The Impact of COVID-19 on Our Business
“Every single day, a better world is built by those who defy cowardice and take action in the face of difficulties”.”
― V. M. de Miranda
The world has faced some Olympic-sized challenges as it has been forced to contend with the Covid-19 pandemic. Who could have predicted a year ago what 2020 would have in store for all of us? If anyone had told us that most of the world’s population would be in lockdown, wearing masks no one would have believed it.
Economically, the toll of the pandemic will go on to be felt for a long time all over the world. Many businesses have closed or are closing, while others are struggling to stay afloat. How ironic that this time of challenge has proved very profitable for some.
Here at Answer Hero, we have had our fair share of challenges related to COVID-19. Although we are still adjusting to the new reality, we can already look back at the last few months with some important takeaways.
Like many of our clients, we were stretched in ways we never anticipated.
Initially, many of our clients saw a significant drop in their revenue due to lockdown regulations and business closures.
Due to the nature of our business here at Answer Hero and the fact that we service a diversity of our clients the drop in activity of clients in some industries was largely neutralized by a rise in activity for clients in other in-demand industries.
Some of our clients that saw a marked increase in services included doctors’ offices and home repair services. Doctor’s offices saw a surge in calls from patients who did not want to risk physically going into a doctor’s office for fear of contracting Covid-19.
Home repair services saw an increase in call volume due to many people spending more time at home. Tackling those home repairs that they had been putting off, suddenly became imperative as people had to spend most of their time at home. Some people, realizing that working from home is the new normal, wanted to make the necessary home renovations that would allow them to successfully work from home on an ongoing basis.
One sector that saw a significant drop in call volume included the legal sector. Except for labor attorneys, the legal profession was almost completely shut down and saw a corresponding drop in business. However, we are happy to report that there has been a steady, gradual recovery over the last few months among our legal clients. Even so, there is still a lot of uncertainty for legal professionals like those in the immigration field.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Small Businesses in General
Covid-19 has impacted businesses of all shapes and sizes, but small businesses have taken a much bigger hit due to their smaller customer bases, and tighter revenue margins.
Let’s answer the question about COVID-19’s impact on small businesses by breaking the answer down further into three distinct categories.
Initially, some analysts likened the shutdown due to COVID-19 to turning off a switch and turning it back on when things get better. Unfortunately, many smaller businesses didn’t have the financial resources necessary to withstand the initial widespread shutdown all that well. Even now, small businesses are still struggling to survive, especially with people still hesitant to do in-person transactions.
Some businesses saw substantial increases during the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, many healthcare and IT support companies have not only survived but even thrived. Businesses that are surviving are doing so by learning how to run on leaner budgets and less debt-laden operations. For some businesses, this may mean temporarily laying off full-time receptionists or other office workers.
The pandemic has forced many business owners to abruptly adjust business practices. For many businesses, this has meant incorporating remote work protocols into their everyday operations. Other businesses have been forced to think creatively and adopt out-of-the-box strategies to continue to operate.
Some businesses that we have helped have had to start:
• Utilizing open access schedules e.g. calling to schedule consultations or appointments
• Using Answer Hero as a live translation service
• Using AnswerHero to provide their day-to-day call answering and routing
How Are Businesses Pivoting and/or Adapting?
Because of lingering uncertainty with this global health crisis, COVID-19 preparation is pretty much standard procedure for many businesses right now. While every business will have unique ways of responding to COVID-19 concerns, many businesses have been pivoting and/or adapting by:
• Encouraging employees to work from home whenever (WFH) possible*
• Expanding telehealth services to allow for virtual visits or consultations
• Placing more of a focus on online ordering and support
At the same time, there is also increased uncertainty when it comes to the revenue outlook. Many businesses are addressing this concern by being more proactive about managing expenses and debt levels.
*The work-from-home model may become permanent for some businesses if it is working well and may have long-term positive effects on profit margins.