CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES

coronavirus impact small businesses. Tips for post lockdown business activities infographic.

Coronavirus impact on small businesses. The good news so far is that the number of cases of the virus in Africa is low.

In addition, the reported cases are mostly European travelers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has labelled the corovirus a pandemic. This means that the virus is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.

Although the cases reported in Africa remain small, the virus seems to be spreading worldwide.

In addition, the virus is having a negative impact on the world economy.

For example, the demand for oil from China has reduced since the coronavirus outbreak. This is especially having a negative impact on resource dependent economies.

Even countries that do not supply oil to China directly are also experiencing the impact.

They are all experiencing the negative impact of the virus. All the oil producing countries are dealing with the impact of the drop in the price of oil.

Urgent measures will need to be taken in the coming days to deal with the economic impact of the coronovirus on oil price.

The impact of Coronavirus on small businesses.

Small and medium-sized businesses are already dealing with the impact of the coronavirus.

Businesses that offer transport services are losing their bookings. This is as a result of companies stopping their employees from travelling.

In addition, many people are not going on holidays at this time. The tourism industry is particularly very vulnerable at this time.

Some countries expecting spring-time break visitors will see a reduction in the number of tourists.

Hotels and Airbnb will experience reduced patronage due to cancellation of bookings as a result of the pandemic.

The impact on air travels is higher. This is because as fewer people are traveling and travel bans are being imposed. Some airlines may opt to reduce ticket prices, waive fees or ground their flights.

The survival of small businesses with low cash reserves is also being threatened.

As many people are anxious and scared to go out, sales will continue to decrease.

Retailers and resturants are also being affected by poor sales. As people are being ordered to stay at home.

For example, in Beijing China, a resturant tried to improvise to minimise losses with a ‘boil-it-yourself’ noodles delivery which wasn’t very successful.

Learning points from the coronavirus impact on small businesses.

As a small business owner, here things you should know and do to protect yourself and your business.

Even small businesses in unaffected countries will be affected as the pandemic continues.

As supply chains are being disrupted all around the world, small businesses will begin to feel the impact.

Small businesses that depend on goods being shipped from China and Italy, may already be feeling the negative impact of the virus and the containment.

It is time for every small business owner and their employees to embrace the use of technology.
This should include work arangements that would enable you to work remotely.

Widen your suppply chain net. Don’t rely on goods being shipped from only China or Italy.

Have other alternatives so that your supply is not interrupted in such a time as this.

Manage your cash reserves well, you’ll be glad you did when sales slow down or stop.

How to protect yourself and your small business from Coronavirus.

It takes about five days on average to show symptoms and the incubation period can last up to 14 or 24 days.

It is too soon to know whether one is immuned to the virus after recovery.

Self -isolation involves staying away from people for 14 days. That means, no school, work, shopping, church etc.

Wash your hands as often as possible. The virus can be transmitted by door handles.
Use tissue for coughs and avoid touching your face.

Those in places with many confirmed cases may need to wear face masks.

Coronavirus impact small businesses - actions for good better and worse.

The symptoms seem to be milder with children probably because they are able to shake it off.

However, be careful with children with underlying lung problems.

The virus can be passed from food if it has been prepared unhygenically – it can spread by cough droplets on hands.

According to the BBC News:

Doing the following will not protect you against coronavirus:

  • Eating garlic
  • Gargling mouthwash
  • Rinsing your nose with saline

Coronavirus impact on small businesses – actions for good better and worse.

Coronavirus impact on small businesses – business ideas and actions for good, better and worse. In this section, we’ll examine different actions taken by business people in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is often useful when trying to understand motives and actions, to do so from a business-society–culture perspective.

In order to understand what is good and evil, right and wrong, and what we ought and ought not to do in business.

Particularly, when trying to understand the characteristics or actions which constitutes good and bad human conduct in business.

Business-society-culture perspective of Covid-19.

Looking at the business-society-culture perspective of Covid-19.

Entrepreneurs and businesses are an essential part of the society we live in.

Through these basic units of economic activity, our needs as members of a society are met.

Arguably, businesses are not meant to be mere “profit-making machines“.
However, we can all agree that every person in business is engaged in the production of economic goods or services.

That is, as a business person, whatever you do, directly or indirectly, you are engaged in the production of wealth.

Society often has a set of values through which actions can be tested. Some call these set of values cultural norms.
Such values are in accordance with what is considered right or wrong in a society.
These set of values are deemed important to the existence of the larger community.

In addition, these values influence the patterns of behaviour among people and also become the standards for future behaviour.

In course of time, some of these values even gain legal significance.

A business is not a self-contained institution. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you are first and foremost a member of a society.
Therefore, decision making should be considered in relation to the implications of your actions to the society.

Entrepreneurs and businesses are an essential part of the society we live in.
Through these basic units of economic activity, our needs as members of a society are met.

Arguably, businesses are not meant to be mere “profit-making machines“.
However, we can all agree that every person in business is engaged in the production of economic goods or services.

That is, as a business person, whatever you do, directly or indirectly, you are engaged in the production of wealth.

Society often has a set of values through which actions can be tested. Some call these set of values cultural norms.
Such values are in accordance with what is considered right or wrong in a society.
These set of values are deemed important to the existence of the larger community.

In addition, these values influence the patterns of behaviour among people and also become the standards for future behaviour.

In course of time, some of these values even gain legal significance.

A business is not a self-contained institution, as an entrepreneur or business owner, you are first and foremost a member of a society.
Therefore, decision making should be considered in relation to the implications of your actions to the society.

Coronavirus business actions – face mask and hand sanitizer.

According to the Market Research Report, The Hand Sanitiser Manufacturing industry experienced an annual growth of 3.9% to $74.4 million between 2015 and 2020.

