Advice to SME Owners During COVID-19
Updated: Mar 27
First and foremost, relax and do not make any rash decisions if you are in panic mode. It is time to think clearly and not be reactive, which can be easy to do with the influx of information being thrown at us. Our (mental) health and well being and that of our staff are of the utmost importance at the moment. Luckily, many SMEs today thrive using digital channels, whether it is the ways they communicate with clients or achieve productivity from their staff.
It does not matter who you are or your industry of specialization; the reality of the matter is that we will all most likely lose out one way or another, whether it is relating to our finances or in human capital. Nobody is exempt from the toll of the virus, which is still extending throughout the world, creating a ripple effect that will impact us for quite some time.
As reported in SmallBizTrends, "27% of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their revenue. Another 30% expect the virus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain.” The goal here is deploying all efforts to help minimize the impact of our losses. At KUSI Consulting, we are no experts in saving SMEs, however, there are some means and methods we are personally experimenting with that we wish to share with you.
Here are some key points and advice based on our experiences thus far since the pandemic to help you minimize your losses.
1. Leverage technology and focus on selected services.
If there is any part of your work that can be performed digitally then strongly consider it. Also, leverage on those services you offer which require a digital means. Earlier this week, one of our clients suggested postponing a negotiations meeting scheduled for three potential candidates they are considering for available roles. Rather than postpone, we proposed a video conference, which they found it to be a great idea. We have to find ways to not interrupt our normal business flow and keep things as normal as possible. If there are alternatives, consider those alternatives instead.
2. Consider outsourcing and freelancers.
With a limited or no team the work still has to get done. For some of us, we are fortunate to be able to work from home. A luxury that is not afforded to everyone. It is time to consider outsourcing and leveraging the talents of freelancers who work independently. Last week, another client began to weigh their options and consider hiring an emergency staff in case their current staff goes on strike and does not report to work. If you can afford this then consider this option.
3. Think about survival and not about your get-rich-or-die-trying agenda.
Figure out your monthly expenditure and highlight the necessities ex: food and electricity. Worry about making enough to cover those expenses and not about your next vacation destination. It is time to cut back in all the ways we possibly can until life picks up again and normalcy is restored.
4. Actively check on your team who are working remotely or not working at all.
Employee engagement is not only in the workplace. It extends outside of the workplace. Ask about their (mental) health, how they are feeling and engage them as often as you can. You will be amazed at the solutions they help you to derive. Keep in mind that your employees are feeling the same way you do regarding the business. They too are concerned if they will have jobs and stability when it is all over. That is if they have not already lost their jobs. Seek their advice and the advice of your internal stakeholders before making business decisions.
5. Limit spending wherever you can.
We have no idea how long the Coronavirus and its impact will last. Try and cut expenses. For example, Instead of the AC use a fan.
6. Pay your staff if you can afford it even if it's not their full salaries.
It is not time to be neglecting those who need you the most during this crisis. The men and women who have been working to help achieve the objectives of your business. Find solutions to provide for them just as you would for yourself. We are all in this together. If you can afford to provide hazard pay for employees risking their lives to still come to work then do so.
7. We can all use a bit of faith. Continue to pray and have faith.
It is certainly time to start thinking outside of the box and letting our creative juices flow. Share positive news and information with your community and team to uplift their spirits. The truth is, when this ordeal is over, we may not all be left standing on our two feet, business-wise. But, we can and should remain positive, hopeful and faithful.
If you have more to add on this topic, kindly leave a message in our comments section.
Give us a call (+233 55 408 1727) (+233 30 254 7136) or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more advice and also about our Recruitment, Training, HR Audit and Digital Marketing services.