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The past few months have certainly been challenging for business owners as they are left stupefied by how much virtually everything changed within a few short weeks. The COVID-19 crisis reaped havoc throughout the world, leaving almost nobody or sector unaffected. My company, Blue Horizon Developments Co., Ltd., and all that it encompasses also took a hit, partly due to the lockdown in Phuket that forced operations to temporarily halt, and also due to the global financial situation that contributed to a slump in the Thai property market.
While times of crisis are surely going to cause great loss of profits and harm to your business, there are some ways that you can deal with the situation and come through it even stronger than before.
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Pay Attention to Changes in Consumer Behavior
It is safe to say that the pandemic has changed everyone’s lifestyle. As digital experiences increasingly replace human interactions, business owners must understand the consumer behaviors and sentiments that are driving this change and adapt accordingly.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a sharp shift in lifestyle and spending patterns on the consumer side, and some of these habits will likely become the “new normal” even after the crisis is over. Keeping these in mind, business owners should center their strategies around their target consumers’ changing needs and preferences.
A recent study by Edelman found that people expect companies to help redress social challenges posed by COVID-19, whether by protecting their employees or by offering certain products at certain prices to create a sense of community. The study also found that 71% of consumers will lose trust in a brand if they sense that the brand is more concerned with profits than its customers.
In challenging times like these, it is vital that brands help their employees and consumers however they can, even in simple ways like publishing inspirational social media posts and keeping the prices of high-demand products the same instead of inflating them, which is what many sellers across the world have been doing. By overarching your mission and showing empathy, your brand will appear selfless and gain consumers’ trust. This creates relationships that will help you a great deal in the long-run.
Build Employees’ Skills
The most valuable asset a company can have is the right employees. It needs to have good hands behind the wheels that steer the company in the right direction, even on rocky roads. To achieve this, employees must be taught new skills and have existing ones honed.
For companies that are simply trying to survive during this crisis, it may seem impractical to maintain, let alone grow talent. However, it is important to have a clear sight of your company’s future and its long-term growth in a coronavirus-free world. One way to do that is by building a resilient team that is prepared to face challenges that may come their way in the future. Now is a great time to identify gaps in your team and help them work on skills that will fuel your company’s growth, both in the near and distant future.
Show Employees What Kind of Leader You Are
Many businesses have had to cut back on their budget to ensure their future. More often than not, this has involved reducing employees’ salaries and work hours. When this happens, it is important that business owners take the first cut to instill confidence in their employees and show them that they will be there through thick and thin.
All in all, what business owners do during a crisis affects how people—customers, employees, and other stakeholders—see them, even long after the crisis is over.
What kind of a business owner are you going to be?
About Andres Pira – philanthropist, real estate tycoon, author, speaker, and global citizen. Andres Pira enjoys living in Thailand, where his journey began from Homeless to Billionaire.
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