On April 13th, 2020, the Nigerian government announced another 14-day lockdown; 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 their company’s continued existence and position in the marketplace.

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.


1. What new market opportunities should we consider paying attention to?

The market is changing rapidly, new business models are emerging, especially in health, logistics, automation, entertainment, retail, and education; there is a rising demand for big data solutions for public well-being, especially for tracking, analysing, and supporting timely public decision-making. Offline-driven businesses realise 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 an increase in health and hygiene consciousness. New variables define brand trust and loyalty, there is a rise in survival shopping, and consumers choose 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 leads to changes in consumer behaviour that smart business managers will need to leverage to stay ahead.


3. Are there new capabilities in the marketplace that we can integrate into our operations to improve our competitive advantage?

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 that can cut operational costs and hire top talent that was previously not geographically available. Managers can use webinars and e-Learning solutions in place of physical workshops to increase the number of attendance and reduce the cost of physically organising training. Can video conferencing be used where possible instead of physical meetings? Can we use online consultation and scheduling apps to optimise client management?

COVID 19 will continue to lead to innovations and increased adoption of existing innovation; businesses will need to constantly think about leveraging 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 sanitisers the list goes on. Due to COVID 19, some verticals are now obsolete 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 temporarily or permanently pivot and leverage new opportunities.

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

Will you panic or thrive?

The choice is yours.