The year 2020 has brought much confusion and turmoil as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As the world went into lockdown, many businesses were forced to close in an effort to decrease the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, many local businesses had to shut down due to financial issues, while others were faced with a new challenge of how to maintain operations in the new age of social distancing.
Large companies such as Google, American Express, Microsoft and Airbnb extended work from home policies indefinitely, with Google extending its policy into 2021. However, not all businesses have the luxury or resources to follow suit.
Fortunately, companies can take advantage of some opportunities despite the current global climate. Below, we will focus on the importance of technology and a change in mindset, which could help businesses continue to grow as if the pandemic never happened.
Technology: An investment, not an expense
Technology is extremely prevalent in the modern workplace. Every day we converse with clients via phone calls and email. Some companies, however, still value their face-to-face communication with clients. Did you know that there are more avenues of technology that can keep people connected? COVID-19 has given birth to a different means of communication. Since the pandemic, there has been a drastic increase in demand for video calls via platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.
Utilizing video calls can help companies maintain relationships with clients as well as build new ones. This is more than a simple telephone call; the use of the video function allows for more meaningful communication because you can read the body language of the client.
At Magone & Company, we’ve made it a point to engage in video calls for almost all our client meetings and are seeing great results. Clients are more willing to help us in performing our procedures since we’ve made an extra effort to be present in their business, even from behind a screen.
Gone is the time of technology being an expense; it is an investment in the business and relationships that cannot be overlooked.
Turning pandemic challenges into business opportunities
Look for opportunities in your organization to change delivery processes or business development strategies using technology. It’s one thing to have the technology, but now you must use it. Some companies may not feel comfortable with the use of video conferencing due to a lack of knowledge, or maybe they just do not feel it will have a positive effect on business.
In contrast, a transition to a more remote based work setting can have significant positive outcomes, such as reduced rental expenses or building operating costs. Reimagine your facility needs as well as your hiring needs. What skill sets are required? Geography may no longer be an impediment to hiring the perfect candidate, though you still need to be cognizant of the state tax effect of such a decision.
For Magone & Company, we’re winning new work outside of our geographic region despite having no offices remotely close to the client location. Our consistent use of video calls allows our employees to build positive relationships and also produce efficient communication to discuss our engagement progress, without ever stepping foot in the office. What was unimaginable in January or February of 2020 is now standard operating procedure — and it’s paying significant dividends.
Embrace the transformation
The year 2020 has taught us that life can change instantaneously. One of the key components to a running a successful business is being open to change. COVID-19 brought more change than most would have hoped for, however this did not stop businesses from assessing new avenues of success.
Restaurants suffered greatly from the imposed lockdowns, which caused owners to develop solutions to help mitigate the risk of closing. As a response, many establishments experimented with outdoor dining and curbside pick-up as a means to generated revenue flow. Others have gotten even more creative. According to an article from the Journal of Accountancy, one particular restaurant owner considered transforming a section of his establishment into a market for customers to buy food.
The same can be accomplished with your business with the right mentality. At Magone & Company, we saw an opportunity to establish a more prominent advisory practice in which we help our clients be better prepared to operate. This proactive, rather than reactive, approach has helped our clients to establish more efficient and effective business strategies. How can you reimagine your business to take advantage of possible opportunities?
Yes, this year has been rough and challenging; however, as outlined above, there is no need to panic. There are ways that businesses can restructure, recalibrate and execute successful business tactics. We have seen positive outcomes to continue to help our clients grow.