The rapid sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the economic, business and commercial sectors in Nigeria and the world at large. This event has caused some businesses to fold up while the few standing needs to strategically reposition their businesses to remain relevant.
After unprecedented lockdowns and restrictions to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection, business and government leaders are wrestling with the question of when and how to ease them. Various approaches are being tried, and there are wide differences of opinion. Much of the broader debate is polarized as if only two conditions exist — “closed” or “open.” The stakes couldn’t be higher. If there were ever a time for rational decision making, it is now.
According to Wickham, 2001, strategic positioning concerns how a business as a whole distinguishes itself in a valuable way from its competitors and delivers value to specific customer segments. It considers the strength and weaknesses of the organization, the needs of the customer and market and the position of competitors. It also allows the business to spotlight specific areas where they can outshine and beat their competitors.
Strategic Positioning During COVID-19
Acknowledging the presence of the new Coronavirus as a global pandemic with precedent occurrence, countries globally went on lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus. The effect of the lockdown transformed businesses from offline to the online mode of operations resulting in changes in strategic positioning. Steps to remain relevant during COVID-19 are not limited to below;
- Critically and decisively reduce cost by considering which expenses are avoidable and other expenses that may be reducible without affecting the quality of your business.
- Adopt the current market trends in a complementary way like the use of technology in carrying out business transactions.
- Analyse both your direct and indirect competitors to understand what they are doing differently and which strategies seem to be most effective.
- Analyse your customers as their attitudes and preferences evolved in line with the changing situation.
- Train the workforce to be abreast of the present situation and beyond.
- Adopt a proactive approach to understand what change will occur and be ready to consider market or product diversification and differentiation. This will help you to adjust products, services and strategies to meet current and future customer needs.
- Keep an open mind and stay positive.
- Begin to see the future of all your product beyond Covid-19 and begin the change process now.
Strategic Positioning After COVID-19
COVID-19 invaded the world without prior notice or anticipated invasion and though we hope for it to fade off, it might take a long time for things to stabilize. With that in mind, businesses need to prepare strategies to remain viable until the business environment becomes stable. Few steps businesses can take are;
- Evaluate the market to grab the opportunities available.
- Accept the change that Covid-19 has brought business operations, customer preference, and customer relations, and adapt to it.
- Begin to explore the future of your product or services and align with it.
- Expand customers’ base.
- Continuous analysis of customers’ attitudes and preferences for easy adaptation.
- Keep an open mind to learn, train and re-learn.
There is still much we don’t know about Covid-19, but we are learning more every day. When faced with profound uncertainty, decision-makers often fall into the trap of inaction, waiting for more information to emerge, or the trap of abandoning analytical rigor altogether — basing decisions on gut instinct. Neither is helpful. Inaction is a form of action. While no analysis can provide perfect certainty at this point, decision-makers need a clear-headed assessment of the current facts on Covid-19, and an understanding of the critical uncertainties and their importance. Both are needed to frame the objective well and develop good solutions.
And given the uncertainty, equally important is building the capacity to learn and adapt quickly: to monitor progress against the objective, assimilate new information and learning as it emerges, and refine and evolve decisions.
Stay Safe: Obey and comply with all the rules and guidance from the government, relevant government agencies like NCDC and the Ministry of Health.
Stay Sane and connected: Maintain your physical wellbeing by finding time to exercise, work-out, and think positively.
Stay informed and productive: Your sources of information must be credible to avoid fake news from media.
Business owners should put in the best use of their time in assessing the business frequently and ensure strategies put in place are effectively and efficiently utilized.
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