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A Human Perspective – Global Business in the Post COVID-19 World and The New Norm

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A Human Perspective – Global Business in the Post COVID-19 World and The New Norm

There is little doubt that our economy will not be the same in the post novel coronavirus world. American businesses long have shown the scars of national trauma: Devastating fires, for example, spawned major factory regulations. World War II hastened the entrance of women into the workforce. September 11th drastically heightened security protocols. Analysts say the novel coronavirus pandemic could push broad societal shifts and human behavior. There will essentially be a “new norm” where new businesses will start, others will thrive, and many will disappear. As human beings in this New Era, this article will identify how the human perspective will influence business and consumer trends.

One of the most apparent human factors consumer impacts from the coronavirus outbreak is a shortage of toilet paper stemming from panic buying originating from video’s that went viral such as this one from Australia.

However, upon a human perspective evaluation, there is a supply chain shortage of toilet paper, not an inventory shortage. Consumers are now buying for their homes as the toilet paper supply in offices, restaurants, airports, hotels, and schools go unused.

Other observed human factor trends are a shortage of Viagra where Pfizer is allegedly at full production capacity of Sildenafil at its Amboise France Facility (Now managed by Fereva). Lastly, figuratively related, in Food Science, packets of yeast are also at shortage levels as homebound bakers now have more time on their hands to take the time required to bake fresh bread.

Lastly, the best performing commodity during this epidemic has been frozen concentrated orange juice rising over 20% (Akin to the 1983 film Trading Places)

The most significant impact economists say will likely be dramatic losses in local retail and dining options, with millions of jobs disappearing as the most prominent and wealthiest companies — especially those that do much of their business online — extend their gains. Giants such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Costco — and the rest of the industry. Companies selling groceries and staples are thriving, while the rest are barely hanging on.

Telework, online education, and streaming video services have grown sharply, while movie theaters, schools, and traditional workplaces close their doors. Some will never reopen in a world where the shift from real to virtual suddenly has gone into overdrive. In the entertainment industry, Universal Pictures announced this week that its animated adventure “Trolls World Tour,” due for release in April, instead will be available for streaming. Such shifts, if they take hold long term, could imperil movie theaters, especially small and independent ones that run on narrow margins based heavily on concession revenue.

Virtually any business practices, such as remote work and the online medical visits or telehealth, which were slow to win widespread adoption because of behavioral inertia, will now speed adoption of such unfamiliar ways of doing business. Any traditional face-to-face encounter — going to an accountant’s office, sending children to class, traveling for a business meeting — will seem less necessary as more remote options become publicly acceptable and widespread.

An economic silver lining will emerge for janitors, child-care workers, grocery store clerks, and servers who will be able to demand higher pay and better working conditions in the post-coronavirus world, some analysts predict. Many have called these workers “heroes” in the crisis.

It’s impossible to say what ripple effects these massive disruptions could cause. One analyst pointed to groceries: When few people opted for home delivery, the scale of the enterprise ensured the costs were high, and availability was low. But as crowds of people opt for delivery, the route drivers will grow denser, and customers will expect everything is dropped off at home. Deliveries of items that were generally in-store purchases — fresh foods, prescription drugs — could usher in new economies of scale.

Businesses dependent on prime real estate and bringing people together could be especially vulnerable as people opt against public gatherings, including shopping at malls. That could have other impacts, too: One analyst said he suspected conspicuous consumption — high fashion, expensive sneakers, sparkling jewelry — might suffer when people “don’t have anywhere to parade.”

Other firms may become winners, too. Blue Apron, the food-delivery service, struggled for months to convince investors that people would pay $60 a box for all of the ingredients they need to make home-cooked meals. But the firm saw its stock price skyrocket more than 500 percent last week amid a flurry of new interest. The company said it is hiring workers at its fulfillment centers in California and New Jersey to meet demand.

But as surgical masks become desperately desired items, schools from Japan to Ireland sit closed, airlines scrap flights, trade shows are canceled, and stock markets plunge, the pandemic seems likely to alter the contours of globalization and human behavior. However, one thing we all can agree is human beings will prevail over the virus. As the Great Winston Churchill said: If you are going through hell, keep going.”

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Frank Orlowski is an accomplished Senior Finance Executive and Board Member with more than 25 years of success in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, contract manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Leveraging extensive experience leading manufacturing, operational, and financial strategies across 35 countries.  Frank has also implemented over 30 FCPA Compliance/ Controls Remediation and Certification Programs across 25 countries.

Contact:

Email: frank@ationadvisory.com

Website: www.ationadvisory.com

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How Entrepreneurs can Respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Within the past couple of weeks, communities across the U.S. have taken swift and drastic action to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools have been closed, events canceled, and businesses have changed their day-to-day operations.

In times like these—where the stakes are high and everything is rapidly changing, it’s hard to know exactly what to do. That’s especially true for entrepreneurs, who have to manage their business and care for their employees as well as themselves, their families, and their communities.

