The response to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak is a testament to human ingenuity. Both as lone individuals, as organizations, and as companies. We have risen to the challenge and threat possessed to human lives by this deadly pandemic on all levels. Though as at the time of writing this, a vaccine is yet to be found for the virus, a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, imposed in almost every country in the world, is beginning to ease.
Before touching on some of the lessons, a small business can learn from a catastrophic event like the outbreak of Covid-19, it is worth touching on some of the feats achieved by individuals and organizations, in their search for resources to contain, treat and combat Covid-10 outbreak.
99-year old war veteran raised £27 Million for health care workers
Health care workers and other key workers are the heroes in the battle against Covid-19. The demand from their services, which they offered at risk to their health, touched 99-year old former Army captain, nearing his 100th birthday. He decided to raise £1,000 by walking up and down his garden until he is 100 years old. Captain Toms fundraiser caught the attention of the world, and he ended up raising more than 27 million.
Mercedes-Benz UK became a ventilator manufacturer
In the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, there were shorts of ventilators, which is one of the crucial hospital equipment needed to keep Covid-19 patients alive. Many engineering companies turn their attention to designing and manufacturing ventilators. One of the companies to success was the collaboration of motor manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz and the formula 1 racing consortium.
The largest hospital in the UK was built in 9 days
Under normal circumstances, if you ask anyone how long it will take to build a 4,000-bed hospital in London, the answer will probably be many years. The Covide19 outbreak saw the UK government build a field hospital, equipped with an intensive care facility that can treat 4,000 people in nine days.
A Huge and Sudden Drop in Environmental Pollution
The lockdown imposed in many countries, including the UK saw a significant improvement in air quality. Some cities saw a more than 50% reduction in air pollution. A reduction that no one could have predicted six months ago. Environmental pressure groups have seized on this to support their argument that the reduction in the pollution they have been arguing for is possible.
US Crude oil Prices turn Negative at Minus $37.63 per Barrel
The coronavirus pandemic is taking the world in many directions it has never been before. It is breaking and setting new records. One of the unchartered and unexpected territories it took the world is the collapse in oil prices. The US crude oil, which traded for almost as high as $150 per barrel in 2008, now costs $0.00. To be accurate, it cost minus $37.63 because oil companies have run out storage space, they will pay you the above sum for each barrel you took off their hands.
Now that we have seen some of the extraordinary things that happened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Let us have a look at some lessons that can be learned from how quick thinking businesses responded to the opportunities presented by the unfortunate situation.
Online Meeting using Zoom Became the Norm
One of the businesses to enjoy unparalleled success, and gain brand recognition beyond the wildest dream of its marketing department is Zoom, the video conferencing platform. While Zoom is not an unknown quantity, it does not enjoy the brand awareness it now enjoys pre-Covid-19. The lockdown measure and social distancing make physical meeting impossible, a gap that a video conferencing platform like Zoom and it’s competition filled pretty quickly.
Indoor Fitness Equipment Boom
Apart from shopper’s panic buying toilet rolls, canned and dry food such as pasta, one of the next items to see a significant increase in sales due to the Covid-19 outbreak was fitness equipment. Because gyms were closed, many people started exercising at home. Many High Street fitness equipment shops quickly adapted their operation to selling online, to keep their business going. It took less adaptable businesses many weeks to start selling online, while some businesses furlong their workers and close their businesses completely.
Online Greetings eCard saw a Surge
When the lockdown was introduced to curtail the spread of Coronavirus, many small things such as going to the shop to buy non-essential things suffered. Going to the shop to select a greeting card to send to a family member of a friend to wish them a happy birthday was not possible. Most people switched to sending an ecard. Birthday ecard platforms such as Hope Spring eCards saw a surge in the number of people using their platform.
Restaurants Turned Takeaway Service
Several local hotels and restaurants were quick off the block. They kept their kitchen going, by turning their sitting area to the packaging and delivery area. Quick thinking businesses like these keeping their business going, whilst also providing important services to their customers and community.
In an utterly unexpected and once in a lifetime occurrence like the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult to impossible to have a contingency plan. However quick thinking and some adaptation to existing business continuity plans can help a business weather such storms with minimal disruption.
Temi Odurinde runs some small online businesses. He blogs and curates contents on digital marketing and business topics at his website, Temi UK. He considers his greatest achievements to date the founding of a small water charity called Hope Spring. You can connect with him on Twitter.