Four Factors To Ensure Business Continuity Through The COVID-19 Crisis Businesses should approach the challenge from two different dimensions: mitigate the current impact of the problem, and prepare for the next stage of it.

By Rakan Alfadalah Originally published

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As entrepreneurs, when it comes to tackling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on our businesses, we should approach the challenge from two different dimensions: mitigate the current impact of the problem, and prepare for the next stage of it. Survival is the main challenge for many businesses, yet dealing with the uncertainty is the biggest burden for entrepreneurs. Keeping this in mind, here are the factors that you need to be keeping an eye on as you lead your enterprise through these challenging times:

1. CUT DOWN EXPENSES During this crisis, all entrepreneurs should restructure their resources, costs, and expenses based on the current situation. For example, cut marketing and advertising activities that target acquiring new customers, and focus instead on marketing that is related to existing customers- the aim should be to satisfy all of their needs without compromising the quality of the service or the product. Another thing you could do in terms of restructuring expenses is to cut down on the branches or locations that you are working from in order to reduce operational costs, and instead, try to focus on serving your geographical area from centralized and controlled hubs. While you should avoid touching the salaries of your employees unless only as a last measure to prevent bankruptcy, restructuring financial benefits such as bonuses, overtime, or other financial rewards is something that you should seriously look into. After all, your team should understand that the sustainability of the business is as important as their salaries, and as such, a reconsideration of all other financial benefits will be needed to reduce the stress on the company's shoulders.

2. FOCUS ON DELIVERABLE PRODUCTS With the coronavirus pandemic resulting in people staying at home as much as possible, all businesses need to figure out ways to move their products' accessibility away from points of sale, and transform them to be delivery-focused instead. This can be easily seen in the F&B domain right now- I've witnessed deliveries being done of meals from an a-la-carte menu, as well as packages of ingredients for people to cook at home. From a different angle, services can also be delivered using video-conferencing platforms, with business professionals working remotely and using tech to provide their offerings to customers. By transforming products and services on a delivery methodology, businesses can create new revenues streams that might reduce the negative impact of the crisis on their businesses.

3. REDISTRIBUTE RESOURCES In certain circumstances, some businesses may face different types of difficulties that can be mitigated by changing the tasks of the working teams, and thus ensure business continuity is not interrupted. For example, if a curfew is underway in a particular area and an employee can't do his job for that reason, the company management must ensure that tasks are redistributed among the team that is handling operations. In such scenarios, centralizing the work location and having the whole team together there is a good tactic to make use of, as it will also help limit the spaces being used for an enterprise's operations, thereby maintaining the level of hygiene and cleanliness needed, and also helping avoid infections as much as possible.

4. THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION This is the best time to understand how important digital transformation is for any business. After all, having an online point of sale and being accessible to customers remotely has saved many businesses from inevitable losses. Transforming business and operational processes and moving toward automation are other important solutions that will help enterprises battle against the crisis' negative scenarios. Digital transformation is a big and critical challenge on its own, so building this strategy will not only help against this crisis, but it will also work toward the sustainability of the business.

Related: Rethinking Business: A Look At How Some Enterprises In Dubai Are Transforming Themselves In Response To the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rakan Alfadalah

Co-founder, Chocolateness

Rakan Alfadalah is the co-founder of Kuwait-based Chocolateness.

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