What a difference a week makes, perhaps the biggest understatement ever.

Last Thursday we were discussing NZ’s 20 COVID-19 cases and the introduction of select measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

Tonight we’re heading into a national lockdown for the first time in NZ’s history.

It’s stating the obvious to say we can expect a significant increase in implications for our business community as we navigate entirely new territory for a minimum of four weeks.

 While all of us will be affected to different extents, there is one thing every single kiwi company requires – calm, considered leadership.

Thank you to those of you who have joined our free business support webinars – the feedback we have received has been overwhelming.

Many of us are, understandably, finding it tough but we are pleased to already have had so many of you come back to us having implemented actions from the webinar with positive results. It’s not going to be an easy period, but every little bit helps right now.

If you haven’t already attended the webinar, we have more timeslots available for you to join this week or next week.  Please feel free to share the registration link with fellow business owners. We want as many healthy kiwi businesses as possible.

We will hopefully be scheduling new ones with fresh content in a couple of weeks time — hopefully titled “Restart”. We will keep you posted on this. 

To help further, we’ve detailed some ideas below for keeping your business as robust as possible during this pandemic, including being on the lookout for the positive growth opportunities this crisis can bring – there’s always a silver lining.

LET’S STAY TOGETHER

Yes, we are all physically distant now, but more than ever we need to stay connected and, thanks to modern technology, that’s 100% possible. GROW NZ’s reason for being is to connect people and help kiwi businesses thrive, so we will be out in force in the coming weeks and months with opportunities to connect and tips on how to navigate COVID-19 and its business implications.

We’ve set up an online Facebook community for business experts and business owners to work together through this lockdown and beyond. If you’re scratching your head over an issue, or wanting an opinion on an idea, these will be your people. Let’s rally together and support each other.  Who knows what collaborative opportunities could arise?

 

NEW TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

We have known for a while the power of digital, but its value and impact are arguably being seen now more than ever before.  If you’ve already invested in an agile working culture, online sales and eCommerce strategies you will be feeling the benefits right now.

  • Flexible Workplaces: This is not a new concept, especially internationally, but New Zealand firms tend to still prefer the sense of control that comes with a traditional office environment. COVID-19 is forcing many employers out of their comfort zone and I expect we will start to see flexible working arrangements becoming the norm beyond the lockdown. This also means outsourcing will likely become more popular as employers get used to not being able to ‘see’ employees and their confidence with the use of digital tools, such as video conferencing and file sharing grows. Pro tip: If you’re keen to explore more agile ways of running your business going forward, just make sure you have the appropriate data protection and IT security processes in place.
  • Online Ordering.  Believe it or not, just a few years ago, Countdown supermarkets was grappling with the decision to go online. There was a lot of resistance internally with concern around impact to the brand’s physical stores. As we’ve since seen, consumer demand has led to an explosion in online grocery ordering and many competitors have followed suit. Fast forward to COVID-19 ravaged 2020 and the value of this digital and contactless option is showing its might.
  • eCommerce Trends. In much the same way, businesses with an eCommerce platform are finding ways to stay afloat and recover more quickly from reduced walk-in trade. We are seeing examples of companies in those countries first impacted by COVID-19, like China, bounce back very quickly through eCommerce sales. See this visual below from virtual shopping centre, Tmall, to demonstrate the surging popularity of online shopping.  If you haven’t already – now is the time to get in on the eCommerce action.

 

WHAT’S NEXT? 

There is bound to be a huge amount of learnings to come from this united experience and we will be coming out with tips and ideas on how to survive and thrive remotely whilst using this period to plan your ‘restart’ once the lockdown is over. Stay with us.