Tips & Tricks

How small businesses are adapting to the coronavirus crisis

Uma Shahikant

Soon the next season’s seeds will be planted in the garden. A friend recommended a local seed sales company, run by a couple on their farm. The website is basic and new. The ordering and payment process went smoothly. The seeds arrive by mail, neatly packed and labeled. Only a small part of the cost we usually pay.

Small businesses are in turmoil.This Coronavirus crisis Significantly changed the business model. Most people lost a lot of business at the beginning of the crisis because they had to close their businesses to visit customers, their main customers. But soon, most of them are online.

Many companies now have a basic website that supports transactions.Thanks to social media and the public’s familiarity with it Online tools, Selling products online is easier than ever. Since demonetization, payment methods have become electronic, and these investments in cashless payments have helped many companies receive payments without having to meet with customers.

Even those who are not sure whether they will be online are now making business cards and placards for sharing on social media. If the only problem that needs to be solved is the logistics of pick-up and delivery, they are willing to restart the business to get at least a small part of their income in a better period.

Some people have turned around and innovated through their methods. My cousin who runs the catering business found that as weddings, events, and ceremonies ceased, her entire business ceased. She waited for a few months, paid the rent and salary, and spent all her savings. Then she redesigned her model to provide take-out meals for the family.

A busy family where both husband and wife work at home; the elderly who cannot cope with the pressure of running the kitchen; the young people who are not good at stocking and cooking every day; the isolated and helpless people who cannot go out to replenish are now all her customers. They all told her to prepare daily meals. She hoped that she could have enough to pay her rent and salary, and get meager profits.

As people come up with creative ways to engage with customers, these innovations in small businesses have reached new heights. Famous chefs in restaurants near us now offer online cooking classes; teachers of yoga, meditation, various fancy exercises, dance and music are more busy with online classes than before. Everyone and his uncle are now busy surfing the Internet.

The more interesting story is about how customer attitudes have changed. Many people are willing to cooperate with local small businesses and encourage them. They are happy to shop in smaller stores. They will also encourage local businesses as their responsibility. A farmer friend worked hard to educate his customers that he could only send a basket of vegetables that he had just harvested that week, and he found an amazing change in the buyer’s attitude. They no longer ask him for non-seasonal vegetables and no longer complain that there is no family favorite in the basket. They just buy and provide satisfactory feedback.

The overall situation is still pessimistic, because the end of this crisis seems to be farther than we originally thought. Many people are still unemployed. In recent memory, this earnings season has seen the largest revenue cut known. Businesses that provide services, from hotels to airlines, travel and tourism, beauty and beauty care, to maintenance, refurbishment and restoration, have all been severely affected. But everyone knows that some things are undergoing major changes.

No one agrees with the view that companies will return to normal as they did before the crisis. Families are surprised by their survivability and ability to work without having to bear so many expenses on goods and services as before. The overall consumer basket has shrunk, causing many people to worry about the consequences of a recession in the global economy.

But there must be positive factors.Seed Innovation It is those who have the power to change the narrative of the world that are sown in the crisis. Social media, WiFi, the Internet, and all the technologies that support and connect people, these tools that are portrayed as evil in modern society have become saviours for people who cannot imagine how socially isolated lives will live without these tools.

The world owes you a thank you Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and other large technology products and solution providers, when people have to work in isolation at home, they can make a lot of things happen. But not all big ones will be considered beautiful. The relevance to people’s lives will become the touchstone. That would be an interesting turning point.

As small businesses innovate and create niche market shares in local communities, and as consumers show higher preferences for their products and services, large businesses will eventually see competition and resistance from their products and services. We now question whether the benefits of scale and specialization lead to mass production that may cause greater harm.

This is most obvious in the food industry. The awareness of healthy alternatives to processed foods continues to increase; avoid adding sugar and fat to packaged foods; shocking unethical behaviors have led to the presence of harmful substances in daily foods, which have begun to change consumers’ choices.

This is why the innovation and creativity of small entrepreneurs provides an interesting case.Once upon a time, every Small business When you seek venture capital, when to go public, and how to grow bigger, you will set your own goals. These may not be the default goals after this crisis. May re-respect the remaining small, local and niche markets.

If this preference is confirmed, the investable areas of capital market investors will change. The best local companies do not issue shares and are open for public subscription. Economic benefits will flow into the real market instead of the financial market. There is a great need to restore the lost balance.

(The author is the chairman of the Investment Education and Learning Center)

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