With that in mind, here are four ways small business owners can stay informed, prepared, and ready to respond.

Stay informed

New stories are breaking every few hours and official recommendations are constantly developing. With so much information out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed … which can either lead to hours spent scrolling through the news, or tuning it out simply because it seems impossible to filter through everything.

Since it’s important to stay up to date, try putting together a roster of reliable resources you can use to stay on top of the latest news for yourself, your family, and your business—without necessarily spending a lot of time chasing down information.

Here are a handful of sites that might make worthwhile additions to your list.

Health organizations: The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have a suite of medical resources, regular updates on the coronavirus, and guidance for how businesses, schools, and other organizations can protect the health of their communities.

National business organizations: The US Chamber of Commerce is regularly sharing updates and resources focused on businesses and the economic impact of the coronavirus, while the Small Business Administration has resources including employer guidelines, information on their disaster loan program, and a directory of local business organizations.

State and county governments: Local health and business departments are working to take swift action and keep their communities informed as they respond to the coronavirus. Checking in with them can be a great way to understand what’s going on in your community and what services they are offering in response. You can typically find their websites through a quick search.

Look for resources that can help

The sweeping changes we’re seeing in response to the coronavirus are, inevitably, having massive social and economic impacts. With schools closed, events canceled, restaurants vacant, and many other businesses dealing with closures or reduced demand, many people are dealing with reduced income or economic uncertainty.

At this point, nearly everyone is significantly impacted in some way. As a result, we’re seeing government and community organizations come together and try to find new ways to support each other.

If you, or someone you know, is facing challenges as a result of the coronavirus, look for resources that might help. And if you’re not sure where to look, start by checking with your local newspaper or news outlet, or contacting your state or county government for advice.

Here’s a general overview of programs that are already available or in progress:

-Although most schools are closed, many of them are still offering meals to children who rely on school lunches.

-Food pantries are doing their best to adapt to the changing needs of communities.

-The federal government is working to pass response packages that offer economic support to families, communities, and businesses.

-The Small Business Administration is offering resources, including disaster loans, for small businesses.

-Many state and local governments are offering financial relief for small businesses, including tax deferments, grants, legal assistance, and loans.

It’s likely that more and more resources will become available as time goes by. These programs all exist to help businesses, families, and communities get through challenges and bounce back from them, so don’t hesitate to use them.

Find ways to adapt

There are a lot of businesses that are especially hard-hit by the coronavirus. Travel, restaurants, entertainment, events … the list goes on.

And although it would be ridiculous to suggest that all these businesses can mitigate their losses by smart planning and marketing, some are finding ways to cushion the damage a bit. For example, some restaurants are closing their tables but offering delivery or pickup instead. Retail shops are focusing on ecommerce efforts.

If you’re seeing a substantial drop in business, take some time to brainstorm. Talk to other entrepreneurs in your community (perhaps via a virtual meetup). Look for new needs and opportunities, and see if there’s a way your business can pivot or stretch to fill them.

Challenges and obstacles can lead to innovation and new opportunities, if you’re prepared to meet them.

Support your community

It’s a tough time right now. Although many groups are hit harder than others, practically everyone is feeling the strain one way or another.

That’s why, if you can, it’s more important than ever to volunteer, donate, and find other ways to support your local businesses and communities. Here are just a handful of ideas:

-If local restaurants sell gift cards, consider buying one (or a handful) to show your support. You can also look for small independent retailers who offer delivery or online sales instead of turning to bigger businesses.

-Consider donating to your local food bank or Meals on Wheels.

-If you can, give blood. There’s currently a severe blood shortage, and the Red Cross has put together guidelines on donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic.

-Help neighbors who are especially vulnerable to the virus due to age or pre-existing health conditions.

-Find and support local nonprofits whose services are likely to be strained by the virus. The impact is potentially wider-reaching than you might think, but nonprofits that focus on food, healthcare, and housing are a great place to start.

It can be especially challenging to donate or volunteer when you’re feeling anxious or economically strained, but every little bit counts. One thing we do know about the pandemic is that working together, as a community, is critical—so keep looking for ways we can all support each other through this.

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Chelsea Hoffer is a writer at Azlo, an online banking solution for entrepreneurs, where she gathers and shares knowledge about building successful businesses.

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THE GREAT DISTANCES TRAVELED SO YOU CAN STAY AT HOME

Baking queries are popping up all over Google, which reported that a top trending search was “how to make banana bread.”

As millions of people across the United States are ordered to stay at home and shelter in place, many have found they have a surplus of free time on their hands that was once filled with commuting, socializing and generally being somewhere other than their house or apartment. So what to do? Of course there is enough content on online streaming and gaming services to keep us enthralled for many lifetimes, but a lot of people are trying to make the best of the hand they’ve been dealt by using the time to learn a new skill, create something, or better themselves.

