The coronavirus pandemic has been hugely damaging for economies around the world. A cursory glance at the day’s news and it becomes clear that many organisations are fearing the worst.
Last week, for example, the British Chambers of Commerce released its new business confidence tracker. It surveyed 600 UK firms, finding that a third were set to furlough at least 75% of their workforces, while around half had cash reserves that would last three months or less.
These are incredibly challenging times and every company – from sole trader right up to multinational enterprise – is having to make difficult decisions. However, not each of these decisions will be a negative one; some businesses will seek opportunities to pivot, expand and strengthen during the coronavirus crisis.
At One World Express, we pride ourselves on maintaining a positive, proactive and pragmatic approach to business challenges. Many companies fall into this category – the ability to maintain a positive outlook despite the multitude of challenges involved in a growing business is a vital characteristic for leadership teams.
Since we were founded in 1998, the One World Express team have seen and overcome a number of seismic events disrupt. The bursting of the dotcom bubble, the global financial crisis and the fallout from Brexit are just some of the biggest we’ve experienced over the past two decades.
The COVID-19 pandemic is, of course, different. This is fundamentally a health issue, and people’s wellbeing is paramount. But the private sector must find ways to push on. People must remain employed. Supply chains must continue to operate. And entrepreneurs must keep hold of that positive mindset.
Adapt and grab the opportunities
At One World Express, we are supporting businesses through this crisis. Indeed, we are proud to say that we quickly introduced new health and safety measures to protect all our employees; this was of paramount importance and involved the issuing of personal protective equipment such as face masks and sanitisers. We looked at examples of how our partners in China responded to the pandemic and mirrored the structures they introduced, along with the UK government guidelines, to ensure a smooth transition into this “new normal”.
Crucially, our cross-border delivery solutions remain available as normal; we continue to work with customers around the globe, helping businesses of all shapes and sizes with their logistical needs, both international and domestic.
What’s more, One World Express is further bolstering the support it offers clients – we are waiving all of our consulting fees for the next three months (April, May and June 2020). This means we will be providing free advice to businesses who need help understanding how they can get their stock to different markets around the globe.
Think bigger, think global
Given self-isolation and social distancing has meant that traditional forms of commerce have ground to a halt, online delivery services are more important than ever. We have seen a significant increase in the number of companies – particularly small independent merchants – needing to set up a distribution network so they can still get their goods to customers.
It has been really positive to see businesses adapt in this way, finding new pathways to reach customers as well as new markets to infiltrate. By doing so, they are making sure cash continues to flow. And that is the underlying message that the One World Express team would encourage leaders to embrace: there are numerous opportunities amidst the challenges we are currently facing.
There are businesses with stock, products and services that are still in demand – they just need to find a new way to showcase and deliver these. And this might involve taking a more global perspective; again, at One World Express we often work with SMEs who think global trade is out of their reach when, in reality, it is both affordable and hugely rewarding.
Different countries and different markets are being affected by the pandemic in very different ways. Therefore, businesses that can expand their customer-base across different territories have the best possible chance of not just surviving the COVID-19 storm, but actually flourishing in the coming months.