The Second Wave is Here: How Businesses Need to Prepare
COVID-19 infections are on the rise, again.
As many experts expected, a second wave of COVID-19 has reared its head. Since Memorial Day weekend, hospitalizations related to coronavirus have increased in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
This is not welcome news for businesses. Throughout the world, businesses were shut down for a long period of time earlier this year, and some have closed permanently. Names that were a household staple, such as JC Penny, Hertz, and Neiman Marcus, have filed for bankruptcy. For many, COVID-19 has led to an era of unprecedented changes and uncertainty. For businesses, these issues have shown up in terms of business continuity, operational standards, supply chain disruptions, and changes in the way we work. For example, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, announced that all workers will work from home permanently, and many businesses have changed to an all remote and all digital model.
It is important for us to learn from the past, and to realize that having the knowledge to deal with these changes is the key to success. Within roughly the last 100 years, there have been four pandemics, and each offered important lessons for businesses small and large. One of the main lessons that arose from past pandemics is that infections come in waves. From recent statistics, it appears the second wave of COVID-19 is here. Unfortunately, this is likely not the last wave, as it is expected that infections will continue to spread until herd immunity is reached, or a vaccine is ready next year.
When examining the 1918 pandemic, we see that three waves of infections took place according to the Center for Diesel Control and Prevention (CDC): the first wave in spring 1918, the second wave in fall 1918, and a third in winter 1918-19. Even though the spread of the H1N1 virus subsided in the summer of 1918, the subsequent wave in the fall became the most fatal in the United States. Furthermore, waves of infections were seen in 1957-58, with the H2N2 virus, and yet again in 2009-2010 with the swine flu. Therefore, even if the number of COVID-10 cases decline, which they have done so over the last few months, businesses should be vigilant and remain prepared.
How You Can Prepare
First, businesses need to take a close look at their operations and business model. Business owners and managers need to be fully prepared for a second, and potentially third or fourth, wave of infections. To do so, it is imperative to develop and plan your business model and operations from top to bottom accordingly.
Also, it is important for business owners and managers to be proactive with any needed changes, and thoroughly communicate needs and changes to staff members. Business leaders also need to continually watch for new developments and take this time to examine weaknesses and threats of the business to refine the plan now before moving forward.
Moreover, companies need to put in place strategic preparedness plans and test them thoroughly before rolling them out. It is also crucial to increase flexibility, expand supply chain options, and identify solutions for worst case scenarios. Most importantly, businesses need to create models to understand all the different scenarios that will impact their customers, employees, and suppliers. This is particularly important for businesses that rely heavily on a large staff and that would be deeply impacted by employees who get sick.
How NMS Consulting Guides Businesses
We have been working with companies throughout this year to help them identify contingency plans, new strategies, and analyze potential scenarios using detailed models. Although it is hard to make monumental changes quickly, businesses cannot brush off such important steps, and need to be very thorough in their preparedness. Our team of consultants are helping businesses throughout this process, and uncovering weaknesses and opportunities owners were not aware of before. We are currently offering a free consultation to businesses, to provide an overview of how we believe we can help avoid catastrophes and major setbacks.
About the Author
Arthur Mansourian has a 12-year track record as both a management consultant and investment banker, advising clients on valuation, capital markets, structured financing, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and general corporate strategy. Mr. Mansourian served as Vice President while at NMS Capital Advisors, when the company achieved cumulative sales growth of over 5,100% with annual compounded sales growth in excess of 120% from 2012 to 2017. With over $5 billion in completed transactions, the investment bank consistently ranked among the Top 10 investment banks by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Mr. Mansourian holds an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business and a Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA, and the CIPP/US certificate from IAPP.