Significant drop in oil prices, closed borders and declining economies are some of the ways the Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic is affecting business globally. According to KPMG, 94% of the Fortune 1000 businesses across the globe are already experiencing Covid-19 disruptions.
The World Bank reports that SMEs represent 90% of businesses worldwide; providing up to 50% of the world’s employment and contributing up to 40% of the national income in emerging economies. These statistics prove that SMEs have a huge role to play in sustainable economic development. The question now lies in the steps small business owners are taking to survive this crisis.
On the 8th of April, 2020, we launched an Instagram Live Series; interviewing entrepreneurs from the sectors that have taken the worst hits during this pandemic. They shared their stories on how they are surviving the pandemic.
Okey Bakassi, a Nigerian entertainer talked about the importance of staying informed about developing trends in your industry. He mentioned that brands should think of creative ways to use trends to tell their brand stories. Okey also raised the importance of diversifying and having multiple income streams.
For Alex Ekeoma the Managing Director of Geo Travel and Tours, the story was quite different. He said his company is focused on using this period to prepare and strategize for business post Covid-19. He is making his staff take trainings and courses online that will help them perform better in their roles. He is also cutting down his overhead cost and finding alternative ways to invest his money.
Bunmi George of Shredder Gang; a weight management brand was one of the few who had been preparing for a time like this. With most of her business operations digitized and properly structured, so much did not have to change. She highlighted the importance of personal developing as a business owner and building a solid team. She also highlighted the value of saving for rainy days and effective time management.
For Temitope Omotolani of Crowdyvest – an investment company, her organization let go of old processes and created new ones. They did a proper analysis of the operations that were driving value for the business and look for ways to improve them. They focused on their strengths as a business, spotted emerging trends and pivoted towards them. Temitope added that flexibility and collaboration with another brand were some of the ways Crowdyvest created and implemented changes to their business processes within a short period of time.
Tania Omotayo of Ziva Lagos – a ready-to-wear fashion brand talked about the importance of appealing to consumers by showing them how your product or services enriches their lives. She added that she made revenue while taking orders remotely because she was actively engaging her target audience on social media. Tania currently runs the end-to-end operations of her business as her staff aren’t available to fulfill orders due to the lock-down.
Abisade Adenubi of Heritage Apparels was also another entrepreneur who pivoted quickly. Prior to the Corona Virus pandemic, Heritage Apparels was focused on manufacturing clothes however, when the pandemic broke out her company pivoted to manufacturing face masks. She mentioned how important it is to address problems as they arise and communicate effectively with your staff. She also added that the welfare of her employees are highly prioritized. Asides working on ongoing projects, she is using this period to study and improve on her business processes.
When things go back to normal, a lot of trends that have emerged during this period will become the new norm. There will be less meetings, more remote working and businesses will digitize most of their processes. Whatever the ripple effects of these changes are, making the most of the situation is all that matters.