Small businesses & COVID-19
We are continuing with the theme of our last blog post on responding to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus.
By their nature, small businesses are mainly unregistered and have informal structures with few employees.
Nevertheless, as social distancing and self-isolation kicks in, many of these businesses will find that their supply chains will be disrupted and revenue losses follow from reduced customer demand.
Basically, the world of business as we know it is changing and very quickly too with networking events such as seminars, conferences, exhibitions and fairs being cancelled outright or postponed due to recent bans on mass gatherings by some State Governments.
Here are 7 things that we recommend to small businesses in order to get through these unprecedented, challenging times.
1. Your health and that of you staff and customers is paramount. Therefore, follow the public health advice about how to avoid Coronavirus infection and prioritize strong hygiene practices especially frequent handwashing.
2. Reschedule in-person meetings and use instead digital tools, for example, WhatsApp, Google Hangout Meets and Microsoft Teams, for video calls and conferencing.
3. Use social commerce responsibly and directly connect with customers to achieve sales through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
4. Patronize local logistics providers for making deliveries to your customers.
5. Explore financial relief that may be available to owners of small businesses as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, contact your bank about getting or increasing an overdraft facility or restructuring loan terms so that you can defer or reduce repayments.
6. Register for and take full advantage of online or mobile banking so that you can check balances, make transfers and pay utility and other bills when bank branches are closed or have reduced opening hours.
7. Check the website and social media handles of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its daily updates on COVID-19 confirmations across the country.