As we all are aware that the lockdown has been lifted by the Government of Bangladesh, not many of us are fully equipped to sustain our business after lockdown. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced COVID-19 a pandemic on 11th March 2020, and the world has not been the same since.
Due to the infectious nature of COVID-19, the Government of Bangladesh has closed all institutions except those relating to essential services and the country has been under different degrees of lockdown since March 26th. However, from 31st of May 2020, the official lockdown has been lifted which now is pushing all the institutions and organizations to re-open. This has naturally had its impact on the various industries of the country which together represent the state of the national economy.
Now let’s take a look at what your business after lockdown will look like according to your industry:
Small and medium enterprises have been greatly impacted due to the pandemic. While larger companies have completely shifted to home office making the most of digitalization and smart devices, smaller companies are severely struggling with the transition. For them, the disruption caused by COVID-19 spans beyond the scope of a changed lifestyle. The outbreak has spelled disaster for small businesses and start-ups with bills and expenses piling up but no production and revenue to pay it with. There are entrepreneurs and freelance employees with dwindling savings who have no idea from where their next paycheck will come from.
Malls have been closed meaning many businesses have lost out on capitalizing Pohela Boishakh and might lose out on Eid rush as well. For most businesses, the time of Ramadan leading to Eid-Ul-Fitr is the commercial highlight of the year with the markets usually crowded with excited customers shopping for the festive occasion. While a shutdown is bad for business, the timing has definitely been worse as the businesses need to pay festival bonus and for the additional stock/materials they had previously ordered due to the usually high Eid demand.
While the government has taken many measures including a Tk200 billion stimulus package and capping interest rate at 9% with the government paying 4% of it for SMEs, due to the vast nature of this sector the benefits might not reach all who need it. With the uncertainty of not knowing when it will be safe to resume business, many firms are at increasing risk of shutting down.
Now that officially everyone is deciding to go back to business, it isn’t necessarily a great circumstance for SMEs who probably didn’t have enough revenue saved up to now start their business after lockdown.
The readymade garment industry is one of the most significant revenue contributors to the Bangladeshi economy. It values close to $35 billion accounting for 84 percent of Bangladesh’s total exports. However, the reason behind its success- the foreign export market- has also become its major risk factor now. The global economy is contracting and the main drop is coming from G20 countries which are the primary export markets for RMG products.
Already there have been canceled orders of over $2.5 billion by estimates of the Bangladeshi Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) who further assessed that up to two million workers in garment factories could lose their jobs if the situation continues.
As of April 29th, some factories have reopened to start recuperating the losses but this opens the floor for an even greater immediate concern- the safety of the workers and a possible spread of COVID-19 through those premises.
But what happens to this business after lockdown? This can be one of the major reasons for many industries to not be able to function properly and generate the amount of revenue that they were previously collecting.
While the industry is bound to face some serious threats moving ahead, Moody’s, the world-renowned credit rating agency predicts Bangladesh RMG market will recover fast towards the end of the year given that the outbreak is contained and supply chain and buyer demand recovers. The Bangladesh government also announced a Tk 50 billion stimulus package for export-oriented industries to support the sector. While the world is now a global village, the fate of the RMG industry especially is strongly linked with how well its trading partners handle the spread of COVID 19.
The retail industry has actually adapted quite well to the business during lockdown compared to other industries. Despite the surge of e-commerce in the last two decades, personal transactions remain the lifeblood of most retailers, big and small. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been arrested, with stores locked and even boarded up, and mall parking lots empty.
During this pandemic, most retailers have learned many lessons on how to survive. They have learned to communicate with their customers in new ways and have optimized the e-commerce channel to serve them. In a recent study, 96% of the respondents in a Glossy survey indicate they have indeed made these kinds of changes.
So if you are a retail business owner and planning to sustain your business after lockdown then for you, a well-rounded e-commerce system like Southtech’s EasyComm is exactly what you need.
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One of the sectors facing imminent threat is the IT industry of Bangladesh. As per a survey conducted by Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), out of the 800 active companies in the sector, only 7 percent can survive the next four months given current circumstances. This means the economy will face massive structural unemployment in immediate months if help is not provided. So business after lockdown will also be quite different from them as well.
COVID-19 has impacted the IT industry severely. In March, companies working in the local market have lost 52% of work orders while those dealing with foreign clients have lost 35% of their usual orders. Over the last three months, 24% of the total industry that works exclusively with foreign clients, has lost 74% of their international buyers while companies working in the local market predict work orders to decrease to 61% in the next few months.
With orders becoming canceled, and low chances of acquiring new clients the companies of this sector are under a lot of pressure. The operational costs for most companies have started to become unbearable with the majority of companies planning to close 51% of their resources.
It should be noted that the IT workforce of Bangladesh is unique since 95 percent of the workforce is under 35 years of age. Roughly half of these individuals will face unemployment if things do not normalize or help is not provided.
Getting accustomed to the new normal is not going to be easy for sure. However, to sustain your business after lockdown, you must learn and adapt to new technologies as soon as possible so that your business can lessen the loss that you have faced during lockdown.