article banner

Covid-19: Manage today. Prepare for tomorrow.

Dr. Panagiotis Prontzas Dr. Panagiotis Prontzas

Mankind today is facing an unprecedented, multi-layered crisis. The combination of Covid-19 pandemic in line with the apparent economic implications lead to a recession, unprecedented in the recent past. In fact, it might just as well be the first time in history when the entire globe has allied against a common and invisible enemy.

Along with society, the business world is floating in uncharted waters. Businesses, regardless of their size, are called upon to urgently adapt to new developments, while planning, in the sense of the term we have known it until today, does not seem to be only risky but also a distant dream.

Businesses seem to be carried away by the whirlwind of a cyclone, which they can neither predict nor control. The reasonable question, then, is whether, in the midst of a crisis of such a magnitude, they can be optimistic about their future and, above all, prepared for the "post-coronavirus era"?

Being in the midst of the general lockdown, managing the issues today and making the necessary preparations for tomorrow is the rational one-way ride for healthy businesses. The crisis can be turned into an opportunity as long as the business invests in the ancient proverb "prevent and cure".

Prevention saves lives in business just as well. Today’s adoption of a new 360-degree corporate philosophy, acceptance of the new data and strategic planning and implementation can make a business sustainable and more efficient tomorrow. Above all, however, they will assist overcome the crisis with the least possible losses.

Applying 6 simple steps, 3 steps today and 3 steps tomorrow, every business –no matter big or small - can ensure that when the crisis is over, it will be able to stand up again and be an "element" of the new environment that is being developed. In fact, the holistic approach that businesses are now called upon to develop must be fundamentally anthropocentric.

Manage today

The current three steps to apply today do not constitute a lonely path, contrary to what one might expect, but they are completely interacting with the people, who within the time before the crisis were the close or extended circle of business contacts. The first and most important step is to diagnose the current situation and protect the company and its human resources against the violent invasion of the invisible enemy. It is advisable for companies to create a crisis team responsible for recording and assessing short-term and long-term financial impacts. At the same time, the primary action required from every business is to fully harmonize with the new reality. Ensuring the health of their people, identifying alternative ways of communicating and immediate managing information systems to protect uninterrupted remote working against cyber threats, are self-evident actions to secure the business operation.

Human being stands at the heart of this pandemic and, respectively, at the center of the business future and management of financial consequences. It is therefore advisable, regarding the second step to be taken today, that the companies should invest in maintaining contacts between their closest and broadest partners. Valid and timely information on financial support measures, systematic communication with banks in order to effectively manage financial problems and redesign supply processes and terms of cooperation with suppliers protect both the business itself and their close environment. The current crisis is not a single crisis for every business but a general crisis affecting everyone.

Today's management is completed with the response to the new needs arising from the new regularity. Regarding the third step, every company shall move quickly in order to become part of the new environment and not an isolated rear in this crisis. Our consumer habits and the way we choose them have changed. Businesses risk falling into the "black hole" if they do not secure existing products and services and at the same time periodically inform their customers about the effective new policies and procedures.

Prepare for tomorrow

Economy is not based on the same data and balances. What we knew until two months ago is a thing of the past. Businesses are being called upon to bear the brunt of the global crisis we are facing. However, if today's management is successful, every company will be able to take the next 3 steps to be prepared for tomorrow.

There are no magic solutions. In proportion to the three steps, the sustainable future of the business is based on the threefold "Reconstruction - Resolution - Recovery". Most businesses need to put aside their planning to date. The new normality came to stay largely following the global developments of the pandemic. By restructuring the plan and smoothing out the implications, businesses will be able to move into the recovery phase.

First of all, every business needs to identify its own specific weaknesses, which need to be improved, and to develop alternative scenarios. This way, it will be able to immediately redefine a new Disaster Recovery Plan and a Business Continuity Plan, according to the modern requirements.

In business terms, the resolution of the situation is one and the same as the notion of stability. The redefinition of cost centers and revenue sources and simultaneous renegotiation of contractual terms with suppliers and funds are the key actions leading to stability. In summary, stabilization of financial flows, search for new forms of financing and development and modernization of digital means of distribution and service will allow any company to ensure its stability and sound operation.

Cliché phrase "the world will never be the same again" is now more relevant than ever. The recovery of the companies goes beyond the acceptance of the new situation. The implementation of new flexible policies and systems for offering products and services, the development of personalized products and services, which meet the personal needs for every consumer and the penetration of new markets expanding the customer base guarantee the recovery and subsequent sustainability.

Business may be more challenged than ever due to the pandemic of Covid-19 disease, with the most pessimistic predictions predicting full recovery in decades to come, but it is up to us to disrupt this causality.

Managing the current situation, we are preparing for a promising future as long as we accept that there will inevitably be significant financial loss either in our business or the business of our supplier or customer. In any case, the business world as an integral part of society and its development, needs to maintain its positive thinking for tomorrow by turning inaction into an opportunity for strategic thinking and new planning.

In the end, the fight is not over. It is now that the game starts and is hardly a sprint race but that of endurance. Businesses that will timely show reflexes, realizing the situation and developments today, are certain to remain standing tomorrow.