As you are already aware, our societies are going through some incredible changes thanks to COVID-19.
With many countries in lockdown, a lot of businesses are having a hard time generating revenue. A lot of companies are already shutting down and many others are in distress.
The International Labour Organization is reporting that as many as 195 million jobs could be lost as a result of COVID-19.
At this time, one of the most important questions that most businesses have to answer is “How do we stay alive in these times?”. If you, like me, are an entrepreneur, you’ve probably asked yourself the same question too.
Our Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation mentor, Cameron Burt, (who credits Vusi Thembekwayo) in an email to the 2020 shortlist shared these helpful tips on how to keep your business alive during COVID-19 that I believe are essential for entrepreneurs and businesses regardless of sector.
The 5 C’s
Aggressively reduce expenses as much as possible. Delay payments; cut unnecessary expenses; negotiate payment plans where possible. Split shifts and/or pay half salaries to employees to spread their payments for as long as possible.
If you have any non-essential online monthly subscriptions, maybe put them on hold for now.
Collect payments as early as possible. If invoices have been issued, request payment from customers. If necessary, offer a small discount for early payment. Try to gain as much runway as possible.
Try not to seek investors in your business currently. You will be negotiating from a position of weakness and investors are highly risk-averse now.
Most governments are going to provide some measure of relief for small business owners. Stay informed of the processes that you will have to take to unlock those funds and work through them methodically. They will be onerous to prevent fraud but still just do it!
Get close to your top customers, especially B2B customers. Use online and virtual tools to maintain a high presence in their lives. Invest some time to develop your digital marketing strategies to reach new customers. This virus will pass, and you should position yourself to capitalise when business returns to its #NewNormal.
Approach financial services institutions to arrange for lines of short-term credit. Even if you don’t use the credit available, it will provide a safety net.
You will need to take leadership with your teams. Manage their fears, which will be real. Calm the nerves, be transparent in all your discussions. Consider flexible working arrangements to reduce your employee costs.
Be available and communicate to your external and internal stakeholders. If you have other shareholders, make sure that they are aware of your financial position.
Like Cameron adds, these are unprecedented and rather surreal times. We can control only two things:
Our thoughts. Stay positive. Don’t fear. Don’t panic. What you think, you become.
Our actions. Take carefully considered actions.
Above all THINK!
Use this time to think.
Think about how the world is going to be once this nightmare is over.
Think about what is going to be different in the #NewNormal and how you can deliver solutions.
Think about pivoting your current solution to capitalise on the #NewNormal.
Think about what part of your current solution can migrate to the virtual sphere and still generate revenue?
Many startups were founded during the last Great Recession: Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Square, Venmo.
Some of the most iconic companies in 2030 will undoubtedly be founded in these surreal times.
Are you going to be one of them?
Our attitude will either make us or break us. It’s as brutally simple as that.
We can either succumb to all being lost and fall into a depression, or to dig deep and see how we can pull together and innovate towards surviving.
Stay Alive! Stay Safe! This too shall pass!We can either succumb to all being lost and fall into a depression, or to dig deep and see how we can pull together and innovate towards surviving. Click To Tweet