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How to deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

These are uncertain times for many individuals and businesses alike. But we can all come out of this situation stronger and wiser. Businesses should optimize their operations, pivot if necessary. Coffee professionals should learn how to future-proof themselves. Here's how we think you can get through this period and emerge stronger than before.

By now, everybody is well aware of Coronavirus situation.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the future holds significant long-term challenges due to the virus. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities within the chaos. The mindset we should adopt is not merely "how can we survive this situation?" but instead "how can we adapt and take advantage of this situation to grow?".

Failure to plan is planning to fail


The Situation

Not everyone is equally impacted by the situation with the coronavirus. Many heartland cafes are experiencing a boom and business has never been better. The increased number of people working from home has only served to grow their market.

Others in the CBD are less fortunate and see disrupted sales due to a shrinking number of customers geographically. The response strategy to adopt will obviously differ based on how which camp you belong to.



What to do : Businesses

If you are lucky enough to be one of the beneficiaries enjoying increased business from the pandemic situation, here's what you should be looking at.

Captialize on the increased business as much as you can. Identify and remove bottlenecks in your supply capacity to meet the increased demand. Increase marketing spending to generate awareness and convert new customers into loyal fans. Strategize on ways to retain your new customer base even after the virus situation is resolved. But, be wary of overexpanding to meet what could be only a temporarily increased demand.

If you are not so lucky to be benefitting from the virus situation, as most hospitality and tourism industries would be, here's what we suggest you to take action on.

Immediately review all your cost and budgeting options. Reduce unneccessary costs wherever possible and look for support. Government grants, landlords and suppliers are the first areas to look for aid during these difficult times.

DIY options are always more cost-efficient compared to outsourcing work. Roasting your own coffee, in-house training, kitchen prep, marketing and accounting work are all ways of reducing costs.

Customer behaviours and patterns are different now. Remote work environments, shifts to online marketplaces, "social distancing" are all newly implemented measures. These changes need to be reflected in your sales channels and communication methods to effectively reach your customers.

Understand the new opportunities available in the market. Brainstorm and pivot to new products and services to reflect new demand. Ideas such as bottled cold brew, coffee drip bags/sachets/capsules, delivery services are all possible solutions.


What to do : Employees

Uncertainty in business, gloomy economy landscape and a plethora of recession predictions do not bode well for employed folks. But it doesn't have to be all bad. Here are some ways to protect yourselves now and position yourself to do well in the future.

1. Take the stress away from your boss.

During these difficult times, your boss has enough to think about and stress over. Don't add to it. Do what you need to do, do it well and solve for problems before they come. Your boss doesn't need the additional work of having to micro-manage you.

2. Provide additional value.

Go above and beyond your job scope. What is your boss focusing on? What problems does he/she have? Communicate with them. If you can help solve their problems or provide help to the task they are focused on, they will be very appreciative. How can you help them to save money, improve business, retain customers, get new customers, optimise operations? Take the initiative.

3. Future-proof yourself.

The bar has been raised. Only the absolute essential will be retained. Understand how to future-proof your skillset and protect yourself from lagging behind your peers. What new skills can you learn that are valuable to your company? Could you learn how to roast coffee? Develop, market and sell new products? Improve productivity through creative processes? Upgrading your skills and providing value to your company is the best way to protect yourself from the inevitably turbulent times ahead.


What to do : Consumers

"One man's spending is another man's income." - Ray Dalio.

All the cost savings in the world wouldn't help without the support of our beloved customers. During times like these are when small businesses need the most help. If you have a favourite cafe, coffeeshop, restaurant, now is the time for you to show your support.

Patronize them as much as you can. Whether its buying things from them, giving ideas or moral support, every little bit helps and I am sure that they would be very grateful. Otherwise the possibility of them not existing when all of this is over could be very real. #supportlocal


Conclusion

Ultimately, the most important thing is still your health and safety. So no matter what you choose to do, please stay safe and follow the appropriate guidelines from your local health authorities and behave responsibily within your community.

Wash your hands!

Here are some extra reading material that could be useful during these trying times:

Tips for businesses dealing with the Coronavirus:

Christopher Feran Covid-19 Tips Compilation

Cafe Culture's saving your cafe business/

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