The Financial Opportunities of The Pandemic

Author: Sagar Chandiramani, Finance Director
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Over the past 6 months, a lot has been said about how the pandemic has destroyed businesses, industries and economies altogether and I don’t disagree with most of them. However, not many spoke about how best to navigate and benefit out of the crisis and this write-up is here to do just that! 

Needless to say, the pandemic has triggered some irreversible changes to the way businesses operate with technology leading the path to most changes. Everything seems to be moving to the cloud; restaurants are converting to cloud kitchens, supermarkets are becoming ghost groceries and with companies operating remotely, almost everything is now virtual! 

While the pandemic has undoubtedly taken a severe toll on life and health in general, it has also created ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities for businesses which may never be a certain possibility (in the near future at least).

With Virtuzone playing a key role in boosting the startup ecosystem in the region, we have had first-hand experience in sensing the opportunities that have risen from this pandemic which were not only beneficial to the businesses we set up but also to us and our strategic partners as businesses.

 

Below is a gist of some opportunities that show the brighter side of the prevailing situation:

1. Review, reflect and control – the pandemic has compelled businesses across all industries to review their businesses from a 360-degree perspective right from relooking at the selling prices, costs and overheads. This, in effect, has burst the otherwise enlarging bubble that inflated the value chain and had a domino-effect. Going from a bottom-up approach, reviewing overheads has allowed businesses to optimise their expenses which otherwise took lesser priority when business was as usual; apart from optimising overheads, businesses have been able to relook at their cost prices and renegotiate costs and payment terms with their vendors. The cost reduction and overhead optimisation both would have a lasting impact on the ability of the business to remain sustainable as the core and in parallel, be profitable.

2. Best time to start off if you have a business idea in mind and are thinking when to start, let me tell you that there is no better time than now! Some of the biggest unicorns like Uber, WhatsApp, Groupon and Instagram were all founded during a recession. The pandemic has brought about three major benefits for budding entrepreneurs – affordable and reduced company setup costs, void in the market and chance to innovate. Entrepreneurs can now incorporate their companies for as low as $2,000 staging them to a world of opportunities. During this time, several large corporations that failed to adapt to the changing environment exited the market leaving a void for new companies that could innovate using technology and e-commerce. Apart from the low setup costs, almost everything at this point is running below normal market prices be it top talent or utility expenses. Several companies have had to let go of their talented staff to sustain the storm caused by the pandemic and this talent can be used by startup founders to build strong teams right from the initial stages of the business. 

3. Good time to invest – with companies attempting to navigate out of the pandemic and vulnerable businesses going extinct, the panic amongst institutional investors, venture capitalists and others in general lead to stock markets and asset prices tumbling down to rock bottom prices. As they say, save for a rainy day; this was the rainy day when people who had saved were able to pick up assets at extremely low market prices giving them an opportunity to buy cheap and almost assure themselves of a capital appreciation at quicker growth rates as compared to the times when they were priced higher. 

4. Disruption – the world has catapulted into the future of technology faster than expected! If you have a business idea which has a market demand, is profitable in the long run and has majority of its operations on the digital space, this is your time! Most eCommerce companies across all spaces have seen exponential growth since the start of the pandemic which is unlike what other brick and mortar companies suffered during this time – Virtuzone itself has seen a surge in the number of eCommerce licences being enquired by and issued to our clients which is a true reflection of what the future holds for all of us. 

5. Agility and experience at the end of it all, whoever is reading this write-up would agree that the pandemic has definitely made us a lot more experienced. Unlike the normal times when a decision would have to go through multiple layers of approval that would take days or sometimes months, the prevailing situation this time demanded companies to work with greater agility without compromising on being vigilant on the outcome; this now only allowed companies to slither through the difficulties steadily but also made decision-making a quicker process for the growth of the organisation. 

To conclude, we all agree that we are undergoing a “digital revolution” that would go on to be recorded as one of the key incidents in the history of evolution of mankind and in the times to come, we can narrate first-hand experiences about how we all withstood the pandemic and emerged as successful warriors. 

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