Covid-19 lockdown: Tips for businesses

CAPE TOWN-  Due to the global pandemic of Covid-19 the nation will be on a 21-day lockdown as of midnight on Thursday. While the decision was taken to flatten the curve of infection, some small businesses could feel the pinch. 

Custodian of Entrepreneurship at the University of Stellenbosch Business School Seraj Toefy suggests the following key points that small business owners can implement during this time:

Advice for non-essential businesses 

  • Be creative and find a way to continue operating from home. For businesses that can operate from home, there are many tools that can assist with remote working such as Zoom, Google HangOuts or Skype to have staff and client meetings. Slack or Basecamp for instant messaging. Asana or Clickup for productivity and project management.
  • Use this time to strategise. Small businesses often don’t have the time to strategise due to workload. Toefy says that business owners should use this time to think of ways of how they will do things better when the shutdown is lifted. 
  • Communicate with your staff. As with all crises, increased communication reduces anxiety. Maintaining communication with staff, suppliers and clients is paramount during this time. 
  • Reduce your costs. Toefy says that in order to avoid job cuts businesses should cut all discretionary spending. Negotiating with banks and suppliers for payment holidays, rebates, interest cuts and any help they can give should be top priority.

Advice for essential businesses

  • Spread out working times and maintain social distancing. If you have a business such as a factory with a number of staff required to maintain it, consider reducing the number of staff working at a time. 
  • Co-opetition. Toefy says that co-opetition is when businesses cooperate with their competition. Now is the time for businesses to work together and to share knowledge and resources.
  • Innovation can come out of this pandemic. Businesses have the opportunity to use the resources at hand and develop things that are needed during this crisis, such as masks and ventilators. 

 

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