Mexicali, Baja California, March 23, 2020.- Both in Mexico and in the rest of the world, the current economic scenario is shrouded by uncertainty and expectations about what the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be; a new type of coronavirus that continues to expand its presence around the globe, and for which there is still no cure.
When the damage count arrives, it will be time to put a figure on the impact caused by this disease, in all areas of industry, business, and social life.
Meanwhile, the entrepreneurial sector should stop thinking about such estimates and see this circumstance as an opportunity to innovate and implement new business models, considered Ulysses Moreno López (MBA), Director of the Business Incubator at CETYS University and Professor at the School of Administration and Business at the Mexicali Campus of the institution.
Before making decisions, those who represent a small or medium-sized company, and even those who are in the initial phase of starting their own business, must remember that this is not the first time that we are impacted by a health contingency that leads to economic damages, he noted.
With the appearance of influenza AH1N1, a decade ago, the protocols for action in the face of a health emergency and the economic capacity of businesses were put under test, since at the same time, the national economy was facing one of its most complicated crises in recent years, framed by a great recession that occurred worldwide at that time.
Without underestimating its ravages, the academic explained that the panorama of that time was even more critical than the current one and even so it was possible to get ahead. “The numbers show this since influenza was and continues to be a more lethal disease than COVID-19,” he said, referring to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicates that every year at a global level, there are one billion affected by this influenza, of which between 3 and 5 million are classified as severe, and between 290,000 and 650,000 cases culminate in death.
In contrast, according to monitoring and figures from John Hopkins University, up to the third week of March 2020, 235,000 people have been infected with COVID-19, of whom 9,700 have died.
“Let’s see that, firstly, it is very unfortunate that human losses occur, and then, these losses represent only 4% of those caused each year by influenza. However, uncertainty and fear of the unknown encourage us to panic and misinformation, giving it a dimension that does not apply to the real issue,” he analyzed.
Knowing this, the expert-recommended avoiding speculation and consulting official and verified sources of information, as well as basing business decisions on hard data collected by institutions and analysts who are experts in the field.
In the midst of all difficulty, there is an opportunity.
To cope with the decrease in the demand for products and services caused by the quarantine, implemented by the Mexican population as a strategy to avoid COVID-19 infections, Ulysses Moreno (MBA) invited entrepreneurs to look for the opportunity that exists behind this scenario.
This circumstance, he said, is forcing us to think and act differently, and in this sense, entrepreneurs must, before all, remain calm. Then, apply the three keys that will help you stay afloat while the health contingency and economic volatility end: courage, assertiveness, and prudence.
It is about looking for new ways of doing business, generating new marketing and communication channels with the help of digital tools. Some successful examples are distance education and e-commerce.
Unlike large corporations, small business owners have a greater capacity for experimentation and testing alternatives, changing their decisions whenever necessary without affecting their structure. So the courage to act fast and dare to do business and offer services in a different way, for example, electronically, can set the tone for a business to survive under the current conditions.
The assertiveness of recognizing that any change carries significant risks, and focus on overcoming the fear that this produces, helps to make conscientious decisions that are more likely to be successful, while prudently recognizing the limits of every business, whether is the capital, scope, and risk capacity, to avoid exposing it to losses and other harmful circumstances.
“Inactivity is what damages the economy the most. Staying expectant, not acting, can permanently stop us. And while some stop others are moving forward, so it is best to take this issue as a deep reflection, adapt to changes and always be very innovative and creative, “concluded Professor Brown.