On April 13th, 2020 the Nigerian government announced another 14 days lock-down, the dire reality is that after this extension there is no certainty that the lockdown will not be extended because the variables that led us to this point are still unchanged. For most business managers this is causing a lot of uncertainty, they understand that how they respond to the crises will decide the continued existence of their company and their position in the market place.

To develop and execute a cohesive strategy to survive the impact of the pandemic, business managers will need to change their approach and ask the right questions.

Instead of approaching the crisis from “it is all bleak and dark, what do we do to survive”, they will need to approach it from the perspective of opportunity, “the business environment is changing rapidly can we leverage this crisis to become dominant players in our market or increase our market share”.

As cliché as it might sound, in every crisis, there is an opportunity, the team at 54 Gene a biotech company based in Nigeria are a poster child for this school of thought, amidst the economic slowdown they raised $500,000 for a fund aimed at improving Nigeria’s capacity to carry out tests for COVID-19.

To thrive amidst this crisis business managers will need to ask the right questions such as.

1. What are the new market opportunities that we should pay attention to?

The market is changing rapidly, new business models are emerging, especially in sectors such as health, logistics, automation, entertainment, retail, and education; there is a rising demand for big data solutions for public well-being, especially for tracking, analyzing, and supporting timely public decision-making. Offline-driven businesses are realizing that they need to shift online completely or partially. There are new demands across different sectors that will need to be met, will you respond to them or continue business as usual.

2. Are there changes in consumer behaviour that we can leverage?

There is an increase in the adoption of online shopping and Digital platforms that aid brand engagement and interaction. There is heightened price sensitivity and increase in health and hygiene consciousness, brand trust and loyalty is being defined by new variables, there is a rise in survival shopping and consumers are choosing availability over brand loyalty. The reality is that millions of consumers are experiencing the impact of the crisis on their finances and way of life, this is leading to changes in consumer behaviour that smart business managers will need to leverage in other to stay ahead

3. Are there new capabilities in the market place that we can integrate into our operations to improve our competitive advantage or operational efficiency?

There has been a significant improvement in Logistics and delivery solutions, can it be integrated into your operations to reach more customers. There is an increase in the adoption of remote working technologies can it be leveraged to cut down on operational cost and hire top talent that was previously not geographical available. Webinars and e-Learning solutions can it be used in place of physical workshops to increase the number of attendance and reduce the cost of physically organizing training. Can video conferencing be used where possible instead of physical meetings? Can we use online consultation and scheduling apps to optimize client management?

COVID 19, is and will continue to lead to new innovations and increased adoption of existing innovation, businesses will need to constantly think about how they can leverage these innovations to improve their operational process and competitive advantage.

4. Do we need to pivot, if yes to what?

Recently hotels across the world are temporarily pivoting and converting their rooms to quarantine facilities, car manufactures are producing ventilators, some breweries are now producing disinfectants and sanitizers the list goes on. Due to COVID 19, some verticals are now obsolete or have or will experience a steep reduction in accounting profit temporarily or permanently. Business managers will need to access the value propositions of their firms and the market forces at play to decide to temporarily or permanently pivot and leverage new opportunities.

The reality is that while most business panic, some will thrive.

Will you panic or thrive?

The choice is yours.

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