Innovate or Die during COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

Back to Basics.

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”. 
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider. 
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

Innovate or Die

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

How do you start?

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on a reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cash flow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants are approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)