COVID-19 crisis impact on media: How a firm can sail through the crisis

A business must not avoid any delay in taking crucial decisions as indecisiveness may put the firm in a tough spot writes Reva Malhotra.


The outbreak of novel coronavirus across the world and the lockdown imposed by several governments to combat the spread of the deadly virus has brought an unprecedented crisis for businesses. The pandemic has impacted all types of companies and all major and minor economies of the world.

From Wall Street to Dalal Street, share markets of all nations have tanked as business revenues are dipping significantly due to lack of economic activities. Due to the revenue losses, salaries are being rolled back and appraisals (or promotions) are being cancelled in almost every industry.

The communications and events industry of India has also been hit severely as events across the country have been either cancelled or postponed. Launch of products, summits, and other public events are being pushed back. Also, marketing budgets are being slashed across sectors to tackle the coronavirus crisis. Furthermore, the media and public relations industry is dealing with teething issues as employees are working from home and having a difficult time coordinating with their colleagues. The situation is even worse for young enterprises and startups as their funds may dry up during a crisis.

But every crisis brings forth an opportunity for entrepreneurs. It tests the resilience of the enterprise and prepares it for future uncertainties. So, a firm shouldn’t look at the despair side but follow certain steps to sail through testing times.

Appreciate the gravity of the crisis: As the saying goes, “Wake up and smell the coffee”. A business must not avoid any delay in taking crucial decisions as indecisiveness may put the firm in a tough spot. So, whatever you think you need to do to keep your business afloat, do it now.

Be real: As an entrepreneur, your first focus should be on surviving the crisis. You must acknowledge that revenues may get deferred by at least six months as other businesses will also go into survival mode. Some of your ongoing contracts may also get cancelled. So, the expansion or diversification plans can be implemented later as such moves may exhaust your resources further and provide nothing in return during a crisis. Right now, all your efforts should be concentrated towards coping with the crisis.

Be transparent: Don’t let your staff live in fool’s paradise. Communicate the implications of the crisis on the company and keep them in loop. This will strengthen your bond with staff and instill a team spirit among them because everyone comes under the shelter during a downpour.

Desperate time, desperate measures: In Army they say — when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going. So, don’t be afraid in taking tough decisions. Be emphatic with your employees but don’t shy away from taking some harsh decisions that are necessary. Sustaining the shock will be a lot easier if everyone shares a little burden.

Prepare yourself for future: Yes, this is a rather slow period for business activities but it makes for a perfect opportunity to ready your venture for the battle ahead. The fundamental reforms that you have always wanted to bring to the table can be brought now. Once the dust settles and we come out of this COVID-19 crisis, work is going to snowball and your firm should do all the homework to tackle the work pressure ahead.

Stay connected: Don’t let your team fall apart. Conduct meetings on regular intervals via video conferencing and ensure that tasks which can be carried out through online medium are not being procrastinated. In such meetings, a business roadmap can be chalked out for the firm and crucial topics can be discussed.

The online medium: This is the time for a firm to ramp up its online presence. During this lockdown when every person is spending all day indoors, online content is being consumed like never before. For media, public relations, and advertising industry, online platforms provide the best medium to market, broadcast (and publish) content, and make people aware of some business. Higher online traffic can play a pivotal role in saving your business. So, beef up your presence online.

The cash management: Cash flow is like blood for businesses. They can’t survive without it. In order to keep the cash flowing in even during hard times, implement put a plan in place to conserve cash. The earlier you implement the plan, the more you will benefit. The COVID-19 crisis may subside in a few months but the turmoil may persist longer, hence, not focusing on cash flow may prove lethal for your firm’s financial health.

Review: Crisis is usually not an outcome of a singular issue but the result of number of factors interacting together. So, a plan that may have worked earlier or that seems to be working for other companies, may not work for you. You must deal with issues case wise most importantly you must review your crisis management periodically because no two days are exactly similar. If you don’t analyse the effectiveness of your crisis system, your plan may go obsolete.

Implementing these practices is likely to make your business crisis-proof and may even help you reap good profits during these tough times.

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