This year alone, there has been an increase of 16.6% as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

China is the largest producer of face masks. Yet, it is hardly meeting the local demands.

Coupled with the global demand for masks, the total capacity of masks production has been raised to 110 million from 20 million in February. An increase in 450% in just one month.

Here are some coronavirus business activities and actions that have occurred or occurring as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus impact small businesses – innovative actions.

Innovative COVID-19 business actions are those applied by businesses as they find solutions to meet existing market needs.

As a result of the global demand for face mask, many companies in China are transitioning to mask-making manufacturing.

It is reported that carmakers BYD and SAIC, iphone assembler Foxconn and oil company Sinopec are among the new entrants to the industry.

In France, Louis Vuitton owner LVMH wants to help tackle the shortage of hand sanitiser in France. It will use its perfume production lines to start making hand sanitiser.

Also, in the UK the Prime Minister is due to ask engineering firms in the UK to shift production to build ventilators.

From the fashion industry, actions include, designers producing designer facial masks.

Marine Serre who’s mask designs made many viewers uneasy in the past, has seen some change in the reception of her designs after the February Paris Fashion Week.

Though most likely not recommended for viral protection, some people see wearing fashionable mask as a gesture of community and care.

Many local businesses around the world are beginning to produce face masks and hand sanitiser too.

Although a good move by local businesses, some would exploit the situation for their own benefit at the expense of the consumers. People should carefully select products based on quality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a guide for Local Production of WHO-recommended Handrub Formulations

Coronavirus impact small businesses – socially responsible actions.

Even better are the business activities and and socially responsible business actions people are making. For example, those making donations towards fighting the disease.

In February, a Chinese doctor who runs a clinic in Liberia, sent face masks and other protective materials to hospitals in mainland China.

China’s billionaire Jack Ma donated about 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million masks to the United States.

Similarly, he is donating 20,000 kits, 100,000 masks and 10,000 medical protective suits and face shields to all the African countries.

A Pennsylvania distillery owner angry at the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer is temporarily converting his operation line to make hand sanitizer for charity.

Coronavirus impact on small businesses – exploitative business actions.

Not much to be desired is the business actions and idea behind it, of a man in Tennessee along with his brother.

The two bought close to 18,000 bottles of hand sanitiser, face masks and cleaning wipes.

Just after the first death from coronavirus was reported in march, the brothers began cleaning out small shops and dollar shops.

Their intention was to sell the products at inflated prices online.Although he claimed it not his intention to keep such crucial supplies out of people’s hand.

Many fashion brands are profiting excessively by selling masks at a premium.

Likewise, many business people are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to sell at substantial markups. However, Amazon and eBay are cracking down on those with such listings.

As a business owner or an entrepreneur, being mindful is useful in decision making.

Self-compassion along with mindfulness is useful for recognising opportunities that are not harmful to others. They also help in accessing the impact of daily business actions on the society.

Tips for post lockdown business activities.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are asking for ideas to help their businesses after the coronavirus lockdown is over.

Many small businesses are looking for ways to operate efficiently and save cost.
In this section, let’s explore things you can do to help make the transition to ‘business-as-usual’ easier.

Business finance tips for post lockdown business.

  • Carry out an assessment of your business and determine the implication of the pandemic lockdown in terms of costs. Do you still have reserves? Most small businesses wouldn’t!
  • In addition to assessing the current condition of your business. Develop a short-term cashflow forecast.
  • In order to manage cash deficiency, you may need to sell non-critical assets for short term cashflow.
  • Can you renegotiate loans repayment? Or ask your bankers for short-term loans to help with working capital where possible?
  • Is there any chance you might be successful if you apply for the central bank subsidy?
  • Also, determine what costs can be deferred, removed or adjusted. For example, you may need to negotiate with your suppliers, landlord or even employees.
  • If your small business is registered and you pay taxes, explore if there are tax reduction options. It might be worth exploring, you’ll never know if you don’t try!

How to prepare your employees for post lockdown business.

  • You may need to assess the health status of your employees who may have been exposed, as you plan to reopen your business.
  • Rather than lose good hands, you may reduce your employees cost by making flexible working schedules/shifts. By having your staff work part time or staff rotation to ensure shorter office hours.
  • Different employees can go to work on different days. This will help ease salary costs because you’ll not have to pay full salaries as things gradually go back to normal.
  • Also, staff should avoid public transport if possible during the early days of return to business.
  • Have plans in place to disinfect and train employees as they resume for work.
  • Plan for protective measures e.g. face masks for your employees, especially your front-line staff.

How to improve business operations for post lockdown.

  • If your business is in the retail sector, you may start by restocking the essentials. After the lockdown, many people would likely focus on shopping for the essentials.
  • If yours is a party planning business, now is the time to be innovative. Many people will be aprehensive about large gatherings for months to come. Can you add value to your clients party by creating new sitting arrangements for mass gatherings?
  • Besides, you may introduce new processes that’ll introduce innovation into your business at this time. For example, contact-less food ordering and reservations and delivery where possible.
  • In addition, you need to put extra hygiene measures in place for your business. Many schools are using the lockdown period to fumigate. They are also making plans to ensure that teachers and students come back to a covid-19 free environment.
  • In addition, you need to put extra hygiene measures in place for your business. Many schools are using the lockdown period to fumigate. They are also making plans to ensure that teachers and students come back to a covid-19 free environment.

How to improve customer engagement

  • During lockdown, create an online presence for your business, if you don’t already have one.
  • Spend time to engage with your customers. Communicate the plans you are putting in place in your business to keep them protected.
  • Make them less anxious about contracting Covid-19 as they return to your business. Who knows, you might win a customer or two during the lockdown!