What to do as a small business during this COVID-19

22 Apr 2020
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The COVID-19 virus is fast spreading and affecting every part of the world. Economies are being shaken and no country is left untouched. Large economies like those of Italy and Spain are being tried and the ripple effect is being felt all over the world.

Massive countries like the United States of America have since announced stimulus packages in the Trillions of Dollars to keep the economy afloat. Hundreds of millions of this money is set aside for small businesses to keep their companies working and employees at work. South Africa, right next to our borders is seeing something similar brought into their economy by the government. Banks are giving small businesses payment breaks and the government asking landlords to do the same. We in Botswana do not have such arrangements in place for us but as a small business here is what you can do.

  1. Cash – this is a very important asset to your business so it is important to conserve it because it’s going to be a cash strapped time. Be sure to collect on all your contracts and follow up all invoices. Have another look at your contracts and ensure that clauses like “vis majeure” are factored in and enforced to cover you during times such as these.
  2. Customer – Your customers are important to you and you know this, they are one of the most important stakeholders to your business. Without them you do not have any source of revenue. Make time to visit your Top 10 customers even if it’s unscheduled meetings more especially for B2B businesses. Find out what’s important to them, what keeps them up at night, what doesn’t affect your payments, invoices etc., and come in and fill in the gap for them.
  3. Credit – Businesses make use of credit and it is good for your business too. When you need a cash boost you make use of credit through your bank to make ends meet. In times like these get a short term lending facility or loan from your bank. Unless you have a 90-day cover from an insurance provider.
  4. Colleagues – Your business runs daily because of your colleagues so get ahead of the curve and sit your colleagues down and talk about it. This virus has it’s implications, talk about those, how to curb it, using sanitizer, washing hands etc. Public transport issues are also a concern, if you have employees that use those suggest other ways of transport that might reduce their exposure and offer flexible working hours if need be.
  5. Communication – This last C is very important, communicate. Talk to your external stakeholders, suppliers both locally and internationally, stock markets etc. Don’t wait for them to ask. Put a press statement on your company website and social media assets. What is your company doing about the virus breakout and what’s the response to it.

These are just some of the things you can do and well renowned entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo suggested these and is doing the same for his business. In his words, “get to do these in the next 48hours of your business”.