The New Normal in Business and Economy
By Abraham John Onoja
As the COVID19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, leaving citizens of the world a new world order, businesses need to navigate their financial and operational obligations. They are also expected to meet the needs of their greatest assets- customers and supplier. whilst ingenuously trying to meet the needs of their greatest assets; customers and suppliers.
The crises may have paved way for uncertainties, but it has also created opportunities for sectors to emerge and grow, while some will fall and vanish if not properly managed and strategized as the companies who will stand firm in this era will be those that implemented risk management as part of their business strategy.
While this crisis is first and foremost a public health issue, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people worldwide and still counting, the economic would no doubt be overwhelming and is likely to create major economic meltdown in both the formal and informal sectors
The train must be primed to chug along now! In the new normal, business owners are faced with overwhelming, competing challenges. They are surrounded by treacherous waters now darkly infested with covid-19 sharks. Still, they must continue to dive into the deep end of the global pandemic.
A business’s success depends in part on the economic systems of the countries where it is located and where its sells its products. A nation’s economic system is the combination of policies, laws, and choices made by its government to establish the systems that determine what goods and services are produced and how they are allocated. The resources of a person, a firm, or a nation are limited. Hence, economics is the study of choices—what people, firms, or nations choose from among the available resources. Every economy is concerned with what types and amounts of goods and services should be produced, how they should be produced, and for whom. These decisions are made by the marketplace, the government, or both. In the United States, the government and the free-market system together guide the economy.
Business owners therefore should have their priorities clearly mapped out; providing support and being a backbone to their people, customers and suppliers. They must achieve all this, whilst simultaneously addressing supply chain disruptions, maintaining a stable profit margins, aligning their businesses with evolving demand and changes and identifying potential pitfalls and new growth trends.
Businesses in the new normal requires a new mindset to recover from the crises, thereby identifying, analyzing and addressing effective strategies that would help the business return to normality and grow. This is the time to build organizational relationships with strategic partners for proper execution of effective strategies.
Management personnel and stakeholders are quickly turning their attention to the ‘next’; that moment of unpredictable and probably muted economic recovery with newly identified threats and opportunities. This is a new era defined by fast changing initiatives to shift the cultural norms, societal beliefs and values, such as renewed brand purpose.
Leaders, corporate and political, are faced with the urgency to reopen their businesses.
To bridge the gap of uncertainty, reopening would require a series of ‘reinventive’ thinking. The pandemic offers a big opportunity to have companies invest in areas they wish they’d paid more attention to before the crisis. Now, to be more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; to adopt a variable cost structures rather than fixed, to find its root in e-commerce and security are no longer deferrable agendas.
Consequent to the pandemic, organizations globally are experiencing an unfamiliar change in their work flow processes and harnessing their workforces optimally. Companies are yet to fully understand and determine how working remote working will help achieve corporate objectives beyond the survival hump. Profitability and business models are being cautiously reviewed. Teams and workforces try to function and perform in line with expected deliverables whilst struggling to cope with even more sombre personal and existential challenges in the new normal.
Organizations, teams and workforces need new and bespoke fitting plans today. They need to formulate strategies and drive policies that can position them advantageously to work out and around the emerging challenges as the state of global health and economic unfolds. All stakeholders have critical roles to play in developing and establishing systematic approaches that promote shared workforce resilience, flexibility and intelligence.
Similarly, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed customers, employees, citizens and humans’ experiences, attitude and behavior forever. The norms of behavioral consumer psychology are deviating from the expected curves. Results, though displaying expected changes, are creating sweaty anxiety for boardroom decisions. The crisis has caused a fundamental change in human-human interactions and behavior. In the new world order, companies would necessarily need to review and redesign operational flow and operating models. These changes would impact greatly on design, communication, running expenses, remunerations, investments etc. The definitions of that people need and want has been reshaped and businesses need to blend into the new, emerging ecosystem so they can properly reposition for sustainability and profitability. The global pandemic has created uncertainties and forced companies to reevaluate and reinvent how business operations units are leveraged. It has redefined how digital platforms can be used in
supporting and ensuring continuity in the business through and beyond the crisis.
The state of the economy affects both people and businesses. How you spend your money (or save it) is a personal economic decision. Whether you continue in school and whether you work part-time are also economic decisions. Every business also operates within the economy. Based on their economic expectations, businesses decide what products to produce, how to price them, how many people to employ, how much to pay these employees, how much to expand the business, and so on.
The crisis has fundamentally changed supply chain management economics and dynamics; we are in uncharted waters. Routes to market are evolving which would inevitably kick some companies off the market and make some others tether on balance. In response to the pandemic, leaders have been mandated to increase their adoption of value chain transformation to help outrun uncertainty. For those who are able to successfully navigate to the other side of this new normal, it becomes imperative to establish strategies for greater resilience and apply lessons learnt to create systems and models that would better prepare companies and stakeholders for further future disruptions.
Onoja writes from Abuja