Pandemic Planning for Businesses: How to Cope up With COVID-19

Pandemic Planning for Businesses

Tough times are inevitable in life and in business. But how you compose yourself during those times defines your spirit and will define your future.” - Richard Branson, Founder- Virgin Group

As the world gradually adapts to the current COVID-19 pandemic and more and more people move indoors to practice social distancing, businesses, globally, are faced with a dilemma- to either make necessary changes and survive or completely shut down operations.

For most businesses, this is a choice between life and death, existence and doom.

Entrepreneurs have witnessed their fortunes shrink drastically amid a plunging stock market. Government authorities are 100% focussed on the health of people, while businesses continue to feel quite under the weather.

They say that ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’ and this stands true today. Organizations are coming up with solutions and embracing innovation and planning to keep pace and adapt faster than ever before.

In case you are wondering what is a pandemic plan or how to prepare for a pandemic, we have assembled the right answers and ways you can still be hopeful during this gloomy atmosphere.

Novel Coronavirus Crisis Management & Planning

The mere thought of preparing for a pandemic has given most entrepreneurs sleepless nights. Pandemic planning for businesses has emerged as a “life jacket”, vital for business survival. Companies have adopted action mode and are using strategic planning to cope with the current situation. 

For instance, Dave Laurello, CEO - Stratus, shared a message that the company has appointed a special task team. The team would be accountable in developing plans required to mitigate health, safety, operational, and financial risks. 

Here are a few points that your business pandemic planning checklist must include:

  • Clearly define business objectives and expectations
  • Review your business finances and accounts
  • Prioritize workplace hygiene and set strict norms
  • Update HR and company policies & offer remote work options
  • Communicate regularly with investors, businesses & customers

smart-marketing-objectivesTo simply put forth, there is no alternative to strategic planning. Besides being open to adaptation, you must also try to learn from others who are dealing with a similar situation. Now here are a few ways your business can stay afloat amidst coronavirus. 

5 Ways to Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis

#1.  Have a Dedicated COVID-19 Page

While your customers might be at home, they are always looking forward to hearing from you. They might not entertain the idea of visiting your office or offline stores, but they are expecting you to communicate via your website. Businesses across the globe have been quick to grasp the importance of customer communication, and that is evident from their web pages dedicated solely to COVID-19. 

For instance, Amazon, the billion-dollar company is giving every business some major communication goals. It clearly mentions how it is giving priority to items that fall under the ‘essential’ category. Amazon has been transparent to display that customers might encounter some unavoidable delays. Moreover, it has dedicated an entire FAQ section to manage customer queries pertaining to this catastrophic situation. 

covid-19-amazon

Image Source: Amazon.com

Takeaway: Coronavirus might be burning the bridges of communication, however, constant messages of hope, safety, and preparedness will help you win the trust of downhearted customers. You can look to make a proactive presence on social media pages and keep your users engaged. 

#2. Instill a ‘Growth-Mindset’- You Can Still Be Profitable 

In this current volatile business scenario, the thought of becoming profitable can seem like a far-fetched dream. However, a handful of businesses have seen a significant increase in their product/service demand. Around 9 out of the top 100 billionaires in the world have made money during this lockdown, though a small fraction, this still should ignite some sense of hope. 

Take Zoom, for example, a video conferencing platform that is going viral these days. The zoom app has seen a major spike in users and has become the new king of social connection amidst this pandemic. Coworkers are using it to conduct meetings, teenagers are hosting birthday parties, and students are seeking assistance with their studies. According to Hurun Research, CEO- Eric Yuan saw his wealth grow by a massive 77%  during this crisis. 

zoom-video-conferencing

Image Source: zoom.us

Takeaway: Any temporary situation should not be an excuse for business failure. You need to keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive and look for ways to make the most of this challenging situation. 

#3. Say Yes to Remote Working- The Way Forward

Yes, most businesses have embraced remote working and made ‘work from home’ an integral part of their workplace pandemic preparedness plan. The idea of remote working sounds perfect until you come face to face with the challenges of team building, communication, and productivity. Now, you might wonder, what can be the right yardstick to measure employee productivity? 

The answer is unraveled by the CEO of desk time, a company that offers a reliable tool for real-time tracking of projects and productivity. Artis Rozentals states that the idea of desk time came from the founders of the Daurgiem Group who were facing the challenge of tracking employee productivity after offering flexible working hours. The result? The birth of a tool that not only tracks login and logout time but also monitors each and every click. 

desktime-remote-working

Image Source: Desktime.com

Takeaway: Experts believe that the future of work holds a special place for remote working. This might be an unfamiliar terrain for your business, however, it is the only way to keep your business up and running while practicing social distancing at the same time. 

#4. Take the Online Route to Offer Seamless Customer Support

Customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic would be in dire need of your support and assistance. They might have self-quarantined but that does not mean you can't stay connected and provide astounding customer service. You can make the most of the available tools to offer seamless support. 

A helpdesk software can be your best bet to monitor each and every aspect of your customer support strategy. ProProfs’ Help Desk software is one such cloud-based tool that can help you reduce your support tickets by an enormous amount. You can easily track the performance of your customer support team using rich data and analytics. 

Takeaway:  You need to keep your customer support agents motivated as they are your real heroes. Taking inputs will help you realize customer pain-points. This is a list of top-performing help desk software for 2020. A robust help desk software should be definitely made an inclusive aspect of your pandemic plans.

#5. Be Creative: Think Outside of The ‘Crisis’

It is time to regroup all your employees and leaders who are known for their unconventional thinking- your company’s think tanks. If you can find a creative way to adapt to the current scenario and empower your employees and customers to get through this taxing situation, so will your business. 

Shine Distillery, based in Oregon, had an ingenious outlook towards the current situation and came up with its own hand sanitizer. We all know that soaps and hand sanitizers are the current hot commodities in the market. While this company is offering its hand sanitizer for free to the community, there’s no harm in being creative and using your new product to keep your business afloat.

shine-distillery

Image Source: Shinedistillerygrill.com

Takeaway: Creativity can prove to be a lifesaver for your business. Pivoting your business model based on the current market demand can take your business a long way. Take the road less traveled by and dare to explore new ideas. 

The Bottom Line

“We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life” - Nana Akufo-Addo, President, Ghana

There has not been a better time to give back to your community than now.  Adapting to relevant changes will take us one step closer to stem the spread of this virus. Do not confine your responsibilities to the safety of your employees and ensure your customers are safe too. 

This too shall pass!  :)

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About the author

Jared is a customer support expert. He has been published in CrazyEgg, Foundr, and CXL. As a customer support executive at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in developing a complete customer support system that more than doubled customer satisfaction.

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