With the pandemic COVID-19 strike us in 2020 it makes our business more challenging and difficult to do in the coming years. Projects related to AV industry are simply not happening. People are not travelling and most of the workforce are working from home. Social distancing is a new norm of life and with the restriction has led to cancelled events, venue closures, delayed projects and reduced sales – this takes heavy toll on the AV industry.
With year 2021 is coming near it is time to come out with ways and strategies for the year ahead. As the economy changed drastically, so do our business. A lot have changed, and this has affect how we do business.
However, if a vaccine is quickly approved and distributed, and economy do bounce back quickly the outlook could be different.
In this blog we decided to write out thoughts on how to bounce back in 2021 and stay ahead.
1. Be AV Turnkey Contractor
For many years as AV specialist, we provide solution to owner and clients to expand their venue with sound and light design and project implementation. We still do. But to be competitive we have to be more than AV specialist, we have to be AV turnkey contractor.
For venue be it meeting room or event hall apart from M&E services there are many solutions we can provide. Take for an example a new event hall we can provide AV system, acoustic design as part of ID work, audience seating, hall downlights, LED dimming and electrical AV services.
As a system integrator we can work with any equipment supplier to implement and installation because we have engineers and technical personnel and in house expertise.
For an upgrade work like meeting room we can work with ID consultant to provide integrated AV furniture with AV panel, acoustic work, carpet, some finishes.
This new idea of working will take a toll on us we have to learn new things, require more time to prepare a quote and bids, rely a lot on another expertise input. It will take larger capital to implement this project we have to do it with caution. Secure payment is a must to manage this type of project.
2. Reduce Expenses
At this stage we have to reduce expenses and reduce running costs. The adaption has been about cutting costs, conserving funds and protecting jobs.
At the moment we have sufficient full time teams to handle the work load. If we need more manpower be it more labour workers or professional, we will outsource and subcontract out.
Managed the expenses tightly is the key. The biggest concern is maintaining cash flow for the business so we can continue to pay suppliers.
3. Embrace Digital
But there is one expenses that will increase from year 2021 onward is fully adoption to digital presence. A digital presence will mean online computing, cloud-based data sharing platform, cloud storage and digital marketing.
We saw how people who are doing business with cloud based and having online present very quickly can adapt to this pandemic situation. They don’t rely on office working environment and they can work anywhere and source expertise globally. They are doing well now and feel motivation and optimism in the way they are treating the crisis.
In these unprecedented times, technology and digital is critical for collaboration and communication in the business environment
Our strategy is to embrace digital fully and move our business operation to cloud rather than depend on premises server.
In addition to working arrangements, COVID-19 changed customers’ needs and how they search for products and services. Everything is going digital and website need to be upgraded to be mobile friendly and improve conversion rates.
We have migrated to Dropbox Business and soon to Amazon AWS services for storage and web services. We estimate it will take us at least 9 months to fully moving to digital presence and we have to learn and hiring people to help us on this.
4. Adopt eCommerce
The pandemic has changed how people shop. We saw more and more sellers emerge as there are demands for online sales for audio visual products. eCommerce is getting stronger ever now compare to before the pandemic.
We also saw more buyers begin shopping online for AV products than ever before. They are buying AV tools to do online podcast, youtube channel and zoom meeting. Microphone, mixer, speakers, accessories and web cam are the fast growing selling items.
We will also begin to start selling online using eCommerce website and start keeping popular stock. Since we have warehouse, we will convert some space to our own fulfillment center.
We have to focused on growing the company’s digital presence by increasing investment in online advertising and hiring an agency to scale and grow revenue from eCommerce.
5. Get All The Help Needed
As the government starting to support all affected industry needless to say that this government support is crucial for business survival. Government loan, special bank loan and bounce back loan are important to small and medium businesses like the AV industry. Get those help given.
Since we are qualify, we decided to go for extended debt moratorium and apply for business loan at repayment low interest rate. This loan will definitely help us to weather the uncertainty ahead.
Looking Ahead to Better Future
As pandemic struck us and never seem to go away we have to be strong and adapt very quickly on the changes and learn from others. We must get our AV trade in the strongest possible by spending time to upskilling, online business courses and product and commercial skills training.
The pandemic has already forced many to adapt and, in some cases, completely reinvent. From hiring and growing teams to serving customers, as a business owner we are taking the changes and positive outlook to the year 2021 onwards.
Further Readings :
5 ways digital business will change in 2021