As the government and economy adapts to the impact of Covid-19, SMEs must implement strategies to help secure firm footings and prepare for post-COVID economic conditions, the future of work, and long-term sustainability.
SMEs and large enterprises have experienced various forms of contraction, in some cases, closure of the businesses. Many companies had thrived on an existing modus operandi and were not prepared for the impacts of the pandemic. However, the lockdown and the emergence of social distancing has caused businesses to incorporate innovative working arrangements like remote working, online services as well as sequenced attendance
It is no news that SMEs in Nigeria contribute a whopping 48% to our national GDP, account for 96% of businesses, and provide for 84% of the employment of our citizens. With a total number of about 17.4 million, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector, in terms of the number of enterprises.
Covid-19 may have proven disastrous for your business, (as it has for many others). Getting up and running again may seem like an impossible challenge, but coming back from the brink is possible. Here are some ways you can reposition your business post-COVID-19.
Build Your Online Presence.
Many businesses that did not have an online presence practically crashed during the lockdown which brought a halt to movement and large gatherings. This caused many businesses that existed mainly on physical interactions to pack up.
The world has moved online, and the emergence of digital dominance has made it necessary for more people to rely on the internet to look for the products and services that they need. Any business that does not effectively use this platform risks losing new lucrative opportunities. Business owners must learn that it is a huge travesty to plan your strategy without having an online presence.
Review & Strategize
Your business model may have worked perfectly fine pre-COVID-19 but coming out of it may mean you have to do some fine-tuning. Specifically, you may need to consider how your business can pivot to adjust to a new normal.
Flexibility is one of the keys to thriving after the transition. Understand that the pandemic has affected the world economically and otherwise. Hence, it is crucial to adapt to the changes by inculcating new plans, being versatile and multifaceted rather than being inappropriately unbending.
When going over your business plan and business model, clarify your business’s strengths and weaknesses, consider what was working before that may not work as well now, and see where you can adjust or improve to remain competitive. Ensure to revisit your business goals to make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T, given the current circumstances.
Develop a Contingency Plan
While restrictions may have recently been lessened somewhat, it’s important to remember that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, as a cure is yet to be uncovered. Therefore, it’s important to prepare just in case the worst-case scenario happens and there happens to be another wave of the pandemic just around the corner.
You can never over-prepare in business, after all, so make sure you have fail-safe strategies developed and at hand just in case. Whether it be a hands-free delivery system, the use of local suppliers to avoid contamination, or an entirely new service, take time now to think about how you can keep your business safe should a second wave come.
Revise your budget to account for New Spending
Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have to spend money before you can make money.
For instance, you may need to spend money on hiring and training new employees or rehiring ones you had to lay off. You can however train the available staff. Inventory may need to be purchased, and you might have to rev up your advertising budget again to start building fresh buzz. I would downplay spending on Advertising for now as you can leverage social media at a low cost to give you a higher impact before you launch with a bigger spend. Since the new normal has gone digital, it would be profitable to maximize your budget.
As part of your recovery plan, you should have a clear idea of what you need to be budgeting for and what you can cut to make the most of the revenue you do have coming in.
An extreme step you could take during this time is deferring paying yourself a salary or taking a pay cut. This is believing that you have isolated your personal finances from your business. Once this has been done, you would conveniently track your expense and align with your goals. Remember without proper accounting you would not be able to get loans or contracts.
Companies grow faster when they have an array of products, businesses soon come to maturity at some point, and after that, the decline sets in. We have seen companies boom and crash all because they focused on only a mono-product. By the time competition comes in, they cannot sustain the pressure that comes with competition. This is not to say there is anything wrong with specializing in a product, there is a need to improve, expand and grow within your industry. Gaining more grounds with varied products would help the company in times of uncertainty.
Whatever you do, remember you must be sustainable to succeed. You can outsource some functions of your business if it would be cheaper and more convenient. By doing this, you would save overhead costs and other expenses that would have drained your profit.