Breaking Businesses Out Of The Covid-19 Inactivity Bubble
How Will Your Business Look Like As the World Slowly Emerges Out of Isolation?
Indeed, the only thing tougher than the multitude of challenges Malaysian businesses have faced since the start of COVID-19 is the grit, tenacity, and creativity of some of the same business owners themselves.
But while many have swiftly tried to modify their business models to forge ahead with fortitude and optimism, plenty of uncertainly still remain.
“COVID-19 devastated my business and my industry,” recalls local travel agency owner Christine Lee. “A travel and tour company like mine is not in the same league as, let’s say, pharmacies or supermarkets. I initially grappled with cancelling tours, refunded all sales for future activities plus communicated with my employees on the various operational concerns.”
At this time, Lee reveals that she hasn’t quite resumed leading tours just yet. “I plan to return in full force when public safety concerns are more well-managed. I’m currently focusing some energy on further developing my social media presence and researching new content for future tours. The future of my business relies on the enduring spirit of Malaysia and I have no doubt that visitors will return – but now, it’s time for me to reconsolidate the business properly.”
Of course, not being able to operate because of the pandemic also presented unique challenges for business owners with big spaces to manage… as Saleem Khan, an indoor sports arena owner explains. “Our 25,000-square-foot sports facility was forced to shut its doors beginning mid-March. Since our January 2016 opening, this has been a venue for private and group sports instruction, field space rentals, camps, birthday parties, and various special events including futsal and tennis tournaments, school field trips, and large group reunions.”
However, in light of the many restrictions placed on businesses with respect to crowd capacity and social distancing, much of what the venue hosted had to be scaled back in terms of the number of people, as well as the frequency with which the services its staff offers to manage facility sanitization requirements. “All of this has made the business outlook for my venue a bit uncertain,” worries Saleem. “But I am keeping a close eye on how other players are like malls and other big venues are implementing strict S.O.P.s and continuing with their own business these days…”
Yes, everyone is rethinking and fine-tuning their businesses to ensure survival into 2021… But also, don’t forget: The start of the journey towards economic recovery is contingent on rebuilding trust and confidence in the public and business realms and the deliberate intervention of the government. Businesses need to work hand-in-hand with the government to resume operations and kick-start economic activities.
Meanwhile, the increasing need for higher technology capabilities to connect businesses, customers and supply networks is fast-tracking the world into digitalisation. Malaysia must not be left behind!
So, treat COVID-19 as a game-changer for your business’ digital transformation. Professional services network Ernst & Young has revealed that most companies in Malaysia highlighted difficulties in their online connectivity and communication with customers and suppliers, in addition to their need for better infrastructure.
While some sectors like tech, telecom and shipping remain stable, many small businesses have been hit hard, and there are disastrously high unemployment rates among Malaysians. These factors will lead to a boom in “survival entrepreneurship.” What this means is staying engaged and motivated. It’s also about organising yourself properly, effectively figuring out what your business can offer online or remotely, and most important of all: to be no longer be restricted by the original dynamics of one’s business.