Businesses may be opening up, but the economic repercussions of the pandemic will be with us for a long time. Brands must take decisive action now to inform stakeholders, maintain relationships, and get closer to their customers. A post-COVID reopening checklist for businesses can help develop positive habits and patterns to reach desired objectives.
Companies that have embraced collaborative, mobile workforces are likely to weather the situation with minimal impact. Those who have invested in cloud, security, supply chain and B2B eCommerce technologies will be better positioned to weather the storm. Additionally, these businesses will be ahead of the competition and realize success quicker as a result.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict the right course of action for every business. For some brands, entering new markets or pivoting their business may be the right approach. Others may want to perform research before committing, or wait for signs of recovery in their industries.
How to Prepare for the Post Lockdown Environment
Normally, business leaders depend on data and intelligence to help them anticipate shifts in markets, beef up supply chains, and meet customer expectations. Without following a reopening checklist for COVID management, businesses risk overlooking crucial steps that can cause:
- loss of money due to intermittent lockdowns, reopening, reduced customer demand, disrupted supply chains, and unpredictable market forces.
- loss of brand reputation if the right decisions surrounding public safety, corporate responsibility, or contingencies are not made to mitigate the crisis.
- loss of workplace productivity as job security, childcare, health, isolation, finances, and other issues put stress on employee wellbeing.
Business Reopening Guide for B2B Commerce in the Post-Pandemic Environment
Uncertainty makes planning difficult. That’s why developing positive habits and patterns that reinforce the right course of action is so important. Just as medical professionals triage, companies with different levels of exposure to crisis must be able to ration scarce resources effectively.
In this COVID continuity checklist, you’ll find a set of actions and strategies divided into three broad categories:
- Businesses that did well and continue doing well during the pandemic (such as PPE manufacturers or direct to consumer grocery retail) will find value in the Receptive & Opportunistic category.
- Businesses that were severely affected may still be in damage control mode, with a strategy focused on survival. They will benefit from action points in our Resilient & Defensive category.
- Other businesses may have more time and resources to monitor the situation, and an evaluative approach fits them well. The tips in our Rational & Validative category are best suited for them.
In any case, these categories are not set in stone, and businesses may need to switch between them as the COVID pandemic continues unfolding.
The goal of this checklist is to help businesses plan for uncertainty using sound recovery management principles. While it’s designed mainly for medium and large businesses, some core elements apply universally to all businesses.
Our Business Continuity Checklist Covers the Following:
People are and will always remain your biggest and most important asset. The first section of the reopening checklist for businesses explores strategies around maintaining productivity, healthy workplace dynamics and employee well-being.
- Communication: In difficult times, business leaders must provide guidance and clarity, and a smart way forward.
- Community: Business leaders have a unique opportunity to bring everyone together and demonstrate resilience.
- Relationships: Leverage your relationships with vendors, partners, and clients to come up with optimal solutions.
Unprecedented levels of uncertainty puts pressure on businesses to offer guidance. Business leaders must take a consistent and strategic approach in the way they direct their operations and employees to favorable business objectives.
- Response: Determine what operations are impacted, and to what extent. Conduct assessments and adjust quotas.
- Strategy: Remain clear on your focus but adjust accordingly as situations change, markets adapt, and new data is uncovered.
- Agility: Being flexible enough to iterate on and improve on decisions is a must when transitioning into uncharted territory.
As world economies deal with the financial crunch, businesses must pay attention to their expenses to maintain liquidity and operational stability. Ensure cash availability on hand and communicate financial changes with stakeholders.
- Expenditures: Keep close watch on salaries and growth-related spend such as marketing, product development and partnerships.
- Workforce: Consider repurposing staff to freelance or taking on more responsibility in-house for work previously outsourced.
- Funding: Evaluate any decision involving money carefully. Taking on more funding can also mean taking on more liability and risk.
When faced with difficult times, supply chain flexibility plays an important role in optimizing building resiliency and sustainability. Brands to seamlessly meet customer demands while maintaining stability.
- Reporting: Keep on top of your data and measurement systems. Ensure metrics and dashboards providing the information that you need to move forward.
- Stress-test: Run by projections and stress your suppliers based on the worst-case scenarios, based on government responses, supply or logistics disruptions.
- Optimization: Look for alternatives and simplify the supply chain. Rethink supplier relationships and sourcing items closer to home.
Crisis is a time to lead by example, to mentor, encourage and influence. These strategies help businesses inform their audience that their concerns matter more than their ability to purchase their product.
- Markets: Adapt to reduced customer demand and a certain chunk of your target audience that is not ready to buy for the time being.
- Landscape: Constraints may uncover new strategies, so what works great today may work even better as markets and appetites adjust.
- Messaging: Modify messaging for homebound audiences and evaluate the digital footprint among your competition.
The pandemic made businesses more receptive to technology to power the remote workforce and drive business recovery. Maximize the use of technology to build value for employees, stakeholders, and customers.
- Behavior: Explore technologies driven by shifts caused by the crisis. Invest in digitization for selling, support, and operations.
- Communication: Establish and maintain channels for crisis management, collaboration, teamworking, work-related and off-work communication.
- Security: Keep a close watch on how your IT infrastructure is coping with demand, what security tools, continuity & recovery plans need revisiting.
We thank all businesses that participated with us on this project. Their industry insights and materials proved invaluable during the creation of this resource. Last but not least, we thank Gartner, Deloitte, McKinsey, Bain & Company for their statistics and visuals.
Download the free Business Continuity Checklist here.