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How To Make Your Business More Financially Sustainable after COVID-19


How To Make Your Business More Financially Sustainable after COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak in December 2019 came at a time when the global economy was trying to get its act together after being slowed down for a while by trade tensions, especially between China and the US. The much-needed transition towards sustainable manufacturing and clean energy has also played a part in slowing down the global economy, but for a good reason.

When the virus checked into town, all the gains we have experienced over the last decade were turned upside down. Businesses now have to address the health, social, and economic impacts of the coronavirus on top of the already existing geopolitical (e.g. Brexit) issues that impact the business.

Supply chains all over the world have been disrupted by the pandemic, millions of working citizens infected, hundreds of thousands dead, and billions of potential customers rendered jobless. To compound these miseries, most markets are under lockdown, and no one knows for sure when life will get back to normal. The big question now remains: How will business people make their businesses more financially sustainable after COVID-19? Here are 5 measures you can take as a business leader to counter the financial impact of the coronavirus:

1. Leverage employment organizations when expanding internationally

If your intentions were to expand to international markets, or if you had already opened shop overseas, you can collaborate with professional employment organizations to source for and compensate employees. You can, for example, count on a Japan employer of record to help you to establish presence and support personnel in Japan cost-effectively and efficiently. They will help you hire new talents, manage existing staff, and navigate the legal requirements and obligations that come with business ownership in Japan. When you don’t have to worry about managing employee payrolls and compliance issues, or to hire an HR department for that matter, you are able to save on overhead costs until your business recovers fully from the coronavirus shock.

2. Re-evaluate your supply chains

The coronavirus has grossly exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains. Companies that depended entirely on Chinese manufacturers or raw materials have been forced to close down temporarily with some closing shop completely. Businesses that will survive this pandemic have to look beyond first- and second-tier suppliers, especially for their key products’ raw materials, and expand their supply lines to bring in more players. Businesses also have to expand their markets. Having a contingency “plan B” will not be enough. You will need to diversify in all aspects of your business so that if one line closes or is unable to recover fast from the pandemic, you will always have alternatives.

3. Reach out to customers

Do everything that you can to retain your main customers. If they owe you, don’t be quick to pressurize them to pay because they are also struggling to get back on their feet. You can loosen repayment terms a bit to accommodate the new normal- this is one of the small prices you may have to pay in order to keep your business afloat. Your lenders are probably doing the same for you. The most important thing here is to maintain open communication lines with your debtors, creditors, and other clients and being honest with one another in case of any payment difficulties. In the long run, when you are all back on your feet, you will still have your customers, and cash will start flowing in as it used to.

Reaching out to customers also means reaching out to new markets, or offering more products to your existing market. If your existing market isn’t recovering as fast as other markets, it is okay to move your business elsewhere. If one of your competitors has closed shop, this is your chance to move in for their customers. Be courageous to fill in every gap that the virus could have created within your market, and to explore other options that could bring in additional cash provided they won’t compromise your brand identity.

4. Update your terms and conditions

There are some terms and conditions that you have held on for too long, some of which have left your business vulnerable during the ongoing pandemic. This is the time to scrap them all and create better terms that protect you from future crises. In fact, you would rather pull out of a contract now and pay the cancellation fee, rather than push on with it and incur losses in the end.

Going forward, you need to take a proactive approach in revenue, employee, clients, and commercial risks management. Crisis management is a process; not just an event. You will need all the teamwork and support that you can get if you are to pull this off. Flex your network and get rid of any dead weight.


The Most In-Demand Business Language Skills in 2020

The year 2020 is here. If you’re soon to join the workforce, or if you’re a seasoned professional planning to take their career to the next level, learning a second language can be one of your best moves.


According to the World Economic Forum, the 10 skills that one needs to succeed professionally in 2020 are:

1. Complex Problem Solving

2. Critical Thinking

3. Creativity

4. People Management

5. Coordinating with Others

6. Emotional Intelligence

7. Judgment and Decision Making

8. Service Orientation

9. Negotiation

10. Cognitive Flexibility


Being a bilingual speaker has clear cognitive benefits. All these skills can be acquired and refined by learning a new language. A second language is a highly regarded skill as well. In our increasingly interconnected world, companies that operate (or aim to operate) internationally with customers, partners and talent distributed across the world, are looking for multilingual people.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the language skills that will be the most in-demand this year. These skills are a second language and the cultural awareness that comes with it. Let’s take a closer look.

Why You Should Learn a Second Language

What specific language you should learn will probably have to do with your industry and your location. For instance, if you’re based in the United States, learning Spanish might be your best option. Estimates suggest that approximately 99.8 people of Hispanic descent will live in the United States by 2050. And, with a collective buying power of over 1.72 trillion dollars, the Hispanic population is one of the most promising consumer sectors in the country.

We can see an increase of culturally-sensitive advertisement targeting Spanish-speaking customers, as well as an increase in the request for professional translation services.

On the other hand, you might want to learn a language you could tie concrete professional opportunities. For instance, if your industry is booming in Italy, you should learn Italian. If your sector’s great innovators are in Denmark, perhaps you should learn Danish.

Throughout the last twenty years, the British Council has produced a series of reports titled “Languages for the Future”. It was concluded that post-Brexit, UK-based professionals should take their time to learn Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Arabic or German. Think about what’s best for you, considering your location, industry, discipline and goals.

Of course, if you find a language and/or culture you’re particularly interested in — whether because you enjoy their media, or because of your own ethnic roots, even better.

It’s worth taking a moment to further explain how a second language might benefit you professionally.

For starters, bilingual workers tend to get paid more. And, with the digitalization of the workplace, remote work on the rise, and an increasing number of companies of all sizes sourcing talent internationally, bilingual workers have a clear competitive edge. They can communicate better through international organizations, and they tend to have higher cultural awareness than their counterparts. Cultural awareness makes for a healthy, strong and diverse company culture, and it’s also the key to high performance. Cultural awareness is the vehicle to above-average creativity, critical thinking, and negotiation skills. Let’s see why.

Cultural Awareness & Why We Need It

Cultural awareness has been defined as:

“ [S]sensitivity to the similarities and differences that exist between two different cultures and the use of this sensitivity in effective communication with members of another cultural group.”

Those who have cultural awareness can see their own culture from the perspective of an outsider, and see the differences between cultures in an analytical, intelligent and sensible way.

Cultural awareness has been linked to increased creativity because it’s about raising above our assumptions and experience and empathizing with others. Those who have spent a season abroad, taking part in academic or professional programs, have developed this creativity by constantly dealing with mundane situations that they couldn’t navigate through on “pilot mode,” as they would in their own culture.

Understanding differing preferences, interests and codes of conduct also boosts your emotional intelligence and makes you a people-oriented, flexible professional with leadership potential.

The Next Step

Now that we understand how learning a second language can boost our career and help us bring greater value to organizations, we could:

-Learn about the in-demand languages in your industry

-Find a learning method or strategy that fits your needs and the way you like to learn

-Consider using apps, films and other unconventional learning assets

-Set clear and realistic goals

-Explore relevant institutions, schools or academic programs

Remember that learning a second language isn’t just about adding a line to your resume. It’s about growing as a person and as a professional. And, like all learning processes, it’s basically neverending. You should always be looking to learn something new. As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”