The activities we are filling our time with while confined to our homes show just how monumentally global our influences, choices and opportunities really are. While restricted to our small slices of the world we have the opportunity to cook food using ingredients and make things with materials that have traveled huge distances. And we can learn the skills and practices that are part of cultures thousands of miles removed from our own, all thanks to trade – both historical and present.

Globally-Inspired Baking

Whipping up delicious baked goods is comforting and rewarding. Little is more satisfying than making your own bread from scratch – it’s the nearest most of us will come to alchemy, and it’s utterly delicious. In fact, so many Americans are turning to this source of comfort that flour and yeast are running low and producers are fighting to keep up with demand.

Bread isn’t the only option available for home chefs. Trade provides a gateway to international culinary influences, allowing us to import the knowledge of grandmothers the world over. A few simple ingredients such as flour, yeast, fat and sugar (but beware the tariffs!) are all you need to make authentic Italian pasta, fluffy Chinese steamed buns or mouthwatering Colombian arepas. A quick Internet search will help you find family recipes to master yourself.

If you fancy something a little sweeter, how about a plate of fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies – what could be more American? With cocoa beans imported from West Africa and vanilla pods from Mexico and Madagascar, you can again credit international trade with bringing you the ingredients to craft culinary magic. And for classic banana bread, your bananas are probably from Ecuador, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia or Guatemala, and their complex trade story goes much further.

Knitting Together Cultures

Time at home has also reignited interest in creative outlets like painting, writing and crafting. Knitting, crochet and embroidery are some of the most popular activities we’ve been picking up to keep our hands busy, serving both as something to do and a great way to help calm anxious minds. Although only to be used when there is no other option, generous crafters in some communities are helping out by sewing homemade masks, reminiscent of the wartime “knit your bit” movement to get socks and warm clothing to front-line troops.

knitting and sewing

If you’re looking to knit up something cozy during isolation, wool from the animals of the world has you covered. The alpacas and vicunas of the Andean Highlands of Peru are a valued source of soft and squishy wool, and in South Africa Angora goats (originally from Turkey) are farmed and shorn for Mohair. And of course, humble sheep the world over offer up their coats. The many different breeds from places such as the Falklands, Spain, Australia, or the UK produce a huge variety of wool for our handmade sweaters, hats and scarfs.

Thanks to trade and innovation, numerous plant-based yarns are also available, beyond the obvious cotton. Great for crafting light and airy creations, they include materials such as raffia made from the fibers of raffia palms native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. You could also pick up yarn made from wonder-plant hemp, whose top producers include China and Canada, or yarn made from Australian eucalyptus, sustainably and ethically sourced.

Staying Healthy Inside

The closures of gyms and fitness studios and the stresses of staying cooped up mean people are trying to find ways to stay fit and healthy while they isolate, including exercising at home and experimenting with healthy foods.

Though you can no longer take a spin class or use the elliptical at your local gym, workouts that can be done at home have seen a surge in popularity, and many group fitness classes are trying to transition to providing virtual content. Many of these fitness classes and practices originally came to the United States from abroad.

Yoga mats have seen a spike in popularity on Amazon as people turn to the ancient Indian discipline to find their inner peace amidst the turmoil. One in three Americans have tried yoga at some point, and that statistic seems likely to increase even further. Perennial favorite Pilates is another way people are trying to stay healthy. It is now practiced worldwide but was originally brought to North America by German immigrant Joseph Pilates.

Young mother doing yoga with 3-years girl in front of window. Downward facing dog asana

Another way to combat the negative effects of social distancing and lack of variety is to seek out healthy foods to consume, like superfood products that claim to boost immunity or calm anxiety.

Thanks to international trade we now have access to all kinds of foods that can help us fuel and feel better. One of these is Japanese Matcha, a green tea powder made from tea primarily grown in two regions in Japan that has been a prominent part of culture there for centuries. Purported benefits include boosting brain function and helping to protect the liver and heart health. Once almost solely enjoyed in Japan, it is now available across the United States, and even at Starbucks and Dunkin’. Another popular superfood is turmeric, U.S. imports of which have surged in recent years from $2.5 million to $35 million between 2001 and 2017. It has been enjoyed in India for over 4,500 years for its ability to fend off illness but now it’s available in any grocery store to add to a home-cooked curry or to use in a turmeric latte.

International Trade Helping Our Domestic Lives

Having to distance yourself from friends and loved ones and stop doing activities you enjoy is undoubtedly tough. However, we can be thankful for – and find pleasure in – what we can still do, thanks to international trade and a globalized world.

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Alice Calder received her MA in Applied Economics at GMU. Originally from the UK, where she received her BA in Philosophy and Political Economy from the University of Exeter, living and working internationally sparked her interest in trade issues as well as the intersection of economics and culture.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.