Four Essential Business Lessons To Learn From the Coronacrisis

Remember that time when corona was just a beer you would drink with lime? Funny how things change. The coronacrisis has turned the whole world upside down and now challenges almost every aspect of life as we know it. This also counts for business. In an attempt to stop the virus from going viral, many companies have had to put their operations on hold or radically change their business models. However, we should not forget that crises not only lead to sleepless nights, they also lead to important business lessons we should take into account in the years to come. . Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lesson 1: Working Remotely Actually Works
The coronacisis creates an interesting experiment as it comes to working from home. According to a study by Gartner, many managers used to be hesitant about this way of working. In fact, 54% percent of managers indicated that a poor technological infrastructure was the biggest barrier for working remotely. It turns out that indeed, in our ever increasingly digital world, getting the tech straight still is not easy. However, chances are you had not even heard of Zoom before this all started. With parties such as Google and Microsoft  offering their services for free and with other awesome online tools entering our daily lives, the digital environment becomes easier to navigate for anyone, tackling the technology barrier. 

Lesson 2: You Can Trust Your Employees
Another direct result of working from home, is that managers need to trust their employees. Especially for the micro-managing type this might be challenging. According to the Gartner study discussed above, 76% of managers would have concerns about employee productivity when they are unable to keep an actual eye on them. In reality, however, those concerns are often unnecessary. Although sharing a desk with three screaming kids rather than three lovely colleagues causes problems of its own, the study showed that employees working from home mostly manage their time rather effectively. In fact, they leverage the time of day when they are most productive. The bottomline? Most employees are probably as productive working from home as they would be working at the office. Managers who worry about employee productivity should set clear goals and accurately manage expectations. 

Lesson 3: Creativity Is Everywhere
Sometimes we forget how creative we are, especially in times of crises. Tons of incredible initiatives have been launched this month. From helpdehoreca.nl here in The Netherlands (where you can purchase a coupon to spend at your favourite bar or restaurant when they open again), to virtual museum tours and from virtual concerts to online workout programs.

The lesson learned here, is that crises present us with obstacles. Embracing those obstacles and combining them with what your business excels at, provides promising opportunities for innovation.

Lesson 4: Use Scenario Planning To Your Advantage
Perhaps the most important lesson learned, is characterized by the simple fact that the future is uncertain. Although this is common knowledge, nobody was prepared for this crisis. COVID-19 functioned as a friendly reminder of how volatile the future really is. Now that it is here, strategy is more important than ever. Scenario planning can be a very effective tool to guide you through this mess, to limit the surprise factor the coming months or years. How to go about it? Here’s an idea:

    • Clarify the corona phases: e.g. 1) withstanding the impact, 2) going back to normal, 3) sorting out the new industry dynamics.
    • Define the challenges: for each phase, clearly describe the long-term challenges that could arise. Although firefighting might be tempting, we need to think about the long run here.
    • Clarify the options: If the challenges have been identified clearly, it is mostly possible to come with options that appropriately tackle the challenges. For each option, specify the pros and cons so that you can weigh them against each other.

    • Build scenarios: Based on your options, the phases and potential input from your key stakeholders, create your scenarios. What resources would you need in each scenario? How will your relationships with stakeholders change? E.g. if you are a fitness company, your worst case scenario might indicate you are going to be offline for a good while. That means technology will play a far bigger role than it did in the past. You might want to invest in this, or broaden your knowledge on the topic.

In sum, being confronted with a global pandemic is new to any company. Without any doubt, its effects are going to be felt by almost any business. However, in order to capitalize on the coronacrisis, it is important to stay alert, stay creative and help each other out where possible. Are you a startup of scaleup in need of some support? We’d be happy to help out. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.