The New Normal of Business Expansion
The widespread effects of Covid-19 changed the way we viewed business culture in India, both in terms of the way employees worked and the way employers thought of business expansion. All the strategies of expanding business locally and internationally before Covid-19 weren’t going to work in a pandemic world. Just like we shifted to the new normal of living, so did the business world. In our previous article we went over the considerations for global business expansion during the pandemic. As an extension, in this article, we discuss the new normal of business expansion and the things business owners need to keep in mind while strategizing for business growth.
5 Market Changes You Need to Consider for Post Pandemic Business Growth
- Wider Outreach for Services
This was a necessity than a choice. A majority of the service industries adjusted to provide their services remotely. A lot of non-technical services began to rely more on technology so they could connect with their customers digitally. A notable example would be the boom of the telehealth industry. Doctors all over the world began scheduling over WhatsApp / similar group chats and conducting examinations virtually. The goal was to reduce visits to a hospital / clinic as much as possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to infection and diseases.
About 75% of doctor, urgent care, and ER (emergency room) visits are either unnecessary or could be handled safely and effectively over the phone or video. (Source: American Medical Association).
Payment of course, could also be done digitally. Pharmacies adapted too, by providing at-home deliveries.
Other services became remote as well, including gyms / fitness institutes, tuitions, schools / colleges, customer care, and consultations of any kind. Because the services became remote, the service providers suddenly found they could reach a wider customer-base, as people had new parameters of choosing a service provider and physical proximity wasn’t one of them.
If you’re a service provider in any market, you should note that the services which could operate remotely and more importantly, could be discovered and found over the internet, prospered. Obstinate business owners who refused to become techno-savvy suffered.
2. Efficiency in Resource Management
Companies began to think twice before procuring resources during the pandemic. This included physical resources like internet connections, transport services etc. along with manpower. Remote working became the norm, thereby impacting the cost of operations. Some companies closed the leases on their office spaces, rather than bearing unnecessary costs just in case offices could open again.
Of course, resource management does not only include new procurements but also taking care of the existing ones. Workstations were delivered to employees’ homes so they could continue working without any hinderance. Remote communication platforms like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams etc. gained sudden significance and became the new normal of collaborative remote working.
From a human resource perspective, work culture in India changed drastically. HR teams now had to take care of employees’ mental health and wellbeing as well, especially considering the near-isolation employees were thrown in. HR Teams all over India had to adjust to new employee satisfaction parameters including work hour flexibility and proper infrastructure in the house. For instance, Amazon delivered not only individual machines for their customer service, but also a dedicated broadband connection so the expense of internet would not be shouldered by employees.
A word of advice to service providers would be to simply go with the flow and make whatever changes are necessary to survive. Don’t resist change, as it can be detrimental to your business growth.
3. Untapped Markets Emerged
As discussed, people’s expectations from their service providers changed. Quality did matter no doubt, but the first priority was basic availability. People were hesitant on dealing with services which forced them to step out of the house. In such a sink or learn to swim atmosphere, businesses radically changed their mode of operation.
In doing so, they found newer markets and customers came knocking at their doors. Transport services like tempos and trucks formed unlikely partnerships with grocers so they could start deliveries. A lot of services jumped on the internet and came up with their own websites and apps for ordering, scheduling appointments, consultation, support etc.
Customers too, adapted. A lot of people who didn’t believe in the quality of a product or service without first-hand inspection accepted that they couldn’t get to do so anymore. They began implicitly trusting the services of those they’d never known before because there was no one else to fulfil their needs.
This sort of easy trust and customer loyalty is unprecedented. By just focusing on remote availability and customer satisfaction, businesses can bank on the changing times and find more opportunities.
4. Get Your Business Discovered Faster
Marketing 101 teaches us to be present where people are looking. But during the pandemic, where are people looking? Trends tell us people are finding out about new businesses by word of mouth and social media. Continuing on our previous points, people will take the risk with a new name in the market if someone they know has good things to say about it. Social media can take your business to an entirely new level, especially when there are Covid-19 restrictions governing peoples’ decisions.
But beware, this requires a lot of efforts. The benchmarks of success are now different. A popular business is inherently considered to be a good business (even if the quality is poor). Your goal is to be talked about more than your competition. To achieve this, you need to put out relevant and interesting content, focus on organic social media growth and also learn about paid ads and how they work. Remember, expecting your business will grow just because you have a quality offering is wrong in this world of social media.
5. Hiring Patterns Have Changed
Remote hiring has boomed during the pandemic. Hiring an employee in India is now a different process. And we don’t just mean online interviews. The parameters employers are considering for remote hiring are different. A hefty two pager resumes chock full of achievements may not be as impressive to a hirer as before. Employers are now looking for people who show flexibility and a collaborative spirit, which are necessary for remote working.
Also, as discussed in the previous point on resource management, employers are becoming more and more thrifty with resources. Sometimes, a full-fledge employee on a payroll may not be the way to go if the need is on a project basis. Companies can look into hiring freelancers or approach temporary employment companies.
Don’t hurry into acquiring employees on a constant payroll. Use a lot more discretion when hiring employees remotely. Plan out the need for human resources and look into options that will facilitate remote working rather than hamper it.