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What the Covid-19 pandemic has taught small businesses

JOHANNESBURG – Having a post-coronavirus (Covid-19) strategy in place can help small businesses prepare to hit the ground running and begin with the rebuild process, according to the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

“While 75 percent of small businesses wait for back to business at level 1 of the Covid-19 pandemic, at this time we need to bank the learnings and continue with the rebuilding process,” NSBC founder and CEO Mike Anderson said in a statement.

The pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, but the reality was that an emergency could come along to disrupt any small businesses at any time. Using what’s been learned during the pandemic to prepare for the next crisis could help business owners insulate their businesses from future shocks, he said.

The findings of an NSBC survey just released by the chamber highlighted key lessons – 93 percent of small businesses said the most important stand-out lessons were building up liquid cash savings, reducing debt, and trimming non-essential spending.

“The short-term outlook for small businesses varies greatly by industry. It’s important to consider what recovery mode will look like once the economy begins to return to a state of normalcy or established a new normal. Having an exit strategy in place for after Covid-19 can help small businesses prepare well to hit the ground running and begin with the rebuild process,” Anderson said.

“The pandemic has also taught us how important it is to be able to adapt and keep businesses fluid to weather storms in the future. The more outside-the-box thinking to prepare for a worst-case scenario, the better. Having a plan b can help improve every business’s odds of surviving and eventually thriving again during tough financial times.

“Small businesses are vital economic engines. It is imperative that we bridge businesses through these tough times so small businesses stay in business and that we keep workers employed,” Anderson said.

The Covid-19 Small Business Relief and Recovery Centre – a national initiative – was designed to help small businesses “by taking their pain away” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This “powerful and meaningful” initiative was backed by the NSBC in partnership with Health Squared, Telkom, Liberty, Cisco, Absa, Mastercard, Discovery, Vodacom, Google, MTN, Netstar, Xero, Nashua, Incredible Connection, Tarsus, and Visa.

Some of the key focus areas included low-interest disaster recovery loans; moratoriums on vehicle and equipment leases; bond repayments; supplier negotiation and communication; landlord negotiation with regards to property leases; increased cleaning, disinfecting, and hygiene protocols; digital marketing strategies; and assistance with business continuity plans, among other things, Anderson said.

More information about the Covid-19 Small Business Relief and Recovery Centre was available on https://www.nsbc.africa/COVID-19, or alternatively via e-mail [email protected]

 

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