COVID-19 has taught Caribbean businesses the hard way about adaptability and digitalization.
2020 was a difficult year for businesses across the region. Businesses of all sizes and types had to adapt to a quickly changing world and more so, a rapidly changing consumer market. While it has been difficult there are a few key takeaways all businesses can learn from this past year:
1. Be Adaptable & Flexible
This is easier said than done but it is perhaps the one common lesson businesses across the world learnt in 2020. Businesses learnt the hard way that they had to react and adapt to any changes quite quickly in order to remain competitive in the market. For many Caribbean businesses, this meant digital transformation for their entire or parts of their company.
Companies must continue to practice this even when restrictions are relaxed. Ensuring that your business is flexible to any potential changes allows for future protection. Whether it be e-commerce or cloud computing, a business should always prioritize flexibility to ensure they remain competitive and active despite any small change in the business environment.
2. Focus on your Priorities
When the pandemic first occurred in the region businesses had to think quickly and analyse and then prioritize every aspect of their business process. Employee safety being a priority for many businesses. In turbulent times it is important to make quick decisions but that doesn’t mean they have to be the wrong decisions. Businesses have to carefully (& quickly) assess: the products/services that are profitable, the marketing channels that have a high return on investment, the parts of the business that can be digitized etc.
While it is not ideal to have to assess these situations quickly it is important that companies check these aspects of their businesses regularly to make sure that their business is practising the best strategies to make a profitable and good product/service.
3. Maintain Customer Relations
Your customer relations must never falter no matter what is occurring. These are the people who will keep you afloat so you will want to ensure that your business is continually accessible and listening to your customers at all times. Customer expectations changed rapidly during COVID-19 and companies learnt the importance of actively listening to and engaging with customers to ensure their satisfaction with the product or service and the customer service.
This is especially true on social media platforms where Caribbean businesses can directly communicate to consumers. Businesses can speak to their customers directly and ask them questions like what their favourite products/services are, what issues they have had with the business and more. Its harder to gain more customers than it is to retain your current customers so you must listen to them to ensure you are in line with your customers and their expectations for your business.