‘New Normal’: Living With Prolonged Uncertainty

October 13, 2020

Experts speculate that it could take six months to multiple years before the world finally pulls out from the COVID-19 crisis. The question then, that we all must ask ourselves, is how do we continue living with the new normal is indefinite uncertainty?

We know that quantifying the damage done by the pandemic will come with analysis over years. But the impact on our everyday lives is something we have to meet head on and adapt to faster than is sometimes possible. From the closure of local restaurants to global companies, the Coronavirus has altered how the common consumer consumes. As a result, companies are evolving the way they do business.

Reinventing Marketing Methods

E-commerce was on the rise far before COVID-19. Now, its prominence is what is keeping many businesses alive. Both large and small companies have been forced to close their physical stores. Learning how to navigate and utilize social media has sped up the learning curve. Many professionals who simply used the internet as a tool are now forced to depend on it for their entire livelihoods. Right now, maximizing the use of technological resources and marketing tools is the only way many businesses are staying alive. An upside to this, is that it is an excellent way for anyone to start and maintain their e-commerce presence using powerful channels and through digital marketing with little to no financial investment. Part of the sustainability is authentic messaging. Implementing the most solid marketing strategies will carry you through the unknown and hopefully beyond it.

Movement Towards Remote Work

The trend of remotely working from home before the coronavirus was becoming more common and was a large part of the gig-economy. But, the once-a-century-pandemic has given some businesses no choice but to accept the new norms of remote workers. The new telework environment is changing to include nearly every field and industry. It is showing itself to be highly efficient. It is transformative when developing new techniques for managing personnel. For the most part, tools like Rocket, Slack, Zoom, and Teams are keeping internal communication stable during such a chaotic time. Maintaining communication within the ranks of a company is critical to success.

Evolving technologies offer flexibility that working out of an office does not provide. Studies have shown that if a supervisor gives the freedom of scheduling to their employees, productivity goes up. It makes it even more tempting to stay with remote work for the long haul.

Finding the Long-Term

It is hard to see past the pandemic, both personally and professionally. But, it is time to start preparing for the next step. Life will look nothing like life did before COVID-19, but it won’t look like it looks now, either. The time of research and analytics has its place, but now is the time for action and testing.  The process resembles what a company would do during the start-up process. It is about accountability and agility in the time of the Coronavirus. 

We touched on remote working and how staffing is evolving. Starting on a plan that works now is the best way to prepare for the future. Telework is not going to be for everyone, but it works well for those it works for. The future looks bleak without consumers. As companies find ways to keep them engaged past COVID-19, a purpose-driven approach will open doors to understanding the new customer. Developing new uses will lead to a business understanding of the ever-changing insights and how to tailor experiences around them. The Coronavirus has put a strain on companies who thought they had a crisis plan in place. For those that did not, it has driven many businesses to close the doors for good. It is about adaptability in an ever- changing ecosystem. 

Jumping in before recovery is fully in place is a step that takes courage and intention. 

The now or never approach can include:

  • New campaigns for established customers
  • Developing new customer experiences that line up with public health and safety
  • Using flexible and custom payment terms
  • Using new data to come up with different prices and promotion
  • Adjust company spending to reflect growth sources
  • Digitizing sales channels
  • Training staff and salespeople to support remote selling
  • Digitizing processes to free up staff, including sales reps

Rethinking and Rebuilding in the New World

One of the things that the pandemic has revealed is the cracks in our global supply chains and service networks. Many of those breaks have widened because of the fact that demand patterns and services are now changing faster, and in some cases, forever.

It is not to say that some companies have not adapted. Businesses are using out-of-the-box ideas and innovations as they look to the future of sales. It is about maintaining that level of performance. Resilience is necessary to survive the current state of the world. It takes part adaption and part continually assessing.

For some companies, this means to assess any financial damage that has come as a result of the pandemic. It is not as easy as only looking at the hard numbers and trying to correct the trajectory. But, it is not all bad news; the damage done might not be as destructive to a business as previously thought. Many factors go into a rebuilding plan. And, while it is never fun to do, a company trying to find ways to rise from the ashes needs to reexamine its business plan. 

It is not a bad idea to revisit it even in good times, but it is where the willingness to adapt comes into play. Reviewing business plans and business models will give a business a clearer view of their weaknesses and strengths. Also, it is a way to look at what works and what will continue to work post-COVID-19. Knowing these things will go a long way when considering the need for funding for recovery. Rebuilding is not a bad thing because it gives some businesses the upper hand when making improvements. 

Various means to get loans and financing exists; it is about what works for every individual company. It is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Revamping a budget comes with changes in revenue and financing. If a company decides to amp up things like advertising to reestablish a foothold in their industry, a budget will keep track of it to understand the benefits and find needed improvements to avoid wasting cash flow. It is not a secret that rebuilding will take time. Developing a timeline will help in organizing thoughts, prioritizing tasks, and setting goals. 

Keep in mind that expecting the unexpected is part of the world we live in now, but a timeline offers a much-needed framework as businesses face the unknown. The last step in recovery during and after the pandemic is building on everything and coming up with a contingency plan, so when a company faces the next crisis, they do so with preparedness. We all need a little insulation from any potential future shock. 

The new norms, constant discovery, and trial and error will not be a quick process. But, many companies will be stronger post-COVID-19 because of what we learned before and during it. We have a chance to learn from one another; let’s take it.

Written by
Jake Hannigan

Jake Hannigan is the Business Development Strategist for Van Allen Strategies. He has spent his career growing and developing start-ups in the education and technology industries.

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