  • Reach out to new leads and offer solutions for present challenges online, while also staying in contact with your loyal customers and clients.


4. Crisis management and resilience planning


The coronavirus pandemic changed the business landscape significantly for better or worse. For example, it sparked and aroused the innate survival instinct of businesses and marketers.

While large corporations and brands might have been comfortable in their old, legacy ways, smaller, emerging, and digital savvy companies led the way and showcased the power of investing in digitalization, agility, innovation, and far-sightedness.

Digital savvy businesses have emerged as trendsetters, demonstrating great crisis management and resilience planning during the pandemic. They have explored and implemented various ways to survive, while managing the impact of the global health crisis.

For example, digital savvy businesses have deployed and are making use of virtual staff management software, digital expense tracking, automated invoicing, virtual approval process, online productivity and time trackers, centralized online communication suites, and more to amplify and bolster their overall management and business processes.

To keep up with the changes happening in the market post-covid, follow the digital savvy brands instead of the rigid, old companies stuck in their ways.

Takeaway: Test your crisis management readiness and resilience measures. It is vital that you invest in the now indispensable digital tools and develop a well-thought out plan to prevent damages coronavirus can bring. The changing business rules and patters might never go back to where they were; they will likely become an integral part of the future.

Activities that businesses used to do are likely to become obsolete, and new strategies will take the lead. That means you must adjust and make amends to this new situation. Have a plan to mitigate the three mains threats a business can face during times like these:

  • Financial loss
  • Reputation loss, and
  • Public safety

Most businesses will work remotely and depend on digital solutions. As such, business survival will increasingly depend on and be powered by online tools and solutions.


In conclusion


Business thrive on uninterrupted and unhindered processes. The coronavirus crisis hindered and interrupted business processes and the old way of doing things. The sooner you understand the importance of making swift adjustments the better.

Integrate your business processes with online platforms and modern software to track, manage, and automate workflows, while also leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and remote working to boost and improve your business operations.

Cloud software, for example, saves both time and costs when introduced into a business' strategy. Automation of invoicing, payment reminders, customized reports, and time tracking enhances your ability to managing staff and the different business activities, while sited comfortably at your workstation rather than being physically on call.

The pandemic also showed us the dark side of what happens when a crisis of massive proportion occurs, and things go wildly wrong. With good planning, strategies, and resilience, however, you can emerge out of dark clouds stronger, more resilient, and better equipped than before.

In the end, the virus was contained and the sun may yet shine again. Use the lessons and opportunities of the pandemic to not only sail through current and future challenging times, but also to emerge victorious as a battle-tested businessperson.

Veronika Tandon is an Invoicing & Financial Consultant working with Invoicera. In her 16 years of experience in the field of finance management, she has been helping businesses to manage expenses, cash flow, and AR & AP to ensure businesses overcome the financial crises. You can reach out to her on Twitter @veronikatondon and Facebook.