by Antonis Zairis and Konstantinos Zairis*
The new entrepreneurship narrative in post COVID-19 era is a necessity to be linked with the so called collective “being” and “acting” with an enriched notion of individual responsibility and the online digital familiarization of employers, who surround that new environment.
Notions like cost, quality, service that once were of comparative advantage for a company, today they “seem” absolutely as given and obvious while the theories related to “sustainable competitive advantage” are criticized outdated from current reality and the demands incubating in that newly «Entrepreneurial» model.
The overall, functional provided content as a result in a lifelong relation with the business is what really interests the customer at the end of the day, while the permanent focus on the diversity relying on the ingenuity, the sun, the sea, the processing work and the new natural resources are the key factors to enable the sustainability of the future business towards the international competitive pressure of more commercialized products and then open the “door” of exports.
The connection with networks will become a living experience and new technologies will change the retail experiences. It is typically known that online purchases via e-shops have more than doubled since last March, from the beginning of the health crisis until today, while 50% of them will remain as online customers even after the crisis.
It is certain that, as a country and as an economy, we must turn to a change of model, as it is our last great opportunity. Introverted imported consumption should give place to extroverted production and exports. Big changes start with small, but repetitive, steps of continuity and consistency. The replacement of a part of the imported goods by relative products, which will be consumed in the country, is a small but important step that will benefit the trade balance by the reasonable, at this time, consumption of domestically produced products. Additionally, selective productions and premium exports of Greek branded products will claim a worthy place in the international markets, which has already been done sufficiently with Greek oil, Greek wine, marble products etc.
The current inability of the domestic economy to turn to marketable, competitive products largely deprives economy of responding worthily to global changes in demand, when will be restored in the post COVID-19 era and, thus, other countries will respond more easily than we will.
Moreover, the monothematic features of our economy based on trade and tourism combined with the large number of small businesses (98% of all businesses), the many self-employed and even the low internet speed make the impact of the crisis heavier for the Greek Economy. Specifically for the retail trade, is expected a drop 14% -15% at the end of 2020: to wit, losses amounted to 7 billion, and for the wholesale trade sector, is expected a corresponding loss of 6 billion euros. In addition, the large annual contribution of tourism accounted for 45 billion of GDP in 2019, including all related to tourism activities, will have a large drop in 2020- with consequences in employment as well, as according to forecasts a loss of 200.000 job positions is expected from not implemented recruitments due to crisis.
All the above could lead to the partial deconstruction of the classic theory of retail stores, of the added-value theory, of the atmosphere and experience creation, as all are evolved into new online e-shop platforms, which are currently the new commercial roads- with consumers that are shopping online, in a new promising digital environment. As with any change, some companies are now able to adapt directly to new data, and some will not. Those which will pursue and achieve it, will face the challenges of the next day, as well.
The country’s reorientation is just around the corner and should be structured through a new Strategic Plan that will express the National Goal. The digital transformation of the economy is necessary if we want to talk about a recovery of any Type V or U in 2021, otherwise- the other option will be isolation and introversion, and no one wish for this.
The financial contribution of the new support package, which can reach 60 billion, could make sense if there would be a serious Strategic Plan behind, for which those in charge would inform the society regularly, according to the model of health information in crisis: where does all this money go? Where does this money end up? And, to which business groups and fellow citizens give relief?
Otherwise money may be lost in the bureaucracy deadlocks of Public Administration and Ministries by being dispersed in the fathomless state. On the one hand, the revival of Public administration infrastructures and the modernization of the state, and on the other hand, the assurance of the social unity with the empowerment of Health Policies, the renewal of education infrastructures and training as well as the care of vulnerable social groups consist some of the initiatives of that Governmental Policy to be inserted in that new Strategic Plan, and we all hope at that time not to be just a textbook exercise.
*Assoc. Vice President of SELPE, Assistant Professor of Business Administration University of Neapolis, Cyprus and University of Patras, Department of Business Administration