Small businesses, so often described as the backbone of the South African economy, are in a desperate fight for survival thanks to the Covid-19 epidemic. While many will fall and others will pivot, the best most can hope for is to survive and pick up again when the eventual rebound comes. In order to do so, they’re going to have to box clever and find innovative ways to mitigate Covid-19’s impact on the economy. Shaune Jordaan, CEO of Hoorah Digital, shares some survival tips for small business.
- Remote working is here to stay
There’s so much talk of the “new normal”, and while no one can predict with any certainty how that will look, what is for sure is that remote working is here to stay. And that’s a very good thing. Right now, entrepreneurs need to be putting in place the kind of technology that will facilitate this new way of working. The wide variety of video technology and cloud products available today means there is sure to be something to match your exact needs. Businesses cannot afford to miss the boat on securing this capability.
Now’s not the time to cut marketing and advertising
In times of turmoil it can be tempting to cut marketing and advertising spend. More people are online now than ever before, and with social distancing measures likely to remain in place for months to come, we can expect the online space to continue being our virtual communities, our source of entertainment, and the place where we do most of our work. Now is the time to ensure you have an aggressive but considered digital marketing and advertising strategy. Reaching people is key, and people are online. Use the time to build your digital pipeline, which starts with building relationships with clients in the online space.
One of the most underrated skills of an entrepreneur is empathy. This is a difficult time for everyone – people are struggling mentally and emotionally, a reality that is being exacerbated by financial uncertainty. Listen to your staff to get a better understanding of where they are at, so that you know how and where you can support them.
Reassess the culture of your business and make the necessary adjustments. Your team needs to feel safe, confident and supported. Show them you care by listening and communicating effectively. Employees who feel supported are likely to return that support with their loyalty, as well as their best work.
Most businesses will have to pivot their offering in one way or another, which presents a huge opportunity if you can think out of the box. Entrepreneurs and business owners will have to come with new products and fresh innovations to ensure they remain relevant. This process starts with listening and observing in order to ensure you not only understand the prevailing needs, but can also anticipate future demand patterns, then respond accordingly. Luckily this is the very essence of entrepreneurship. Now’s the time to reassess and readjust, and not merely react.
A positive outlook
Disruption, particularly for an entrepreneur, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A positive outlook may not be quantifiable, but it is what will help deliver the clarity you’ll need to focus on what needs to be done to keep your business afloat, and growing into the future.