Small businesses in South Africa are an integral part of our real economy. The nature of a South African is that we are all Entrepreneurial. So when the very core of who we are gets pulled out from under us the question has to be asked, are South Africans resilient enough to once again rise up from the ashes after COVID19 Lockdown. Unfortunately, the time for hoping things will get better has passed and it’s up to every person to take charge of their lives in order to move forward.
We have constructed this article more as a discussion point in the hope that it will help a small business owner that is paralyzed in confusion to make action plans in-order to move forward.
I take for granted the small business owner has done the basics; like applying for all the COVID19 relief available to them from UIF to tax relief including renegotiations with landlords, banks and creditors as well as immediate reduction of any expenses where possible including cancellation of contracts and services no longer required.
So what now ……
The reality is that no matter what business you are in the way business is conducted after Lockdown will change for ever. If any small business owner is naïve enough to think they can go back to what was their winning formula before will surely no longer be in business if they have not properly considered the changing phycology and buying patterns of there customers. To this end we have six points we would like you to consider in your resurrection ACTION PLAN.
In a process of massive change is also a massive opportunity to exploit new markets.
- If you were in a business that was solely brick and mortar to expand to an online presence beyond the four walls of your existing premises could add value. With inventory already in your brick and mortar establishment the benefits of expanding your customer base through an online platform could have a massive potential upside.
- With increasingly large factories coming to a standstill when one person gets infected with Corona Virus, a future trend in business is decentralization of supply chain and as a small business you are positioned well to take advantage of an ever-growing trend. The trick is to market yourself into this niche and sell the proposition of risk mitigation.
- Far too many small businesses don’t realize the importance of understanding social media marketing across all platforms with the emphasis on promoting personal brand. We are moving into an era where the risks of doing business of multi Corporations sourcing product all over the world has become very risky. As a result of this local will become ‘lekker’ and companies will enjoy doing business with local “personal brands “at the expense of larger Corporations. If you have the ability to communicate your personal brand message you will be ideally situated to take advantage. Just a note on this point “it is fine to outsource part of this function but is important to keep the knowledge and content generation in-house whether it be learning search engine optimization FB pixels or your knowledge of the Instagram algorithm. It is only you who has a unique knowledge of your business therefore only you are able to work towards your ideal marketing click funnel.
- Let’s talk resourcefulness and speed. Only a small business has the ability to attack new markets quickly and re-engineer business in the ever changing business landscapes. As long as the small business operator remains on the lookout for new opportunities in identifying new market trends quickly they are able to exploit the ever-changing fast pace of change brought on by Corona Virus.
- Coming out of lock down is a good time to re-access your company structures and work towards a model that is driven by numeration based on productivity. This can be achieved by out-sourcing parts of your business and work functions that are now easily done remotely, be it accounting, payroll functions, even in some situation’s sales teams and warehousing. All of the above functions have many examples where companies who have out-sourced only pay for what they have used.
- Most small companies will see only the adversity that lock down has created. With an understanding that this is an opportunity to really take a hard look at every fine detail within your business ultimately will result in a stronger foundation from which to re-grow. Every company has that one person who has never been a team player and has been left on payroll as its easier to pay the person than to get rid of them and by the same token every company has had expenses that have been added over the years that have become the norm for example Company sponsored golf days or out sourced cleaning contracts that could really have been done by existing staff that should clean up after themselves. The point here is that by re-looking at all the fine detail your business will come out leaner and stronger than before by doing more for less will have its financial benefits in the long run.
I know it’s very hard to stay positive when the world is falling down around you. If you approach this brand new world with a single minded belief that change is good and being pushed out of your comfort zone will move you to new heights then the new World is your Oyster.
THE RISE OF SMALL BUSINESSES ENTREPRENEURSHIP: BY MICHAEL EGLING