The Initial Stage
India reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus infection on 30th January 2020 in the state of Kerala. The affected had a travel history from Wuhan, China. And ever since it has never been the same. The economy which was already seeing its greatest fall was struggling terribly. Almost every industry sector saw a fall in their sales and revenue. India’s GDP growth had fallen to 4.7% in the third quarter of 2020. Sectors like tourism, aviation, and trade had to face the first set of challenges; other sectors too saw the cyclic effect.
As per reports, there has been a 20% reduction in domestic travel and about 75% reduction in international travel bookings. Many types of researches which took place reflected that the pandemic created various operational and financial challenges for Indian businesses. During the lockdown, approximately 71.31% of the businesses dealt with reduced cash flows with the manufacturing sector being the worst hit.
Many projects were delayed and canceled which caused major concern, especially in the tertiary sectors, particularly in retail, non-profit, consultancy, education, and financial services.
Due to this current scenario, companies will have to operate in a different way and a unique perspective to effectively manage the crisis. COVID-19 is constantly changing our lifestyle, our work, and technology use. As the world is slowly adjusting to the new normal, business heads would require to rethink their technical strategies to drive resilience and come out of this crisis in one piece.
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By mid-February, India was reckoning a mean of 11,000 cases on a daily basis. The seven-day average of daily deaths from the disease had gone to below 100. The elation at beating the deadly virus had been cultivating since late last year. Many politicians, policymakers, and several parts of the media believed that India was truly out of the radar of COVID-19. In December, central bank officials announced that India was “bending the Covid infection curve”. Slowly everything seemed to be going back to normal. The virus was still surrounding us, but not on a large scale. Ultimately people completely forgot about a whole pandemic this world has seen and were careless. Everyone was easy and didn’t bother to even wear a mask.
To this lack of awareness and complete carelessness, COVID-19 had to respond with something. And the second wave of COVID-19 emerged. Larger and stronger than ever before. The virus now is deadlier and more contagious than it was before. The scenario is terrifying and misguided. This time the number of cases per day are doubled, the number of deaths per day is doubled. And we still are trying to cope with it.
2nd fall of the economy
Right when the economy was slowly and steadily progressing, when the businesses were slowing opening their gates in several months, it was hit right in the face for the second time. Just like the first wave, no one saw this second wave coming. Business leaders were optimistic and were ready to get back on the market with full capacity. The business activity will remain restrained in the coming time due to a continued rise in coronavirus cases across the country. Several state governments have imposed complete lockdowns to stop the spread of infections. The overall economic recovery will be considerably gradual and irregular with adverse consequences on output, employment, and financial stability.
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During this current state, one might be in a dilemma on how to manage the business when there are 1000 things restricting its growth. A lot of factors need to be considered. Looking at the current scenario, one cannot run or manage the business with conventional tactics. This pandemic has forced us to change our perspective towards the market.
Another good thing that this pandemic has taught us is that always keep a broader view. Always, before starting any business one has to calculate future circumstances. One has to be prepared for anything that might come in the way of the business which will try to take it down. It’s easy to spot a crisis when it arrived, but it takes an eye of wise to predict or pre-estimate an attack or crisis.
Not every crisis is supposed to be calamitous or disastrous, but it is important to treat each probable threat as though it may unfold a disaster. Companies need to constantly keep an eye on internal and external signals to promote early detection of a potential threat. Businesses need to make crisis management plans, so they would know which steps to take in order to protect their business from this crisis and maintain the cash flow. There are some crucial lessons to be studied from the COVID-19 outbreak with regards to what a plan should aim to do.
Manage which can be controlled
During a crisis, which was not predicted and has caught the company off guard, one must try to manage things that can if not worked be controlled. The only rational course of action would be to focus attention on what is in our control. Following are the ways in which companies can respond:
- Sustaining a healthy balance sheet
- Preserving the capital by making sure that the money is spent on the items which are really important.
- During this, one should not lose focus on the quality of products and services and value orientation.
- Establishing a positive cash flow
Shifting to a new way of working
While all the business which initially required physical contact or interaction have suffered due to COVID-19. Quarantine forced the companies to reach out to their customers at their homes through the Internet which had led to a massive elevation of the technology department. Not just commercial businesses but also most of the schools have been transferring to remote technologies due to the pandemic.
While there is this urgent obligation to adopt this new form of working right now, we must be careful about how we transition into this “new way of working.”
Fetching new business opportunities
There are some opportunities that are neglected in periods of moderate and high growth. The opportunities are completely left alone or are handled in a completely unorganized way. In the present economic situation, firms are looking to explore new revenue opportunities. In order to commute the growth, companies might need to develop alternate channels to tap marginal opportunities.