Since we are already very familiar with what Corona is and how it has led to this lockdown, let’s move straight into the topic with some stats. As we all know the world economy is at a serious meltdown right now. Our streets being empty has led to the economic fall, increment in unemployment rates and drops in share values.
According to an article in Fortune.com, the United States has been hit with a14.7% unemployment rate from below 5%; the highest since 1940.
“Another 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims in the week ending April 4. That follows 3.3 million and 6.9 million in the two previous weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.”
The unemployment rate in Italy has always been higher compared to countries like the USA or UK, but due to the high impact of the coronavirus, it has been predicted that it will rise to 11.2% in the year 2020. Similarly, Germany’s unemployment rate has hit a huge rise due to this pandemic where if the situation isn’t controlled, it could rise from 90,00 to 2.35 million in 2020.
Since the virus was spread starting from China, we should talk about how it has impacted there. China has been able to employ most of its population pre-pandemic with an average of 4.07 percent from 2002 to 2019 reaching an all-time high of only 4.30 percent. But due to the recent conditions, as many as 205 million Chinese workers cannot find jobs or are unable to return to their previous posts; causing frictional unemployment. It could increase the unemployment rate by more than the 6.2 percent figure posted by the government survey.
Our neighboring country India (where 8,446 cases have been confirmed and 288 deaths have been reported) is also facing the meltdown due to this lockdown. Statistical reports by CMIE clearly show that the unemployment rate has spiked up to 23.4 percent in the last month or so. The cases of Coronavirus and unemployment in India hugely impact us (Nepal) because we are totally reliant on India for various goods and services which can hugely impact our economy and unemployment rates.
We might not have a cold hard stats for the economy and unemployment rates in our country, but we can be certain that it won’t be a stroll for us considering that some of the biggest countries in the world including two of our neighboring countries are hugely affected by it.
The economy is on a fall or a meltdown since the beginning of the lockdown. With roads being empty and shops and businesses being shut down (even temporarily), it is only good for nature and no one else. We are pretty certain that the fall or the meltdown that is happening in the world’s economy is really bad for us, but is it already a situation of economic depression?
The way we are moving right now with the spread of the disease increases, the future certainly suggests that we will be in an economic depression. We are already in recession and experts have suggested that we are close to seeing something as worse as The Great Depression.
As layoffs continue to push millions of workers into unemployment with rates increasing every day; even lacking work from home and companies begin to suffer. To be precise about the two terms, however; the recession is when the economy shrinks for at least two fiscal quarters in a row (six months). It is calculated by Gross National Product and it is considered to be over when the GDP line inclines. Economic Depression, however, is a situation in which it is rare and long-lasting up to years instead of months. For example, in the last 166 years, we have had 33 recessions and only one depression. It is considered as depression when two or more recessions linked together with no economic recovery in between. Currently, we are at an economic downturn, which again is a different term than depression or recession. Downturns are actually pretty common and are essential to a healthy economy.
Not only in our country, but we have seen the entire world closing down all the businesses and factories for the time being as a measure of safety; and until the development of COVID-19 Vaccine, it is the best thing to do until further notices are provided by WHO or the national government.
Every country has been impacted negatively by this pandemic; and accordingly, in Nepal, it killed Visit Nepal 2020. With all publicity and marketing done to broaden the tourism industry this year like Visit Nepal 1998 and Nepal Tourism Year 2011, this year was planned to get more tourists to come to our nation for the benefit of the local business around the nation and the country’s economy in general. But that ship sailed the moment the government locked down all the non-essential businesses around a month ago. With the meltdown in businesses of Restaurants and Lodges foremost due to the unannounced cancellation of Visit Nepal 2020, it continues to link to every other business and the entire country’s economy is facing the consequences. The active yet poorly marketed Visit Nepal 2020 has had an impact on every other business, some directly such as Airports and Airlines, Hotels and Restaurants, Travels and Tours, etc. and some other businesses indirectly as well.
