Pain of load shedding: Survival tips for small businesses
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CAPE TOWN: In the wake of Eskom’s announcement of plunging the country into Stage 4 load shedding for the week, small businesses continue to suffer.
Lulalend, a fin-tech business, re-initiated a private sector task force - SME Load shedding Task Force - to provide small businesses with instant financial assistance to survive load shedding.
Lulalend chief executive Trevor Gosling said the task force was reinstated to prioritise applications and provide an almost instant response to businesses in crisis due to load shedding.
He said many small businesses did not have the necessary backing to survive such interruptions, especially after the strain businesses have been placed under during the national lockdown implementation.
“Lulalend is stepping in where traditional banks are failing to come to the rescue of small businesses in need of emergency financial assistance.
“Under normal circumstances, funding applications are processed by Lulalend within 24 hours.
“The emergency task force will, however, fast-track the process further to provide an almost instant response for businesses that are severely affected by Eskom’s power interruptions.
“By setting up our emergency response task force, we are now able to prioritise any applications when the applicant tells us it’s load shedding related,” Gosling said.
He also provided survival tips for small businesses to lessen the impact of load shedding:
1. Download apps like Eskomsepush to make yourself aware of the load shedding times in your area and communicate this with your team. Structure your workdays to tackle the important tasks in those times.
2. Break up the workload. If you have a limited number of hours a day, spread the important tasks across team members, so that they get accomplished in time.
3. Invest in surge protectors for your appliances, machinery and hardware. Small surge protectors that are sold in the supermarket will do the trick to keep your PC, fridge, coffee machine and other small appliances from blowing when the power surges back after load shedding. For industrial-size equipment, it’s best to get advice from a trustworthy electrician.
4. If you run a shop, invest in a mobile or battery-powered point of sale solution, so that you can continue to accept card payments when the power is off.
5. Invest in solar power banks or car chargers for your mobile devices.
6. Identify which tasks can be done with your mobile device when all other systems are down, such as phone and email communication. Though your data costs might be higher than usual, at least you’re able to stay in touch with suppliers, customers and stakeholders.
7. Charge your technology while you have power.
8. Back up all systems and save them on the cloud and on an external hard drive. It’s easy to lose documentation and vital information if it’s not saved and backed up in time.
9. Consider investing in a generator. If it’s difficult to find the extra cash, talk to Lulalend about bridging finance.
10. Ensure you have fast access to additional working capital to ensure your business can survive any revenue dips that load shedding may cause.
Businesses with an annual turnover of R500 000 or more and that have been in business for at least a year are eligible to apply for assistance from Lulalend. Businesses can apply for bridging finance of up to R2m.
Application processes are conducted online via the Lulalend website and applicants need to flag that they are applying due to interruptions caused by load shedding in order to be placed on the priority list.