By: Matthew Lourey, Managing Partner, Domicile Corporate Services
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) has taken hold around the globe, and each day presents unprecedented challenges to the world norm.
International travel is grinding to a halt, with borders closing and quarantine conditions being imposed.
In Vietnam, the government has taken a very aggressive response; with early prohibitions for travel from affected countries and enforced border quarantine. Entertainment and similar activities are being compulsorily cancelled in places, and social distancing is being encouraged. Where virus cases have been determined, significant tracing is undertaken with contacts and areas placed in quarantine. This is both distressing and comforting to the community. The hope is that significant infections in the community can be avoided, delaying the need for further more restrictive measures.
Notwithstanding, these times represent something that even the best contingency planning could not have anticipated. And for many, the most difficult times still lay ahead.
For businesses in Vietnam, what does this mean?
- The impacts of the virus will not be short term; the initial social impacts alone are to be felt over a long period. The recovery phase will also be slow and long; the world will effectively need to “restart”.
- Almost all sectors will be impacted, but certain sectors are suffering significantly – and will continue to suffer. Hospitality, travel, entertainment, to name a few. There will be many jobs lost, and some businesses in these sectors may never recover.
- Be proactive with protecting your business. Negotiate early with landlords, suppliers and staff. Plan and protect, in order to survive. This may need to happen a few times over the impact period. Conserving cash needs to be a focus.
- Move towards and embrace the limitations with the movement of staff and experts. Conference calls, online meetings and staff working from home will become the norm. Look at the technology options available, and embrace these. Empower your staff to embrace these.
- The virus will be overcome, and businesses need to look to the future (even if they are struggling to understand how they can react for operations today).
- There will be a seismic shift in Vietnam to the “online” and “delivery” worlds. We have seen some Vietnamese government agencies move swiftly to online only (as part of social distancing), where they were previously slow to embrace.
- Opportunities will arise, and Vietnam provides a significant platform to take advantage of those opportunities. Many (potentially all) developed economies will fall into recession as a result of the virus, however Vietnam’s higher underlying growth rate is likely to withstand the worldwide slowdown better than most, and will hopefully give a stronger foundation to grow from.
Most importantly right now
- Look after your staff, and protect them as best you can – many staff are stressed and worried right now, and you will need them to get through these challenges and to succeed when we get to the other side.
- Batten down the hatches. We are in for a bumpy ride.