SME Business & The Black Swan

Covid – 19 or The Corona Virus is not an outlier and therefore cannot be treated as a Black Swan. It's a virus which should have been treated like any other because we human beings exist with several trillion viruses within us. This particular strain has made a greater impact on us which has caused the entire world to shut down and go into hiding.

The spread of information or mis-information has been dynamic and has triggered a fear not seen before and never on this scale. Our vulnerability is not just the virus at the moment, it is this weakness – the dreaded un-verified, un-corroborated information being sprayed on the world populace by those who are the watchdogs of such pandemic events and it is this which is causing us to react irrationally. The Corona Virus is not a Black Swan but the reaction to this fear, amplified & especially caused by an external stimuli which is customized to worry and cause dread is - very much an outlier and it is one that is persistent and deadly.

I say this as a prelude to the SME Business because I wish to make a point. The point is that our perception has changed with this experience and all that we could accept a mere few weeks ago in terms of ‘living and eating lifestyle’ will never be acceptable to us, ever again. The same goes for rules of social contact. Everything has changed. This change will impact Business.

The SME Business has already undergone a sea change, whether we accept it or not and as I foresee the change in our perception and therefore response to current style of Business Operations, I would recommend permanent changes to those who wish to succeed as a Business in post Covid-19 environment.

I Foresee That…

A. Extreme Hygiene In All Businesses will become Mandatory & Essential.

B. Extreme Hygiene will effect Packaging, Process, Systems, Purchase, Supply, Preparation, Logistics, Storage and Waste Disposal Methods, not necessarily in this sequence.

C. Virus Free & / Or Covid Free / Disease Free will become a Quality Standard

D. Offices will need to have distancing even while seating their staff which will have implications on real estate and working capital / capital too since restructuring of existing facilities will be required to make offices bigger, better and cleaner along with being conducive to the environment - neighbouring or otherwise, all these are indicators of increase in costs. The result will be Rapid Development and Implementation of Work At Home Systems & Processes and may lead to smaller offices which will become really tech savvy.

E. Medicine & Ancillary Support Businesses will do well, especially those that are able to integrate technology leading to wide market reach. Also those Businesses that address the problem of Medical Waste Disposal in ways that have least impact to environment. This will be key.

F. Ecommerce will do well if they are able to deliver tech that can make the shopping experience for a consumer better and offer better pricing and wider options in terms of products and faster delivery.

G. Delivery and Logistics Businesses should do well especially those that can supplement Ecommerce Businesses and provide both door to door pick up and delivery systems along with storage for their Ecommerce Businesses along with Real Time Information Systems.

H. Payment & Digital Gateways addressing ease of use and security will do well and if they are able to form New Alliances with product or service company’s ending up creating new products and addressing large niche markets, they may end up with great bottom-lines leading to a win-win.

I. Information & Strategy Consultants will become necessary for Doable & Executable IDEAS coupled with Right Information. They will be the key to success in The New Marketplace leaving this niche wide open to Experienced Executives with Ideas to support SME’s as Consultants in the true sense of the word.

J. Preparation and Sales Points especially where it comes to food will come under a lot of scrutiny and the sale will go as far as the reputation. This will bring in new products that can either vouch or display the quality of hygiene in the entire supply chain along with manufacturing processes to ensure that customers do not harbour any doubts in regards to hygiene and cleanliness. Tech could be a play here in order to support transparency of production, preparation, etc.

K. Restaurants, Malls & Theatres may become a thing of the past or will require large re-modelling, expensive processes to create trust leading to higher and expensive real estate and other costs which if not correctly handled may impact patronage and sales.

L. People will be extremely serious on Environmental Issues and Filth/Non Hygiene will not be accepted lightly as was before. The world is not going to compromise after this covid-19 debacle and any foul up of the environment, by any product or service company may find themselves at the forefront of trouble and those keeping themselves in check will find themselves in demand. Housekeeping and Maintenance Company’s providing top quality tech, management and solutions including those dealing with Waste Collection & Recycling will be in great demand.

M. Fossil Fuels may be hit leading the way to alternative energy options which are abundantly available now.

N. Company’s selling Health Products & Services will do well and they will now have to address niche markets along with solutions that are wholesome and complete along with certifications that have trust in the marketplace from consumers.

O. Reporting will change with social media as it already is evolving and people get to see perspectives and opinions of varied experts and their experiences with and without bias allowing people to make decisions for themselves, all in real time. I foresee a lot of changes taking place in our World but more importantly,

I see this happening because the perception of today’s experience has changed us and this experience has taught us that nothing is more important than our environment along with hygiene and health which will lead us and our family to a happier life.

Now there is no going back, either we brace for the present and the near future and prepare ourselves to change and tweak according to where we are today or not. This is the time for decisiveness, alliances and BIG BUSINESS. Whether we are aligned with the movement to deliver results based on demand or not, that choice is ours!

Raj Sukheja CXO Red Mammoth Ventures

A Firm Providing Business & Financial Consulting with Strategy Advisory Services

Author of “Masters Playbook of The Ompossible”