The United States had the highest daily cases of COVID-19 in the world on January 3 with one million Americans infected. According to CNBC, 95 percent of the cases in the U.S. are now from Omicron. This has been a swift development because the Delta variant made up 99 percent of cases at the start of December. It shows how much more highly contagious Omicron is.
As of January 10, CNN reports that almost 24 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are experiencing the most critical shortage in staffing since the start of the pandemic. Healthcare workers themselves are downed by Omicron and must isolate due to exposure. In the meantime, Americans with other serious health conditions other than Omicron cannot be accommodated in the overburdened health system.
People who are at high risk of severe illness from Omicron are unvaccinated. Even those who are fully vaccinated with boosters can still get infected, though, but with mild symptoms. Still, Omicron is now making people stay home again most of the time.
Omicron will not be the last Covid-19 variant to arise. There may be other even more infectious variants that may appear. Entrepreneurs must, therefore, plan business strategies this early to be flexible and adapt to these changes.
It appears that most businesses still must conduct business mostly online. Consumers will fall back on the habit of safely making purchases of goods and services safely online. Businesses that pivoted and provided these in the early days of the pandemic gained the most success. The market still demands the same convenience. This is also safer for the entrepreneur and staff.
The primary course of action is to have yourself, your family, and any staff you have fully vaccinated and further protected with boosters. If a second booster is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), be among the first in line to take these. Continuous vigilance and protection are the keys.
Make sure to partner with delivery services that are scrupulous in taking all safety precautions against Covid-19. The safe delivery of your products is part of your service to your customers.
Most of your interaction with customers and clients will be through Zoom and other video services. Do not forget that the camera brings you virtually face to face with them. It highlights details that may not be as noticeable in person, especially because you are not wearing a mask. Part of being an entrepreneur means always presenting a professional image to your clients. You must look personable, friendly, and likable. This means that even if you are working remotely, you must take care of how you look and dress.
Take care of your skin. Address any skin conditions immediately. While they are not yet fully resolved, look for makeup that is safe for your skin condition. There is makeup designed even for men. All TV personalities use them to look healthy onscreen. If you experience problems with your teeth, consult a dental professional. A missing tooth is distracting onscreen. A professional can easily provide you with an implant or replacement tooth. Keep your hair looking well-maintained.
Even if only half of your body is seen onscreen, dress appropriately. At times, you may have to demonstrate a product and be seen full length. Do not forget to dress for that.
Supply Chain Issues
Omicron has extended the global supply chain disruption because almost all countries are now affected, especially those that provide valuable raw and processed materials to other countries. If your products require parts from different parts of the country or the globe, you must be prepared to invest in advanced orders and keep an ample stock to provide you with a comfortable margin. Purchasing early also gives you a head start against continuing price increases. When pricing, take into consideration that purchasing new stock will be much more expensive. Keep a close watch on the prices of your competitors, though, to avoid pricing yourself out of the market.
There are certain types of advanced artificial intelligence software that gather the current prices of competitors and compare these with market demand to come up with real-time competitive pricing. Airlines and hotels use these to offer consumers the best price at each point in time. The price can vary from minute to minute. If your business can afford this and can benefit from it, it will be a valuable investment.
With everything being done online, cybersecurity is your greatest risk. Do not hesitate to invest in the best cybersecurity measures you can afford because what you can lose will be much more costly. Not only will you lose your own money but also crucial data of your customers and suppliers. You can be sued and will have to pay a hefty fine for this. Your business reputation will also suffer, and this may be difficult to recover from.
Remember, the future of the business world is going to be more and more online. The next step of the internet is the metaverse where people live virtual lives, work, transact business, and spend leisure time. Be prepared to be a part of it.