Practically no continent was spared as businesses and jobs were lost. Anywhere in the world, the pandemic has stretched the health systems, economies and even the patience of political and business leaders. It's a given that negative economic growth is expected globally.
Hopefully, for you, things will change for the better.
I had a chance to interview the Philippines' digital transformation expert, Homer Nievera, who shared his so called slingshot strategies in order to catapult one's business (and life) out of any crisis, especially this one we are all facing.
Nievera's country, the Philippines was the first nation in ASEAN to implement a lockdown – called an Enhanced Community Quarantine - which was put the whole island of Luzon in lockdown. This meant crippling the major business districts and restricting movement of 53 million Filipinos.
Seeing how economies are starting to crawl back into their usual cycle after 6 months into the pandemic, Nievera has noticed the reluctance of many people to do the same, given their fear and confusion on what to do next.
We then asked him on what tips he can share to help people bounce back. Nievera shared six steps on what he calls Slingshot Strategies to be able to go ahead of the pack in the midst of a global crisis. Read on.
#1 Map out your life today
Have you used or at least have seen a slingshot? It's that piece of wood in the form of a forked stick, with an elastic strap (or a pair of elastic bands connected by a small sling) that is fastened to the two prongs. It is typically used for shooting small stones like a catapult. This is where business is going to be after the pandemic crisis – at the farthest end of that slingshot – stretched to its limit at the negative point.
With that picture in mind, you know that that there's a very big chance of either being at the receiving end of that stone shot for that catapult, or you'd be that stone hurtling into success.
Nievera shares, "Start now by mapping out your life from where you are at right now. The end in mind is to arrive at your action plans that will get you to where the others will not be simply because you acted quickly amidst the chaos."
Find a quick place and begin your next moves. No time limit here, ok? You're probably on quarantine anyway. Start mapping out your action plans by revisiting your supposed plans for 2020. Obviously, that's down the drain, right? Just consider where you're at right now and where you want to be when the starting gun fires.
#2 There will be a major paradigm shift
The world as we know will change dramatically.
"We will see the entry of the so called new normal, whatever that will be," said Nievera.
The term 'social distancing' will probably be used more often and other colloquial meanings may arise, too. But what is more important to focus on is to plot out your moves on how you will end on the right side of things.
Nievera pointed out, "Whoever is ready to shift one's paradigm given the current situation will come out the winner."
What he meant was there is an urgent need to challenge all your pre-set goals and experiences as there has nothing been like the corona pandemic since the 1920's. The Spanish flu was followed by a global economic meltdown that saw markets crashing and the so-called great depression followed.
What's sure to happen is the slowing of worldwide economic progress by the end of 2020 wherein many economies will dive to the negative levels.
#3 Solve problems now
In every single major cataclysm that happens in the world and affects the world, there a hundred people and companies who make it big. Why? Because those people are able to identify arising problems and offer the solutions.
Think about it. Many people are on quarantine or lockdown. Most are taking their sweet time and taking that "needed" break brought about by the situation. Some depend on the dole-outs and have a come-what-may attitude. Yet only a few are up and about, trying hard to find ways to solve emerging problems.
As a digital transformation expert based in the Philippines, Nievera has been able to put in some investments in technology and digital media companies. He said that his many years of marketing and tech experience has allowed him to spot winners – and losers. During this corona virus pandemic, he has been busy spotting emerging businesses, while doing CSR or volunteer work.
Nievera intimates, "Recently, we were approached by some entities including the government to create solutions in stemming the further spread of the virus. We came out with two solutions – the Ruwah, which a first-responder breathing apparatus (i.e. semi-automatic ventilator) and a design for specimen collection booths (SCBs) for use in mass testing. We have already started distributing the SCB booths to public hospitals while we have finished the first prototype for the Ruwah." And both were done in record-time during the first 3 weeks of a lockdown.
These are glaring and real examples of what you can do with your time while on quarantine. Who would have known that these devices or products will be needed? The problems presented themselves, so the solutions were the results of brainstorming sessions online. Talk about time not going to waste!
Anticipate problems today – not tomorrow – and find solutions for them pronto! You might be into something big that no one has really thought about yet because time are changing.
#4 Use all that "stored power" towards something big
Going back to the catapult or slingshot design, you'll notice that in theory, when something gets pulled back to its limit, there's a lot of stored power there when that thing gets released. Can you just imagine that?
Nievera reminds people to take a little step back.
"Think of the shift in mindset and how things are unfolding today. People have lost their jobs. People have gotten sick and are on their road to recovery. Sadly, some have passed on while many loved ones were left behind. There's panic, sadness, distress and even an air of hopelessness. These may all be some kind of negativity as you can surmise. But in reality, these are the makings of new opportunities," Nievera reveals.
Indeed, how can you help people find jobs? How can you help people recover? How can you bring back hope in all that's good in humanity and the world in general?
Obviously, there are now tons of opportunities in the health sector which includes mental health. Human resources will be a busy sector as well as people need to be placed somewhere as well as helping people retool themselves. Because more and more people will choose to work from home (or maybe they have no choice), there are opportunities in those areas as well.
How can you tap those stored power that's part of pulling back the economy? How will you ride the tons of opportunities that come with the sling-back action that comes with the release of the catapult?
Knowledge is power, my friend. Be at the receiving end of this great stored power and ride the upcoming trends.
#5 Anticipate the switches
In relation to paradigm shifts that are currently happening due to the pandemic, now is the time to think fast and anticipate the switches.
"Switches will be happening anywhere from brand-switching, to technology-switching and even utility-switching of sorts. These will all be happening as major movements in consumer buying patterns brought about by changes in spending power happen," Nievera says.
Once nicknamed "The Disruptor," Nievera tells entrepreneurs to be on the look out for even minor movements in customer needs and wants such as needing someone to buy for you that go to the grocery yourself for fear of getting infected with the virus. Ridiculous? Not in these times.
How about helping people in find ways to implement proper social distancing in confined spaces and living quarters? That's a major shift in behavior brought about by the need to physically distance oneself out of government compliance or set protocols. Another will be the want of more comfortable masks without sacrificing quality. Get the drift? There are tiny shifts happening that will soon ripple into bigger opportunities. The key is in catching these shifts when their still tiny such that you'd be the first to create the solution.
#6 Decide to transform now (not tomorrow!)
As the digital transformation expert in the Philippines, Homer Nievera has been practically been the so-called voice calling-in-the desert when digital media was in its infancy in the early 2000's. He saw it all. He helped transform ClickTheCity.com in 2001 from a directory to a lifestyle utility. He helped educate the advertising industry on advergaming (with MSN) and programmatic advertising (with Admax Network) in mid-2008 and helped level-up social media with his work in both Friendster and Multiply.
In other words, Nievera was there when it all happened – when digital was transforming the Philippine landscape. Today, he is still helping companies in their full embrace of the digital economy.
"The pandemic is simply a catalyst for everyone to full embrace what is to come in the way we do things. In fact, people can't live without their data or wi-fi plans during the lockdown. It's a new way of life. It's the new normal," Nievera declares.
Indeed, businesses need to transform digitally now. The decision ahs to be made now and not in the near future as things are currently happening. The world – or nature – has dictated the pace this time.
If you delay your decision in fully embracing digital transformation, then you'll probably miss the train. This is where you can ride the wave and reach a triumphant destination.
Your journey begins today.