As of 12th April, there are more than 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. 85 have been discharged with 10 deaths. Apart from these figures, coronavirus lockdown has resulted in nightmares for businesses and organisations.
The nationwide lockdown has also hit Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and many of them are either out of businesses or counting losses.
Here’s a look at five options they need to survive this hard time:
Information is power. SMEs need to get a hold of every piece of information at this crucial time. You have to know what the trends are and what is happening to make informed decisions about your business. Follow up with news and articles from credible sources. Also, stay up to date on what is being done to cushion the effect of the situation on small businesses. Take note and act on the stimulus package that best suits your venture.
See this time as an opportunity, not in a bad way. If possible, shift business focus, in line with the pandemic, and you could be part of a solution to the COVID-19 crisis. Just strive hard to remain relevant. Your business could be modelled to sell something that makes people’s lives better, while they’re home in this lockdown. It could be entertainment, online consulting, etc. Small factories could also collaborate to produce masks, sanitizers, and other preventive items that are currently in high demand.
Find sources of cash to stay up and running and be creative about it. You could do some short-term deals or loans that would help mitigate immediate stress. Your business needs finance more than ever to adjust to the current situation.
Explore government grants and bank loans and other measures to stay afloat. You could find out the guidelines to access the N50 billion COVID-19 SME intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Also, check with your bank to know the various packages they have to aid SMEs in this pandemic period. For instance, some banks offer quick loan products for SMEs during this period.
4. Intensified online activity
Increased online activity is needed. Workers around the world are working from home to reduce or stop the spread of COVID-19. This means that a lot will be done online and virtually. Meetings are inevitable at this point because decisions have to be reached and implemented as soon as possible. Here is where apps like zoom greatly help. Online interaction with workers, stakeholders, and customers should be intensified. This is the best time to shift your business online so that customers can easily reach you. If you own a restaurant, now is the time to make your customers’ lives easier and better. They could buy a meal online and have you deliver to them for a small delivery fee. This is the best time to be there for your customers. Let your services, no matter the sector, make people happy and reassure them that there is hope.
5. Cut costs
This is pretty straight to the point. Anyone or anything that wouldn’t add to the sustenance of your business at this point should be set aside. This includes rent and as sad as it might sound, place some workers on unpaid leave. The business has to direct the available resources into areas that will only yield the required results. At the end of the crisis, everything can be put back together for the usual running of the venture.