Wednesday | 22 April | 2020
By Wilma Bedford
The small business sector and one-man businesses will be the hardest hit during the lockdown as they depend mainly on a month-to-month cash flow. Use your lockdown period to work on your future marketing strategies and to keep in contact with your existing clients. During this time, focus on the following aspects to be ready for action when the doors reopen.
Time: Use your time constructively to save your business. Now is the time the review your business strategy and aims in the light of possible changing scenarios, but remain realistic. You might for example consider working from smaller premises, or reaching a new market. Get clarity on possible stumbling blocks and make a plan; a sit-and-wait-and-see approach will not benefit you at all.
Maintain contact: Although unnecessary expenses are now low, you have to stay in contact with your clients and assure them of your ongoing service. Thanks to modern technology there is no excuse for not staying in contact with your clients. Motivate one another in this difficult time, and strengthen your clients’ confidence in you. This lockdown also creates an ideal opportunity to build long-lasting business relationships. Maintain contact with your suppliers and find out if they will continue providing you with stock.
Share thoughts. Marketing is a continuous process, and new facets and ideas are essential to prevent stagnation. Stay in contact with friends and business acquaintances in the same position as yourself. Sometimes the smallest tip from their side can make a huge difference to your future business. Now is the time to exchange thoughts and implement changes where necessary, as we will be entering a new period where every cent will have to be counted. Discipline and perseverance will become the passwords as many one-man businesses will throw in the towel. You don’t want to be one of them.
Read. Spend time reading. Keep abreast of the latest financial world events via newspapers and internet, also with regard to local economic prospects. Although it may not paint a positive picture, you can plan around possible scenarios. Focus on positive signs and implement them in your marketing strategy. Covid-19 affects us all and gaining knowledge during this time can pull you through when things are back to normal.
Live sparingly. Now is not the time to spend your existing capital on unnecessary consumer items and panic shopping. Plan your expenses for three to six months and manage your resources carefully. Reconsider all spending, optimise your financial investments and, should your finances have taken a knock due to Covid-19, apply for government and bank help packages. If necessary and possible, negotiate new contracts with suppliers and clients. You might consider dismissing your employees, but keep in mind that the backbone of a strong business lies in the contribution of employees with specific skills.
Stay healthy. Keep your body healthy by eating correctly and exercising, and guard against negativity and depression. Build healthy relationships with your family and relatives, as they will become your support in uncertain times.
How can a small business survive the coronavirus outbreak?
OPINION | 6 tools to help small businesses survive coronavirus
Daniel Goldberg Fin24
Mar 21 2020 https://www.fin24.com/Opinion/opinion-6-tools-to-help-small-businesses-survive-coronavirus-20200321-2
* All information was correct at the time of publication.