The top three countries with most visitors in Nepal are India, China, and The U.S respectively and these countries have been hugely impacted by the Coronavirus. Other than tourism, we mostly rely on these countries, some of the countries for the import and export of products and some for education purposes as well.
We are all feeling the tension, the stress, and the negativity because this is a messed-up situation for the whole of mankind. The doctors and scientists are investing their time and effort to find a proper vaccination, the government has been working to save their citizens by extending the lockdowns. That leaves all the entrepreneurs and also the intrapreneurs (workers) but there’s nothing we can do about regular jobs until businesses are. So, what are the business owners supposed to do?
Nothing but negative energy is floating around the air these days but there is something we can do about it. There are businesses that have absolutely no way of lasting in a world where the streets are empty, eg Tourism, Restaurants, Ridepools, etc. This might be the right time to think about what you are lacking rather than making a fuss about it which is a solution for all of the businesses at this time of stress, panic, and negativity; to work on the renovation of the organization.
Business Owners are having trouble staying in the lockdown panicking about different things, first of which could be the worry for their organization after the lockdown ends. First of all, the respawn of the nation’s economy itself can be a big deal, then to get back into the market with the same energy can be difficult due to multiple reasons. So, to avoid this it is important for us from outdoor businesses like Travel and Tours to indoor businesses like Computer Training Firms, every one of us can use this time to renovate our business. We can invest our time, brain and money on building up a better Business Model which pays us back after the world goes back to normal; which will take time but is eminent.
Some of the things that we can do to renovate the business’ workflow, management and system and a proper renovation in lockdown are:
To define the terms above in the simplest and digital language, visiting a website of an organization is the digital way of visiting the office for regular queries. So, it is important that our website be informative of our organization, have the uniform color sequence as we want to paint in the heads of the visitors when they visit our organization and it should be attractive and clear as well. Enabling back end activities such as booking appointments via the website can also be of huge benefit to the organization. It might be the right time to make a proper website or make tweaks in the current one to make renovation in lockdown.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of getting our website as a top priority in the most used search engines, most importantly Google. When we make any Google searches, how often do we go to the second page? Being candid about it, we can say not really often. A business’ status is designed by how highly it is regarded by Google. Google is trusted like any review magazine these days so with proper SEO techniques we can get our website to achieve high in the most used website today; Google.com. So, it is important to provide time to market your product on Google during this renovation in lockdown.
SMM stands for Social Media Marketing which is an essential requirement these days. People are active in every renowned social media platform (now more than ever) be it Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or Twitter. At these moments, your business’ social profile being active on these platforms can show a positive sign as per the image of the business. Posting informative updates with reliable sources about the virus, keeping people engaged with contests and other interesting posts to keep the likes and engagements flowing may be vital to get ourselves ready for the period after this pandemic and for proper renovation in lockdown.
Now, this was to help our business keep up with the competition post-pandemic. But for everything to work out properly, we also need to help the nation’s economy get back on its feet. To do that, we should use local products more than international products. The use of local products for regaining the stability of the country’s economy is essential. As we all know the pandemic has caused international flights to be reduced to zero; Which automatically means zero imports and zero exports. Therefore, instead of vacating the stock of international products that benefit no one, we should try our best to use local products for the time being and make switches when it is most beneficial for both the parties. Similarly, local brands should target the international standard. When the usage of local products increases among the local customers so the quality should also be enhanced accordingly, to increase loyalty. For which the most basic requirements can be increased productivity and proper branding.
So, instead of dwelling on the time as a loss for our business, stressing out over the days to come and negativity over the spread of the virus, we should stay home, stay safe and use this time for productive learning. The internet is slow these days but that’s what we have to make the most of; the fact that we still have access and use it to learn online about many things we never had time for. It may be for personal benefit or the benefit of your organization, anyways possible we should prepare ourselves for coming back into the market with a bang; in a way that we help the nation’s economy first and help our business reach the top accordingly.