Beyond COVID 19: Four tactics for business survival
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s to expect the unexpected. An
even better piece of advice might come with an additional clause – “expect and prepare for the
unexpected.” In just a few short months, we’ve witnessed untold interruptions to life and business as
we know it. Various business models suggest, however, the U.S. economy could recover as early as
Q4 2020, depending on the efficacy of public health measures to eliminate or contain COVID-19.1 Four key recommendations will not only help you get back on the road to recovery, but also be ready
should another crisis arise.
EVALUATE. Planning is more important than ever
after surviving a business disruption. Even with an
existing business continuity plan, now is the time to
reassess where your organization, employees,
customers and partners stand so that you can move
forward with precision. This might involve answering
some basic questions.
Are our current employees emotionally prepared
to resume work at pre-crisis levels or higher?
Do we have enough staff to support business
needs now and near-term?
Is there now or will there be pent-up demand for
our products and services?
Can partners provide the support needed to
quickly ramp up operations? If we don’t have
partners, will we need them for the next leg of
How will we adapt to lingering effects of this or
What types of business disruptions does our
DIGITIZE. The rapid global spread of COVID-19 led
many organizations to suspend normal onsite
operations and to implement “shelter-in-place”
orders. As a result, these organizations had to find
new means to conduct business, communicate with
staff, and serve customers. Broadband access,
e-commerce, remote work tools, video conferencing,
and video streaming have proven indispensable in
achieving these goals.
Forty-two percent of U.S. consumers responding to a
recent survey said they are “not at all” comfortable
returning to normal social activities as a result of
COVID-19 fear.2 Streaming services jumped by 34%
in March as a result of people staying home.3 Other
businesses that offer online access – for ordering
products and services, managing accounts, etc. –
have been able to accommodate changing customer
needs and continue operations as well. An online
business model offers the “anytime, anywhere”
convenience consumers have grown accustomed to.
Employees have widely embraced remote work
during the COVID-19 contagion, with recent survey
results revealing that 67% of personnel would
support an employer’s indefinite work-from-home
mandate.4 They don’t foresee any inability to
accomplish business goals. Sixty percent believe
they can efficiently do their jobs and 50% said they
would be equally or more productive than at their
normal work location.5
Of course, every employee isn’t a good candidate for
remote work. Responsibilities of some roles are best
performed onsite. In addition, some employees
simply prefer working in the office.
Technology continues to play a significant role in
business evolution. Whether it’s remote work or an
online delivery model, consider which tactics have
been successful during the COVID-19 outbreak and
which to continue in the “new normal.” Be sure you
also apply fraud prevention tools to protect your
networks, communications, e-commerce, banking
and other systems.
INNOVATE. During the pandemic, we’ve seen
transformations in response to need. For example,
both large and small businesses mobilized to
produce and distribute much-needed supplies to U.S.
healthcare workers. Grocers stepped up curbside
service, while restaurants focused on drive-through
Is there something you’re doing differently as a result
of the crisis? Continue to explore opportunities by
How has our customer base changed?
Are there alternate revenue streams we
What enhancements or new products can
Can we widen distribution to serve additional
markets? Are there new delivery methods we
Would partnerships with other businesses help
to expand our offerings or distribution network?
Most often, challenges present opportunities.
Considering new approaches to doing business will
not only help you bounce back, but also better
prepare you for any bumps ahead.
OPTIMIZE. COVID-19 delivered a crushing blow to
the global supply chain, with sobering implications for
profitability. During this time, it’s not only important to
focus on inventory, but to also shore up capital.
Cut costs and expenses
When revenue is down, cutting expenses can help
to preserve capital. From operating overhead to
shipping, take a good hard look at fixed vs. variable
costs to determine where cuts can be made.
Identify line items that will make a significant
impact, as well as low-hanging fruit.
Prioritize and negotiate payables as needed
Depending on your business’s cash reserves,
it might be necessary to reprioritize invoice
payments. Call vendors to discuss whether interim
arrangements can be made.
Step up receivables
Calculate and timely collect what is owed you. Can
you shorten payment terms or offer discounts for
early payment? Bear in mind, you may be asked to
extend the same considerations to your customers
as you’re asking vendors to extend to you. But it’s
important to know how much and when you will be
paid. Contact customers to ask about their ability to
pay. You should also ask your financial institution
about tools that can help securely expedite
receivables and manage payables.
Identify viable funding options
Understand your liquidity and how much you’ll
require to move forward, both short- and long-term.
Call your lenders to reevaluate your credit risk and
understand the financing options – lines of credit,
low-interest loans, etc. – available to you. If taking a
loan isn’t possible, consider investors or
Access to the capital you need is crucial to the
success of your business. A holistic approach, in
which you efficiently manage inventory, accounts
payable and receivables will ensure smoother
For help with business continuity and cash
management planning, contact your Synovus
Relationship Manager or our Treasury & Payment
Important Disclosure Information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
McKinsey & Company, “COVID-19 Briefing Materials: Global Health and Crisis Response,” April 13, 2020
Bain/Dynata Consumer Health Index Survey, April 6–8, 2020
Observer, “Why Some Countries Are Seeing Bigger Surges in Streaming than Others,” April 1, 2020
Glassdoor, “New Survey: COVID-19 & Employee Sentiment on Changing Workforce,” March 23, 2020
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