Ensuring business continuity during COVID-19

How to make your business more resilient during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowly but gradually altered economic, political, and social activities worldwide, Nigeria included. The economy has suffered the most damage, as a recession is imminent, and businesses are bearing the brunt of it. Now, Nigerian businesses are tasked with ensuring that they thrive and withstand the challenges of this new peculiar situation they have found themselves in. They have to test the current business model, evaluate the options available and execute innovative strategies that improve resilience.

The initial step is an evaluation of the business to pinpoint the areas that may have been affected by the pandemic. This could be the business' processes, employees or revenue generation. After identifying the areas that need improvement, develop a strategy that focuses on finance and alternative opportunities for growth (perhaps by taking advantage of new technology) and review contractual obligations. Alternatively, incorporate all of the above into a hybrid strategy that takes into account both your business' risks and opportunities. Create a budget to help manage your spending via careful allocation of available resources. Now is the perfect time to use cost-effective options where possible to make your business more sustainable.

Next, identify the key products or services that contribute to your revenue and device ways to facilitate them. In today's world, there is a myriad of technological tools that can improve various business processes. Look for ways of integrating technology into your payments, project management, sales, marketing, communications, business development, accounting, etc in ways that save time, cost and promote efficiency. Now that we have more people working from home, it will be easier to convince them to use these new tools, in place of whatever they might be accustomed to. Evolving in this way also sends a message to users/customers/clients that the business is committed to servicing their needs no matter the business climate.

Reviewing all contractual commitments with your partners or clients or users helps ascertain if they are affected by the pandemic. Things like loans and contracts have terms and conditions that may be impaired if business processes have been affected. For one, the pandemic may be valid grounds to renegotiate a contract or loan obligation on grounds of a force majeure or Act of God. Keep abreast with media on any laws or rules the government might enact that might compensate for the pandemic. Consult with your lawyer to explain whatever terms you find difficult or do not understand. Make sure to contact and negotiate with any partners on contracts or loans that might already be affected or defaulted on to come up with solutions that will not negatively impact the business.

After taking into account the above, create a strategy to reverse all the pinpointed effects of the pandemic on your business by summing up financial compensations that each option will bring. After that, initiate the reversal strategy by fully executing the business continuity plan of action. Finally, by comprehending the risks and costs of each option, plans for future uncertainties can be made. This process ensures full value realization and business continuity during the ongoing pandemic.

In all of these, do not forget your key resources: your team. Employees are the backbone of the company and choosing the best practices to ensure that they are safe will contribute to business continuity. Make sure that you have a health and safety policy that is updated to incorporate the new COVID-19 protocols and communicate it to every member of the team.

Key takeaways

Despite the seemingly dire situation, business continuity is possible. Whether or not your business processes and revenue generation have been hampered by the pandemic, you can assess the effect COVID-19 has had on your company and implement strategies like the following to strengthen resilience:

  • Cost and finance management

  • Leveraging on technology to find alternative ways to conduct your business

  • Reviewing all contractual commitments

  • Create an updated COVID-19 health and safety policy for your employees.