The COVID-19 outbreak has had severe impacts on many if not all industries operating in Australia and across the globe. With restrictions placed on travel and leaving the home, there has been a considerable impact on consumer demand and behaviours — particularly the huge reliance on being able to buy online.
Some businesses, however, thrived in lockdown — typically if it involved selling food, alcohol, and other essential items online. For the businesses who solely relied on in-person services and selling of goods either found themselves quickly adapting to the online environment in order to stay somewhat operational during this time. Or at the very least, survive.
It’s been a steep learning curve — but what have the challenges of COVID-19 taught us?
Diversify your product offering
The businesses that had more than one method of delivering value fared best. For example, food and hospitality businesses that already had takeaway and delivery options set up were able to redirect their efforts into these channels that didn’t rely on face-to-face interactions.
COVID-19 has shown us that it’s important to diversify your business offering. That’s not to say of course, not to focus on your primary source of doing business, but rather look for other opportunities your industry offers. So in times when business-as-usual isn’t possible, your business won’t be left high and dry.
Now as restrictions are lifting, many businesses that have transitioned into offering online services and products have found that rather than solely going back to their previous business arrangements, they’re keeping their new avenues open for those who are using them and might even prefer them.
Don’t turn your back on digital
In light of COVID-19, digital means of doing business have become more popular than ever.
Australian eCommerce sales are now anticipated to grow 11.1% in 2020 as opposed to a previous estimate of 2.4% as a result of COVID-19.
Cash withdrawals on the other hand are predicted to decline by 5.8%, according to GlobalData. With fear of catching and spreading COVID-19 through contaminated cash, Australians moved to ordering and paying for goods and services online, not only because they felt it was a safer and more secure method, but also because of the travel restrictions.
These figures make an incredibly convincing argument for Incorporating online payment technology into your business.
Businesses that already had a functional website with the ability to take payments online were one step ahead when restrictions came into effect in March. However many others quickly jumped on board, creating services that could be accessed online, such as online tutoring materials for coaching and tutoring companies, and online workouts that could be done from home for health and fitness businesses.
Create a business continuity plan
COVID-19 forced Aussie businesses to step up their agility. While we might never see another pandemic that shuts down the world like COVID-19 did (at least we hope), having a plan to work out how your business will respond can give you guidance during a similar stressful time.
A business continuity plan is something you can create that factors in things like global shutdowns of business.
Get yourself a coffee and use the time to reflect on the past few months. Ask yourself questions about how your business handled the restrictions COVID-19 enforced.
- What did you get right during COVID-19?
- What could you have done differently?
- Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you had set in place beforehand that could have helped you during the lockdown period?
It’s also important to remember the next crises that could affect your business might not come in the form of another pandemic.
Some examples of crises that your business continuity plan will help you prepare for:
- Technical issues that could affect any technology you rely to conduct business
- Employee issues, for example many workers were required to work from home during COVID-19
- Natural disasters, like the Australian bushfires earlier in 2020
- Economic crises, like the 2008 global financial crisis, which could impact your customers’ finances
A data breach which could compromise your data or your customers. To find out what kind of an impact a data breach could have on your business, read our article on the cost of cybercrime.
Make sure your payment processes are airtight
Businesses that have complete control and visibility over the finances are the ones that can better weather storms that get thrown their way.
Making sure your invoices are getting paid on time and are optimised means you can count on income coming in regularly, rather than infrequently when left to manual invoicing.
The stronger you can make your payments processes, the stronger your revenue stream will be. It can be hard to have an idea of where your finances stand when you don’t have complete visibility over your finances.
Whether you’re waiting on a tardy customer to pay that invoice from three months ago, or you don’t have a single source of truth when it comes to payment reporting, not understanding where and when your revenue is coming from leaves your business and you at risk.
Read our article on five easy ways to ensure your payments experience is streamlined, to help you achieve faster processing and settlement with your online payments.
If you need help setting up recurring revenue, our online payments experts at eWAY can help you get on the right track. Enquire here to get started.