In the end, we shall win this war
By Sumac Media TEAM
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has threatened the whole world. Started in China, the pandemic has expanded its footprint across the globe in a short period of time. This rapidly increasing outbreak has induced governments around the world to take strict preventive actions.
“Many countries have enforced a strict lockdown for a definite amount of time to prevent the spread of the disease. However, this lockdown and the overall scenario around the world are not favoring the businesses,” says Sumac Microfinance Bank Chairman Kibatha Njoroge. “With the historical stock market rout across the world, several large scale industries have been taken aback. Adding to this, the small businesses are the ones that have been affected largely.”
Small Businesses facing the Hardest Hit
Along with the large businesses, the small businesses have also experienced enough damage due to this pandemic especially here in Kenya. As approximately all the major countries have locked down, the small businesses in those countries have also been shut down. Usually, the bigger businesses have a better chance of surviving in these situations, but the small businesses tend to operate with only a few months of cash flows. According to multiple sources, 96% of the small businesses around the world are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“In a calamity like this, it is very difficult to recover for the owner of the business as well as the employees associated with it,” Mr. Kibatha says. “The situation is going to get much more turbulent in the upcoming days. There are no easy ways for the small businesses to get out of this situation. However, here are few points that can be more than a handful.”
Don’t press the Panic Button, Stay Patient
When the cash is running out, staying calm and patient can be really difficult, but in these hard times, remember to take care of yourself in the best possible way. Almost every global business is going through this phase and on all levels, international, national government, state governments and all organizations are taking combined efforts.
“So everything will work out, but before strategizing anything being calm is important. For example, listen to some good music, eat your favorite food,” the Chairman says. “This will help you to keep calm as well as automatically keep your staff calm too. This positive and healthier mindset will surely make everyone come up with new and innovative ideas. If there is an instance of taking a difficult decision, you must take time to calm yourself and your mind before taking the decision.”
As the scenario is drastically changing, you can sometimes also think of taking a step back to reassess your condition and take trusted opinions. Always believe that things will get better and you’re not alone to face this situation.
Make use of Resources Provided by Authorities
The pandemic has made all the governments around the world take precautionary measures, but along with precautions, the governments are also putting together initiatives to help and support the small business owners.
New packages and sources of help are being sent day in and day out. You must have to be up to date with how government can help cut costs, as well as other important institutions, such as banks who have a social responsibility.
Prepare a Systematic Financial Plan
“Usually, every small business has the similar key expenses such as office rent, employee salaries and utility bills. You should pick the people who you need to pay in the upcoming months and find out options you have to spread out the costs. Sometimes, they might also come up with options, or will be understanding as they want to continue with your business. Moreover, you must be careful about the payment plans with other small businesses and ensure that the plan should be fare for both of you,” Mr. Kibatha says.
Furthermore, he adds, look at your personal finances, seek advice from people who may support you to get over the situation. Also, search for ways to cut costs. You can freeze hiring any new employees and work with freelancers on project basis. You can also consider reducing the size of the office and using a co-working space to have more affordable and flexible payment terms.
Look for More Opportunities
It isn’t good to capitalize on events like this pandemic, but this can turn out to be a wakeup call to reassess how you have been doing business. You should assess if your business model is able to survive the changes that will come from this pandemic.
“Moving forward, you should analyze how do you expect your customers to behave, things that will and won’t matter to them, and how can you accommodate to a new type of customer,” Mr. Kibatha says. “You can also look to digitize your products or start selling them online. Furthermore, you can also implement technology to balance any loss of earnings by offering new ways to connect with your customers.”
Upgrade the Skillset of your Staff
Try your best to keep your staff up to a maximum possible extent. If you have a good team, they will surely support you through these situations. Instead of hiring new people, you can train your existing staff with new skills which could make them more productive and efficient.
They can also learn through a number of online courses that are affordable and which will allow them to focus on other areas of business when their department is down. For example, your sales team can help out your marketing team in the respective downtime.
“During this tricky time, look for these courses and resources that matches your needs and budgets. To conclude, if you own a small business, applying these techniques can surely help you recover from the pandemic,” says the Chairman.