Business Tips To Survive And Thrive In Covid Normal

Jan 31, 2022 by Mark Dingley

Ensure you don't get left behind in the new COVID normal world – automating your technology can reduce errors and increase quality and demand

We can all agree that 2021 was another doozy. The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic brought more lockdowns and border closures, business restrictions and cancelled plans.

Many Australian business owners are tentatively preparing to forge ahead in 2022, despite the Omicron variant already throwing more uncertainty and hurdles into the path.

So how can businesses approach the year ahead and move into a kind of “Covid normal” with confidence?


COVID-19 and Food Safety Programs

Here, we share some smart business tips to help manufacturers of all sizes take steps to survive and thrive.

1. Keep (mentally) healthy

Anxiety has become a major issue during the pandemic. According to Robert Sams, executive director and volunteer crisis supporter at Lifeline Australia, calls to the helpline peaked at 3600 a day in August and September last year.

First and foremost, business owners and managers need to look after their own health – both physically and mentally.

Take time to zoom out and log off. Limit your consumption of COVID-related news so you are only tuning into the essential advice you need to know.

Take care of your employees too. It’s been a tough year personally and professionally for people across Australia, and your workers will likely be mentally and emotionally fatigued.

BeyondBlue has partnered with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance to create Heads Up , which provides information for employers, employees, managers and small businesses with free, practical information and resources to create mentally healthy workplaces and respond to mental health issues in the workplace.

Beyond Blue also provides a free and confidential six-week mental health coaching program for small business owners to provide the support they need – the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program.

2. Embrace automation to do more with less

Over the past two years, Covid has taught businesses is to do more with less. For manufacturers, that means focusing on streamlining processes and automating manual tasks to ensure you can maximise productivity even if you are down on staff numbers.

Automation is the key. Look at how your business can automate processes and be more digitally connected – both to the production lines, the teams that run them, and even through to your customers and end-consumers who drive demand.

Stay updated on any funding that can help with automation, like the $50 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund which provides co-funded grants to upgrade manufacturing processes and adopt new technologies in small and medium manufacturing businesses.

COVID-19 and Food Safety Programs

3. Take advantage of financial support and grants

The Federal and State Governments have stepped up financial support during the pandemic, so be sure to research what you are eligible for.

The most up-to-date information around support can be found on the state government websites.

In additional to the pandemic support, there’s a wide range of industry grants for Australian manufacturers. Look at our list of top manufacturing grants to see if you are eligible.

4. Be nimble

COVID has forced businesses to become more nimble in the past two years. Some businesses did the pandemic ‘pivot’ and diversified their product offerings, or switched lines altogether.

This mindset will continue to be important in a Covid normal world. With faster new line development and entry to market, those manufacturers who can stay nimble and flexible are sure to win in 2022.

5. Look to your customers

What products should you focus on? What’s important to customers since Covid came into their world?

Take your cue from your customers and consumers this year. Don’t expect your market to be “business as usual” – practically everything has shifted as a result of the pandemic, and people aren’t shopping like they used to. Ecommerce and social commerce (shopping via social media platforms) have soared in popularity, which opens the door to direct-to-consumer channels.

Look at industry trends too – how has the pandemic changed food and drink consumption?

For example, plant-based meat is not a new trend, but it is growing at a rapid pace. Recent estimates suggest the global meat-free sector will hit US$290 billion ($375 billion) in 2035.

At the same time, non-alcoholic beverages exploded in popularity in Australia in 2021, with more brands jumping on board and new market players. According to data from Endeavour Group, the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s, non-alcoholic drinks sales have increased more than 83% in the past year.

Manufacturers in the FMCG sector in particular need to be relentlessly asking what the upcoming trends are, and how you can position your organisation to leverage them and differentiate.

COVID-19 and Food Safety Programs
COVID-19 and Food Safety Programs

6. Invest in your people

Your people are the biggest opportunity to develop and achieve success in 2022.

Retention and recruitment strategies will be key, especially as people look for a more flexible work life balance after the last two years.

Find ways to show your employees you value them – the ability to keep good workers will be what makes or breaks businesses this year. We’ve already seen labour shortages in 2022, and that’s set to continue as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic.


The past two years has proven many manufacturers are smart, resilient businesses. The ability to now only survive but thrive in the new Covid will come down to focusing on what consumer want, creating smart production lines, and looking after yourself and your employees.