How Covid-19 looks to change businesses


Some of the side hustles will prove to be better alternative to employment. FILE PHOTO | NMG

All indicators are clear that Covid-19 will be with us for a longer period than we thought when WHO declared it pandemic and countries rushed to impose restrictions and close territories to contain the spread.

Consequently, the attention has shifted to instituting safety measures to get people back to work and children to school. It has now dawned on us that the world has changed and we all have to content with a new normal henceforth.

First, some people may not return back to offices after the pandemic. Some will make working from home the norm and others will be rendered jobless after their employers fail to return to business or realise they can do without them.

Second, we must reorganise our lives and businesses in order to survive during and after Covid-19. We cannot continue doing same things we used to do before the epidemic.

Cutting cost by closing branches, reducing activities, prevailing upon employees to take pay cut and rendering others redundant are short-term survival measures.

However, it is good to appreciate that we are in a marathon, not a sprint race. This means total overhaul of our modus operandi is an existential necessity.

Third, Covid-19 epidemic has opened the eyes of employees. Never before have majority of employees worked so hard and gotten so little money to take home. In the process of working hard for less or not working at all and forced to stay at home, many of them have embraced side hustle ventures.

Some of the side hustles will prove to be better alternative to employment. This will breed a generation of hustlers who will graduate into self-employed and business owners.

As an employer don’t be surprised if your loyal employee suggests you alter the rules of engagement so that they can work as a freelancer and continue with their side hustle.

Fourth, forget your original business plan, your customers and your big margins. Don’t expect to start where you left. Everything has shifted. We are in right in the beginning of a new era.

You may as well start thinking of hiring new employees or equipping the ones you have with new skills to make them relevant in the new dispensation. As I have always said, entrepreneurs don’t fail; it is enterprises that fail. If your business is one of those fated to be downed by Covid-19, that has nothing to do with you. Eject it as a pilot would do to ill-fated aircraft midair.

The Indians have a saying that if you find yourself riding on a dead horse the best thing to do is to dismount immediately. Still if you are wise don’t wait for it to die. The moment you realise that its death is looming, simply dismantle and dispose of.

Finally, the most important thing you can do at this time is to learn new skills, plan and reorganise your business in preparing for post Covid-19 reality. This will give you a head start.