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Opinions of Monday, 30 March 2020

Columnist: Adeline Quarshie

Thinking out loud – The other side of coronavirus


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I could not think of any opening lines but that of these words from the fashion fraternity “Covid-19 is the new sexy.”

It is like that friend you don’t really like but you can’t do away with. Their names make you angry and brings you bad memories and at times panic yet you have to talk about them anyway. You see them everywhere; you hear of them everywhere you go. I must say it is a difficult experience.

Barely six months ago the first case of COVID -19 was reported in the Wuhan province in China on the 17th of November, 2019. It didn’t seem like a dangerous disease because it had the symptoms of an ordinary flu. World leaders didn’t give it any necessary attention and some of them even described it in their own demeaning words.

Even though it started in China but today it is described as a global pandemic. It has brought many nations to their knees. The supposed sophisticated and advanced countries can’t even seem to find their feet. Economies have been shut down, cities have been locked down, human contacts have reduced drastically, churches have been closed down with those who can afford the internet now operating an online virtual service for their followers.

COVID-19 have compelled many who doubted the existence of God to even call upon His name. H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo in his address to the nation Ghana that called for a National Day of Prayer and fasting indicated that “we are not in ordinary times.”

As at the time of writing this piece, the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world now is 651,595 and about 30,302 deaths recorded so far around the world and still counting anyway.

The knowledge of sciences seems to be against the wall now. No one knows when and from whom the vaccine for this deadly virus would come from. Indeed, we are not in ordinary times and guess who is responsible; COVID-19 is.

You see why COVID-19 is the new sexy? With nations of the world closing their borders to immigrants and Ghana also being part of the global community also have taken such stringent measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The president in his fourth address that sought to update the entire populace on the efforts deployed by the state to fight the pandemic announced a partial lock down of the nation that involved the big cities in the country. It is to tell you how serious this whole pandemic is.

Due to the fear and panic that this pandemic has brought on individuals and businesses, people have lost touch with objectivity, clarity and optimism. Why don’t you stay calm, walk with me and let’s take a look at the other side of the bigger picture of this pandemic. It is no surprise of how businesses are suffocating but what if I told you that all is not lost.

There are some good things that comes along with this whole pandemic and if we are going to rise as individuals and businesses after this season, then we must appreciate the need to reduce fear and objectively apprehend these accompanying hidden opportunities.

Whilst in lock down, I believe that it is a great opportunity to reassess the foundation of your business and if possible, offer it a fresh perspective; Yes, I mean a fresh perspective. Dr. David Oyedepo of Nigeria once said; “no matter how fast you run on the wrong way, you will never get to your destination.” I couldn’t have agreed with him more. The foundation for many businesses is actually wrong with some being in shambles. Some have lost touch with the core essence (vision or purpose) of their existence.

They meant to achieve one thing at the beginning of the establishment but now they are living for something else. As you are home, think deeply about the vision of your business and ask yourself this question “are we running on the right way?” If you were looking at starting your business or if you started before but did not work, reassess your approach and strategies, it is an opportunity to introduce a fresh perspective and possibly start afresh.

Do you realise that you have fantastic business plans and ideas but you have not yet had time to develop them into workable ideas yet? Thank God for now you dent have to think about early morning and after work rush hour and traffic.

This is the time to think, make plans, develop strategies, identify potential partners, pick up your phone and call that individual you have been meaning to call to discuss the idea and the plans but have not been able to because of what “urbaners” usually refer to as “pressure.” COVID-19 is offering you the opportunity to restructure yourself, don’t waste that opportunity in fear and panic.

For business owners I believe COVID-19 has come to test the resilience of your company. How well can your business withstand such an external threat? What strategies has been developed yet to mitigate the impact on your business? Now that there is a lock down, can your company pay your staff for three months without business operations should the time period for the lock down be extended.

Can your business survive? Every forward-thinking business leader or an entrepreneur knows that it is the time to learn something new and make adjustments in the risk mitigation strategies and if there is non, you make provision for one. Simply said, it is a test case for the future. Think tomorrow, build a resilient business, thanks to COVID-19, there is an evidence of a worse case scenario.

What is your business disaster recovery plan? Most businesses especially SMEs do not have such. It is one of the opportunities COVID-19 is affording you now. Risk mitigation strategy and plan has its own magic it does but disaster recovery plan answers the question “what if?” What if the risk mitigation plan fails, how do we recover?

As a growing business, you are the most vulnerable to all macro environmental hostilities, and you need to build yourself to be able to withstand every storm that blows at every growth stage. Take advantage of COVID-19 to develop a robust disaster recovery plan.

Every billionaire today is a master of one major world and humanity problem. Maybe it is time you take a re-look at your investment pattern. You could also start looking for business diversification. What other new areas can you invest in? With this pandemic hitting economies, what other essential thing do you think you can produce to satisfy humanity and receive reward for your contribution to solving human problems? ‘Shine your eye’, COVID-19 is probably presenting to you a new business idea that could set your feet on the path of prosperity.

To top up, there is now enough time to rest, which is good for your health, there is time to build solid family cohesion and more. All I mean is, this pandemic is also bringing to bare that we are social beings and there is nothing greater than family. COVID-19 has challenged our system, institutions and has drawn our attention to the flaws in our social construction, economic management, sanitation and all that.

As we find solution to this world pandemic, I believe we have to take our time, devoid of emotional sentimentalism and look at the other side of the bigger picture. All is not as bad as it may seem. There is nothing that is entirely good neither is there anything that is entirely bad. There are always different sides to everything.

Since I started by borrowing words, I believe it will not be far-fetched for me to borrow words to end it. These are the words of Apostle Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome; He wrote; “...and we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (KJV)

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