Business101: Tips on how your business can survive the Covid-19 lockdown
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has entered into a 21-day lockdown to contain the national coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Under the regulations, most businesses - excluding pharmacies, banks, supermarkets and petrol stations - are closed.
While the measures are necessary, , the impact of Covid-19 will be damaging for many businesses. There are, however, some manoeuvres that businesses can undertake to remain resilient over this challenging period.
Here are six simple tips on how to survive the lockdown:
A number of interventions to assist businesses have been mentioned to date, including a Solidarity Fund to which the government has provided seed capital of R150 million and over R500m from The Department of Small Business Development to assist small and medium
enterprises. In addition, assistance with covering employees’ wages and various tax relief measurements might be available to you.
All businesses should ensure that any employees who are able to work from home do so. Businesses need to ensure that staff is online – if they do not have existing Wi-Fi facilities at home, there are options like dongles and mobile data. Communicate clear, firm expectations and consequences upfront. Regular contact with your team is important for making the transition as smooth as possible - make use of tools like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but make sure not to neglect your IT security.
Prepare for shrinking revenue but revisit your marketing plan – Despite WFH measures, your business will likely take a knock as you will not be able to operate as usual. Be conservative in your financials; update cashflow forecasts sooner rather than later, redo your budgets for the coming months and revisit your marketing plan for the post-Covid-19 period.
Communicate with all stakeholders. Clients, suppliers and financiers or banker should be a top priority for your business. Once you’ve established your approach, make use of your website, social media channels and company newsletter to get the message out. Share regular updates as the situation may change again. Inform staff of any new business processes as soon as possible, and know the appropriate communication channels with management for queries and concerns, or who to notify when they fall ill, for example.
Innovating is one of the essential characteristics for any successful business. Thankfully, we
are living in the digital age, so take as much of your business online as you can. Use this time to assess where you can replace functions that might rely on physical proximity and re-adjust your business model to be less location-dependent. If you need to change direction to survive do so.
Don’t lose hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The current crisis will not persist indefinitely. Facing the crisis head on and being agile to change, however, could
ultimately make your business more resilient and your team stronger than ever before.
Ben Bierman is the managing director at Business Partners Limited