BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES FOR COVID – 19
Unprecedented | Challenging times | Disruption | Going digital .
Words and phrases closely associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic.
We are two years into the Pandemic which shows no sign of disappearing and yet here we are not only surviving but actually thriving.
What is it that has changed aside from living with masks, practicing social distancing and sanitizing constantly?
A lot actually, Businesses have had to critically re-think their strategies. From bricks and mortar and the traditional way of trading over the counter to counting the number of clicks on social media platforms and doing business on e-commerce platforms from the comfort of our homes.
March 2020 saw the first case of the virus in Kenya, and as the numbers went up, the Government, like in all other countries, shut down its borders and placed stringent measures on movement within the country to curb the spread of the virus. And like the rest of the world, Kenya too faced adverse economic implications of this lock-down.
Businesses downsized, while some had to close down. Eateries and bars, beauty parlours and barbershops faced the brunt of the lock-down. Yet there were some who benefitted from it.
In fact, the Pandemic saw a rise in start-ups as most people, having either lost their jobs or faced pay cuts, turned to trading from home. But here was the crux of the problem. Most people went into business unprepared for the long haul.
A few days of frenzied activity, followed by a period of rest. With no proper structure or strategy, it is no wonder that only a few of these start-ups survived the first few months. To begin with, cash flows are scarce for start-ups so it’s only prudent to have a strategy for business growth.
Here is a quick guide into the Covid-19 strategy for growth and survival for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSME’s) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s):
Covid – 19 Survival Strategy for Businesses.
- Identify the need in the market. Covid-19 opened up a lot of new opportunities in business, based on the needs of people. A classic example is a need for home deliveries / contactless deliveries. Make an assessment of the current needs of the people you wish to target as your market versus the strengths and expertise you possess.
- Select the right company structure for your business. Do you want to trade as a limited liability company or would you rather start as a sole proprietor? This goes hand in hand with what you have in terms of capital and human resource. You need to clearly map out your cash flows and identify ways of raising additional capital should the need arise. For existing businesses who want to survive and grow, this is a critical step to ensure that you have enough cash flows to last you through the next 2 years at least.
- Once you have started operating you need to start tracking your expenses against your revenues. It is of utmost importance for businesses to conduct a proper assessment of their fixed and variable expenses as well as their actual revenues. This can be achieved through proper record keeping and maintaining proper books of account.
- Communication and transparency with all your stakeholders is important, especially with your customers. Do not bite off more than you can chew. It is usually very easy to oversell your product and/or services only to, later on, grapple with delivering what you promised. Building and maintaining a trust-based relationship with your customers takes time and patience, but it takes very little to destroy it. So it is best to be prudent and tread carefully. After all, you are in it for the long haul. Other stakeholders like your investors, suppliers, bankers and KRA are an equally important part of your ecosystem. You need to build and nurture those relationships as well.
- Your human resource is your best asset. Treat your staff with the care and consideration that they deserve. Covid-19 and the uncertainty of livelihoods have negatively impacted a lot of people. Fear of the unknown, loss of jobs and working from home all are issues that need to be addressed critically. How you treat your employees will directly translate into how you deal with your customers. A happy employee will always go that extra mile in serving the customer and that is the foundation of your business.
We don’t know how long the Pandemic will last. What we know is that we have to work with the Pandemic and adapt to whatever challenges it will throw our way. It is no longer about the end result, it has become a journey, a tumultuous and unpredictable roller coaster ride. It is up to us to either embrace change or become a casualty of it.
INNOVUS GROUP won the Best Business Growth Strategy Award at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mombasa Business Awards 2021 held on the 3rd of December 2021. This was our third consecutive year of being awarded at the Mombasa Business Awards, having previously won the award for the Best use of Technology in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
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