China is New Zealand’s biggest trading partner so if China is having a crisis, so are we (along with many other countries).

Take tourism for example.  As New Zealand’s second-largest international visitor, as well as one of the most valuable in terms of holiday spend, Chinese visitors have a very important part to play in New Zealand’s tourism industry. How significant the effects will be since the rapid increase of the Coronavirus is unsure, but with 30 flights operating between New Zealand and China, the fallout will unfold over the coming months.

With recommendations from the World Health Organisation travel restrictions from China to New Zealand are reviewed every 48 hours.   This in turns has restaurants, accommodation and tourist attractions struggling and on edge! Many popular Chinese restaurants have closed their doors because it has been so quiet.

So, what can New Zealand businesses do to stay afloat during this difficult time?

Don’t panic.  There is cause for concern but don’t panic and feel like you need to change everything.  Look at the big picture and take this opportunity to work on the business, as opposed to in the business.

Diversify.  This health scare certainly drives home the need for diversification.  Supplying a niche product or service to a niche market can be very good for business but having all your eggs in one basket is not.

Appeal to locals more.  Offering special deals to those in your local community means you don’t need to go far to win business.  Perhaps advertise your deals and business at the same time with Grabone, TreatMe or Groupon.

Have the best customer service in town. Whether your business is in retail, technical, real estate, hospitality and everything in between, customer service is one of the top reasons why a customer keeps coming back.

Don’t forgo quality.  Quality is another biggie when it comes to customer retention. Remember Cadbury’s cost-cutting exercise back in 2009 when they replaced some of the cocoa butter with palm oil?  Huge public outcry, huge drop in sales and eventually Cadbury went back to the original recipe.  Moral of the story: don’t mess with consumers and don’t mess with their chocolate.

Review staff.  Income can be a big cost and belts may need to be tightened. Is everyone pulling their weight?  Are staff open to unpaid leave for a few weeks?  Would it make better financial sense to outsource some areas for a few months?