The hysteria of the Pandemic continues to baffle the most strategic & tactful planners, the most intelligent, and the most conservative of all. No country, agency, sectors, states, or businesses Worldwide were ready for the unprecedented disaster of all times.
Let us admit, all Risk Management models failed us totally and there was not even a precedent set of Disaster Recovery models to begin to even think & wrap our heads around and follow and tweak for what laid ahead of us back in 2019 December. Well, I am not using the word disaster to describe the supposed Pandemic itself.
Is it a Pandemic, really?!
All I know is that if I answered yes to that, most Economists of the World today would disagree with me and argue how statistics helps us understand that it is in no way so. All the facts, statistics, adjustments for variables, mortality data, and gaps in between will not qualify this as the assumed Pandemic it is today.
It just won’t add up when compared to historical Pandemics like the Spanish Flu, except for its obvious signs & symptoms, but yet not the hidden root causes; and therefore, preventing a road to steady recovery, introducing normalcy and a planned rebound of the economies Worldwide. It’s a fact that businesses are the backbone of any invigorating & productive economy. Ironically, the actual disaster would be to continue to see our businesses go down, economies collapse, and to not do enough to prevent it.
In the lesser advanced economies, the one important aspect to understand is that the restrictive nuances of the Pandemic related rules, regulations, and lockdown agendas, trickle down from a usually well-intentioned tactical approach to problem-solving, decided at the top of the chain of command and then find its way down into the many forms of ridiculous interpretations of these orders and the tactical carrying out of instructions at the lower chain of command, converting them into the many nuances we hear about in the news, causing inconveniences and conflicts to the civic life every day that affects your common businesses and business persons to a larger extent.
The reason is that any business person trying to navigate a lockdown or business operations’ related restrictive lockdown rules, is not out there to entertain himself or his family; but they are most definitely out there to work, make a livelihood and earn their bread and butter. The draconian policies and restrictive lockdowns and the associated nuances make it very hard for the businesses to just be able to make ends meet for the most part and operate smoothly.
There are obvious conflicting views on the subject matter from a variety of experts but what’s to be really felt and understood with empathy and lots of compassion IS that our businesses are being deeply affected, struggling to go on, and being shut down to no point of return and let’s make it clear up front that a business is not just an establishment – “it is a Human behind the establishment”; and, their families, extended families, friends, communities and so on.
Let’s try and see what’s holding our businesses back around the World from a common point of view & discussion:
- Restrictive rules around times of operations making business strapped for lack of time to operate fully
- No financial assistance/ compensation relief package, businesses are left to cave into their savings at times
- No cash flow
- No assistance to operate safely namely sanitizers and PPEs, businesses are left on their own to source their own safety measures for their employees that can be expensive and at other times impossible for small businesses, depending on your World location & affordability
- Complex terms & conditions to obtain loans which usually come at a very high-interest rate
- Interest rate cuts on savings
- Businesses having to pay daily wagers, with no financial support system to do so, even during non-operating lockdown days
- No financial support compensation packages to mom & pop or non-registered/ partially registered businesses
- No compensation relief packages handed out to each citizen; regardless of their financial status (every citizen is affected)
- Increased violence and damages to businesses and keeping in mind that not every country has insurance as a part & parcel of its infrastructure
- Ad-hoc/ almost overnight restrictions introduced, sometimes without warning or lead time that affects and halt operations partially or fully
- Lack of empathy, sympathy & compassion & use of unnecessary brute force in carrying out lockdown related orders by authorities causing stress, disruption, and sometimes mental trauma & physical injuries to those, unfortunately, happen to be involved
- Lack of passion or motivation affected mental health & physical stress
Let’s think about how we can effectively stabilize the economies. It is undoubtedly by giving enough leverage to small, medium & large businesses to run without the draconian lockdowns which are accompanied by the many other nuances.
While the advanced countries like the US have announced and released relief compensation packages & loans to reduce the impact, there are countries where the Business persons are left to their own devices, literally struggling to manage their time, income, cashflow, workforce, labor, resources, daily wages, salaries, employee health care costs, safe work environment, their own personal struggle and family issues.
In case the governments don’t realize, it spells a foreseeable disaster, not to come to rescue businesses and help their own economies from collapsing. Here are some ideas to help out businesses of all scales:
- An easily understood financial assistance package with an easy process & clear terms for applying
- Separation of duties in evaluation for eligibility and more than one person to review & evaluate financial assistance requests (no one person decides). Introducing the third channel to bring it to a wider advisory committee if rejected at level 1.
- Personal Protective Gear (PPE) and other safety assistance to businesses to enforce & support safety standards to enable the smooth running of the business – they cannot afford to keep up with the added burden
- Cut the politics and take a compassionate/ assisting approach to businesses since the supposed Pandemic is enough stress & burden for everyone involved — including the personal lives of businesspersons and their families
- Cut the red tape, paperwork, complex terms and regulations that do not make any sense and which harm the ability for businesses to operate
- Cut the wasteful spending in the form of stimulus bills and seriously ask the question, “what are we trying to help” and cut to the chase to channelize it appropriately
- Making sure the veterans get a priority to receive relief packages while making sure compensation is provisioned to all
- Have emergency relief insurance provisions in case of damage due to riots, vandalism, or violence after a due process of investigation and evidence of the occurrence
- Extend financial support compensation packages to mom & pop or unregistered/ partially registered business with adequate proof of operations
- Applying empathy, sympathy, and compassion by authorities to prevent abuse of power situations and using power only where necessary
- Rescue stranded businesspersons/ operators in challenging/ restrictive economies or World locations by offering them asylum programs/ packages so they can begin a new chapter
- Offering health maintenance packages & education, either free or low cost
- Introducing collaborative extensive & cohesive networks of resources, verticals, horizontals, labor, materials, financial exchange, and barter Worldwide for smooth operations of businesses preventing individual disruptions (farfetched but someone’s got to bring it to the table to be considered)
At the end of the day, the governments cannot just announce a ‘Pandemic’ and then take a sit & watch, do nothing or take the do-minimal approach or worse leave its inhabitants and businesses struggling to cope with the unfathomed. If you classify and call it a ‘Pandemic’ and introduce lieu of restrictions; make sure you supply the infrastructure that any scale of Business will need to survive in these times, so your economy, in turn, does not collapse. Perhaps, it’s a good time to collaborate Worldwide and exchange ideas and information and strategic plans and resources to support our businesses.
Written by Pooja Duggal Batra. Have you read?
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