Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic as an SME
Posted 21 Apr, 2020
Author - Aderonke Adekunle
Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic as an SME

As there are uncertainty as to how long the novel coronavirus will last, it is inevitable that many businesses will suffer, as a matter of fact, it has already hit small businesses hard. Unfortunately, some will not be able to withstand the effects of this unprecedented virus. For business to survive in these times, small business owners will need to buckle up, reassess and make some changes to their business strategies. Here are some things small business owners should note.
1.      You are not alone.
First and foremost, it is important to know as a business owner that you are not alone on this, your business is not the only one affected, so whatever happens, it should be expected. Everyone is facing this crisis together; this will keep your heads up and make you focused on how to keep surviving.
2.      Communicate to your customers.
This is not the time to go missing in action. Ensure you reach out to your customers both old and new, keeping them abreast of situations and how your business is handling it, remind them that you are still in business even though you might not be able to operate as usual.
3.      Establish a remote work option.
It is no news that most businesses have moved their operations online which enables their employees work remotely. Provide the tools required for this and implement a remote work policy that covers when you expect your team to be online or available, how to communicate (via email, zoom, or chat platforms, etc), and what deliverables each team member is expected to complete. Implement measures to track employee’s productivity, have a weekly group video call to catch up on each of your employees and measure output.
4.      Reduce Cost.
Look at where your business is currently spending money and consider the expenses that may be reducible without necessarily affecting the quality of your business. It is advisable in times like this to run your business more efficiently. In this wise, communication with your employees is key. Ensure you communicate about how to cut cost and ensure your employees are engaged fully on any cost cutting intervention.
5.      Apply for Financial Aids for SMEs.
Government all over the world are making provisions for a stimulus package to aid small businesses. As a business owner, once this opportunity arises, do not hesitate to apply for such aids as your business needs resources in times like this to keep afloat. It is also important that you back up your application for loan with a detailed proposal.
6.      Seek advice and learn from others.
Although financial assistance is the primary relief that many small businesses are seeking, there is need to seek advice as well. There are several well experienced and knowledgeable people who offer relief in the form of business advice and resource access. You can search websites, blogs, and social media to find the most helpful conversations and advice columns.
7.      Use this period to upskill and acquire useful knowledge.
Businesses out there are ensuring their employees get trained and learn new skills. Seize this opportunity to be the best you can be. Take out time to read, take courses, and learn, so that when things are a bit more normal, you can fly by whatever competition you have. you left out businesses ensuring their employees get trained and learned new skills too.
8.      Stay positive.
Lastly, be reminded that this unsettling time won’t last forever, eventually, things will get better, most things will return to normal, and those things which permanently change are all things that you will be able to adapt to. Entrepreneurship is always full of challenges and this is no different, approach it like you approached any other roadblock that you have come across in business.
Remember that observing proper hygiene at this time cannot be overemphasized. Stay at home, wash your hands regularly and constantly disinfect surfaces.

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