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Business Aspects to Consider During COVID-19



The societal topography as we know it have been forever changed. There is also no denying that COVID-19 placed a magnifying glass on existing pressure points that already floundering businesses were experiencing - including those that aren't/weren't struggling. We all know that this is going to be an indefinite uphill battle.


I am fortunate to be surrounded with people who work in various industries - affording me a glimpse of issues that are plaguing them: the medical field; education; background screening; retail; legal; government; fashion; publishing; construction; logistics; and business owner. This respiratory pandemic have impacted all industries - no one is immune:


The medical and logistic industries are experiencing a massive labor and supply shortage; educators are facing technology nuisances as the educational landscape transitions to an on-line platform; retail stores are faced with the challenge of executing new safety practices in the fight to expediently deliver a clean and safe environment for their employees and customers; the global fashion industry is forecasting that a significant percentage of companies will fail in the next 18 months which will impact millions of jobs; specific in-person government services have come to a staggering halt; legal services scramble to provide their clients the most valuable up to date information to navigate COVID-19's business implications and legal considerations; certain small business owners are fighting to stay afloat; and CFC entities are scrambling to find ways to preserve current taxes without generating additional taxes from foreign subsidiaries that are generating taxable income.


Ever since this pandemic started, a couple of friends and I - whose background includes a hodgepodge of work in business management, fashion publishing, and law - have been holding a weekly video conference call to stay in touch. During one of these video calls, we explored what each of us believes to be the three most important business aspects to consider in order to alleviate further financial devastation.


These are my thoughts on the matter:


Accounting


I have always been a big proponent of diligently monitoring a company's financial health and keeping an eye on regulations that can have a potentially significant impact on a business. During 'normal' - and I use the word 'normal' in a normative form - macro environment, accounting would be second whilst business planning/strategy would be first; however, in a pandemic, accounting becomes the most important aspect of any existing business. Period. Why? Let me present these questions to you. How do you even begin a marketing campaign if you don't know your cash flow? How do you determine the appropriate number of staff to send to a location shoot without knowing your budget? How can you look for investment opportunities if you don't have an understanding of your balance sheet? How can you make fundamental changes to your CFC if you are oblivious to which GILTI tested losses can be converted to a qualified deficit? You unequivocally cannot and will not be able to make sound business decisions without knowing your accounting.


Strategy & Human Resource

Hope and faith are not viable business strategies - rely on them and you will fail marvelously. Due to an unpredictable future and an even more unstable economy, one must learn to have an existential point of view. Yes, just like psychology, philosophy also plays a critical component in business. The old adage of 'supply and demand' will never change, but nowadays, the ever changing business landscape operates in the realm of complete freedom. Gone are the days when brands/companies could practically dictate consumer behaviors. With the rise of the internet - the information superhighway - consumers are now inundated with an abundance of choices. Businesses must learn to adapt, be flexible, and be ahead of the trend. This goes without saying, but you'll need trustworthy people to ensure proper execution. Never underestimate the importance of qualified, hard working, and reliable employees. Choose your people wisely and reward them appropriately.


Marketing

What is your brand - your vision? Who are your target audience? What makes your business unique? What does your cash flow look like? These are only a few preliminary questions you'll need to explore to determine what type of marketing will better suit your company.


The purpose of marketing is to remind people of your company, and the products and services you provide. In order to do this, large businesses often utilize mass marketing. And why not? They have the capital and resources to saturate their chosen media outlets. But if you're a small business owner, do you think it wise to imitate this particular tactic? No. Small businesses simply cannot run advertisements in sufficient volumes to make it worth while. You'd run out of money faster than you can blink. Your best bet is to turn to direct response marketing. It's the fastest way to engage potential customers and elicit a call to action without the need for deep pockets and resources. But of course, let's not forget to address the most vital components you'll need to finalize before embarking on your marketing journey: your brand - be true to it, integrate your vision with your marketing efforts, and have an understanding of your target audience.


It will be a while until we can finally see through the storm, but let's do everything we can now in preparation to successfully navigating these murky waters - with knowledge, determination, velocity, and a bit of luck - we will come out ahead.

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