Big Picture

Where Should Companies that Benefitted from the Pandemic Go Next?

There is no reason why industries that benefited from the pandemic cannot still grow today. By being empathetic to your customer base and not overreaching for your goals, you can maintain a strong customer base while keeping your investors happy. Continued, sustainable growth is still possible with the right approach.

The pandemic is a different story told through different industries. For some, such as the hospitality industry, it was a time of hardship. Restaurants, hotels, and travel agencies all suffered revenue losses and some were forced to go out of business. Leaders of these companies have had quite a sobering few years; thankfully, the sun has started to break through the clouds.

For others, the pandemic was a significant opportunity for growth and innovation. A large space opened up for eCommerce and streaming platforms, and the effects of innovation in these spheres have made lasting impacts. Microsoft revenues have increased steadily since the pandemic began, and Amazon’s profits nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021. CEOs of essential businesses could not have forseen such “luck” when the calendar turned to 2020.

You could say our economic cycle has gone through an interesting phase. As quickly as employees have been laid off, the need for talent has increased two-fold. But the opposite is true for industries that grew during the pandemic. With a looming recession on the horizon and sky-high inflation dampening consumer spending, companies such as Amazon, Oracle, and Microsoft are now looking to decrease their labor force — a problem some would say is more challenging. What are forward-thinking leaders to do?

Post-Pandemic Complications

Many technology companies failed to predict that once the pandemic slowed down, people would want to minimize their screen time. You can see this desire to unplug by the number of virtual events decreasing by 15% from 2021 to 2022.

Some companies have tried to combat this recent decline in sales by increasing prices or providing less for the same price. And in some ways, this makes sense. These companies went through a period of wonderful success, and they are trying to stay on top now that things are slowing down. If your goals are an overall increase in revenue, however, those two short-term solutions may not be the best move right now.

A better solution for revenue growth in the long run is not raising prices or offering less for more; it’s incorporating accessibility.

Strategies for Growth in a Post-Pandemic Digital Market

Instead of having an idealistic approach to the changing market in a post-pandemic world, it is best to look at it realistically. Here are some steps for leaders that can be taken to encourage sustainable growth in the new market:

  1. Set realistic expectations and communicate those upfront. Be honest about where you are and what you expect from the market.It is not realistic to think that customers are going to shop at the same rate as they were during the pandemic, nor should you expect them to. Instead, you need to be honest with your investors about the changing landscape of the market. This might be a scary step to take, but alienating your customers can be much more disastrous than worrying your investors. This approach will strengthen the relationship you have with current customers and help you attract new ones.
  2. If you must raise prices, be honest and transparent about why. Trends have shown that customers are willing to pay a little bit extra if they have a good reason for why costs are going up — such as raising wages for employees. In fact, if you must raise prices, it is probably a great time to increase overall wages at your company. The pandemic was a hardship for all of us, but it also instilled a sense of community. There is a good chance a lot of your customers were affected by the pandemic and are more likely to be empathetic to raised prices, especially for raised wages.
  3. Serve your customers.Speaking of money and wages, a lot of people are having a hard time with finances right now. Offering flexible payment plans can go a long way in retaining a loyal customer base. Building this trust will incentivize current customers to spend even more money on your product when they are able to in the future.

There is no reason why industries that benefited from the pandemic cannot still grow today. By being empathetic to your customer base and not overreaching for your goals, you can maintain a strong customer base while keeping your investors happy. Continued growth is still possible.

Written by Christine Alemany.
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Christine Alemany
Christine Alemany is an advisor at TBGA. She has a passion for helping emerging companies grow and scale. Christine has more than 20 years of experience reinvigorating brands, building demand generation programs, and launching products for startups and Fortune 500 companies. In addition to her work at TBGA, she advises startups through Columbia Business School’s Entrepreneurial Sounding Board and is a teaching fellow at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center.

Christine Alemany is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.