Small businesses across the world are feeling the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While many business owners have closed their doors temporarily, others are navigating the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak by finding new and creative ways to serve their customers and communities. Examples of this are all around: Tailor shops are making protective face coverings. Fine-dining restaurants are shifting to takeout. Fitness studios are streaming virtual workouts.
This topic is addressed in the article “Mobilizing Your Business” by Dr. Latanya Hughes, a contributing faculty member in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) online degree program at Walden University. Read the article below to learn her thoughts on how business owners can adapt to doing business during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not surprising to see businesses and people scrambling about during the unprecedented times we’re living in with COVID-19. The good thing for businesses is that there are opportunities available. Prior to recent stay-at-home orders, all of which vary from state to state here in the United States, most of the opportunities for businesses centered around mobilization. The question for businesses to answer was, “How can I mobilize my business?”
While this is still a good question to ponder, an even better question is, “How can I best support my community?” When a business takes a step back to evaluate the needs of its community, it can identify the opportunities available to it. Mobilizing one’s business now becomes a matter of starting over. Now is the time when business managers and owners must reflect on the original intent of their business and see what opportunities lie for them to either tweak their original concept or add products or services.
For instance, a young nail technician has created her own line of press-on nails to meet the needs of her clients. While this may seem a little unorthodox, people still want to feel pretty. It’s a good example of how business owners are mobilizing during the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the most pressing needs for all communities right now, aside from medical supplies, is services. What services can businesses provide? Many people need personal shoppers or someone to run errands, such as senior citizens who need their medicine picked up for them. Many stores are implementing physical distancing measures and limiting the number of people in the store at a time. For instance, ZNS Bahamas reports that the Bahamas is requiring stores to allow only one person per 30 square feet of building space. Also, the Bahamas Ministry of Health suggests designating one shopper per household. Promoting personal shopping services can help alleviate the number of people waiting in lines and will help to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Another opportunity for businesses is to provide online support. Many people are home and in need of support with homeschooling their children, tutoring, and other basic needs. There are videos of people inquiring about how to cook for their children, while others are looking for assistance with personal grooming. Is there an app your business can provide to simplify the mass information? Perhaps there are helpful safety and sanitation tips your company can provide.
Can your business provide cleaning and sanitation services? Many stores are closing early in the evening for deep cleaning and restocking. Additionally, as a measure of coronavirus prevention, a number of grocery retailers and public service offices like the U.S. Post Office are installing plexiglass as protective shields. Is this a service your business can offer?
Do you have equipment you are not using that can be used for something else? Currently, manufacturers are changing their operations to meet the needs of the medical community. Do you have trucks or vans sitting idle? Can they be used to transport supplies and equipment? Can your manufacturing facility be used to produce hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, masks, hospital gowns, protective gear, etc.?
Bottom line: Now is the time to think of innovative ways to shift your business so you can meet the needs of your community and the community at large during this time of COVID-19. Humanity wins when we come together.
As a contributing faculty member in Walden’s College of Management and Technology, Dr. Hughes teaches business strategy, problem solving, and leadership to master’s students in the online MBA degree program. She is a small business owner, published author, and international speaker with over a decade of leadership and management experience.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.