CAPE TOWN -
Small businesses are facing a cash crunch as the economy reopens and is in a world where customers have less money due to unemployment and salary cuts.
Vice President for Small Business at Sage Africa & Middle East, Viresh Harduth, said that there are no quick fixes for the damage due to the global pandemic, but that there are steps small businesses can take to be more sustainable going forward.
Assess the damage
“If business slowed down or you needed to close up shop during the stricter lockdown levels, you are probably throwing yourself into work in the hope of making up for lost time and money,” said Harduth.
“It is also important to take some time out to evaluate the damage the crisis did to your business.
“Only when you understand how your business was hurt in the pandemic, can you start to plan meaningfully for recovery,” he said.
Reflect on your pandemic experience
The next step is to ask what you learned from the damage and identify gaps in the market.
Here is a list of questions you should be asking:
In a crisis, could you change the business as quickly as you wanted to? What would you do differently next time?
How did your team respond? What gaps did the pandemic reveal in their capabilities?
If you transitioned to offer home delivery or virtual services, was this more or less profitable for you and is this sustainable in business?
Was a shift to remote working successful and should it become permanent?
Assess what has changed from your customer’s perspective
“Covid-19 has changed many of the traditional customers’ attitudes, habits and beliefs,” said
In this volatile climate, businesses need to be more customer-centred than ever to thrive, especially with many consumers and business customers cutting their spending.
“It’s essential to stay close to customers in order to understand how their needs have changed and to anticipate what’s next,” he said.
Review your strategy and operations
With the recovery to the Covid-19 pandemic being unclear as the country could face a possible second wave, businesses need to fine-tune and streamline their strategy with this in mind.
Using the steps above, planning a range of outcomes will ensure small businesses are better prepared for the next crises.