Here are 5 tips on how SMMEs can approach the lockdown

SMMEs in South Africa serve as the economic engine and contribute immensely to the country’s GDP. In fact, small businesses are paramount in helping curb our high unemployment rate.

In the wake of the national lockdown, small businesses find themselves having to cover unprecedented costs to their businesses; whilst working to uncover innovative ways of staying afloat and ensuring workforce productivity does not plummet. Businesses now, more than ever, must put on their “creative hat’ in order to avert their businesses falling into a financial rut.

According to a survey conducted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), a non-profit membership organisation that champions force-fueling business growth, the general challenges that 90% of most small businesses face is lack of insufficient cash-flow or funding to sustain their businesses,; Moreover, while 89% of small businesses are having the a drop in sales due to a decrease in clients. According to the research, 61% are in a financial crisis.

One can only imagine the negative impact the Covid19 epidemic will have on SMMEs over and above the general challenges they face. Small businesses are now unable to stay in business throughout the nation, specifically in key sectors such as hospitality, tourism, and retail.

Though the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is uncertain, small business owners are urged not to go into a panic. With the lockdown putting small businesses in tight positions, the NSBC provides pointers for businesses to stay afloat during this period.

The upside of any crisis is that it forces businesses to look for new ways of maintaining their relevance, presence and clients. Herewith are a few handy tips small businesses can make use of during this lockdown.

1. Communicate
Businesses must establish clear channels of communication between clients, staff and customers. This is the first point in maintaining trust and reducing fear and panic. Digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc. can come in handy.

2. Get assistance.
Make use of government debt relief assistance. The Department of Small Business Development has allocated a healthy budget for helping SMMEs affected by the pandemic. Other spheres of government have also set up the necessary debt relief funds for businesses in their sectors.

3. Remain social.
Increase your social media presence, offer online deals and focus on assisting customers and clients using online platforms. Social presence in the peak of the pandemic will ensure assure your clients that you still have their best interests at heart.

4. Take the leap.
This is the best time to migrate your entire business to the digital world. Many consumers are home-bound and therefore have turned to the digital space for social interactions.

5. Take the lead.
It takes 21 days to kickstart a new habit. After the lockdown, businesses will never be the same. Tech-averse consumers would have acquainted themselves with the digital space world and would be a tad more comfortable in making various purchases online. Your business would need to be digital if it is to compete and win in the future.

Now, more than ever, the digital space is most likely to be unchartered waters for many businesses. howeverHowever, small businesses that embrace digital migration and establish a solid online presence during this lockdown will be best positioned to succeed in the post-covid19 era — . right aAt the dawn of the 5G revolution.

After this pandemic, as the world slowly adjusts back to normalcy, the landscape of business would have changed for the better. Are you ready?