A practical guide with resources to reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic for your SME

MAIN GOAL

Setting your company up for survival while you work out how to change for the new world.

The world has changed. How you run your business will need to change too.

MY BUSINESS MODEL

The world has changed.
How you run your business will need to change too.

 

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Understand essential and non essential services and what you need to do to trade legally. Operating as an Essential Service company
Work out which parts of your business can be done remotely or online and which cant. Host a planning session with your teams and discuss needs and current capacity
G-Suite by Google  Microsoft 365
Understand what communication channels are working for staff, suppliers and customers. Communication will be everything in operational adjustment mode.

Meet by Google

Microsoft Teams

Zoom

Make sure your customers and the world can find you. Look at your website specifically. Does it describe your company correctly. Are contact details on it. Is it discoverable on Google? How to create your business profile on Google
Make sure your business page is discoverable on at least Facebook and it tells the same story as your website. How to set up your Business Page on Facebook
You will need to understand how resillient your product or service is and most importatnly can customers still use or access your product or service? Reach out to customers and ask. Run your own research.

MY CASHFLOW

Cashflow is everything in this phase. You need to understand very quickly how you are positioned and how long you can last as a business. Pull a bank statement, pull a debtors and creditors age anlysis and redo a budget for your expenses for staff, suppliers and overheads so you can plan around the worse case scenarios for at least 3 months.
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Your bank is the gateway to everything here. Call your bank manager immediately and assess your situation. Not only do they know your business best, but they will have various instruments to help manage cashflow through this time. They will also be key to unlocking payment holiday’s, access to the relevant relief funds and specific qualifying criteria. FNB Payment Holiday
Understand your business interruption insurance Covid19 and Business Interruption – Are you covered?
Review your contracts with suppliers and customers and the terms of payment including landlords, suppliers etc. – make sure to include this in your planning.
Create a new budget for the next 3 months at least including at minimum projections on Sales Vs Staff, overheads, and creditors. 6 Essential Tips for sound Budgeting for Small Businesses
Understand the relief interventions relevent to cash-flow in South Africa.
Key ones are:
– Solidarity fund
– UIF
– Tax breaks :deferred tax relief
– Bank holiday

TERS 

SMME SA Debt Relief Finance Scheme

Payment Holiday for SMMEs banking with Standard Bank

MY STAFF

Your staff need to be guided through this very closely. They also need to be empowered to work remotely or in the new business models or processes. Communication is key.

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Stay engaged, connect with them and set up regular team check-ins

Meet by Google 

Microsoft Teams 

Zoom

Get your company onto Google G-suite or Micrsosoft 365 which both include low badwidth video conferencing thorugh the browser. Google G-Suite
Microsoft 365
Understand what hardware and phones staff have and empower where necessary Free Internet Speed Upgrades
Keep staff up to date on the company, its financial position, and any potential impacts, e.g. retrenchments so they can plan too Have a weekly or monthly check-in to answer any concerns
If you absolutely have to retrench, first consult with your staff to see if they are prepared to work for lower salaries or are willing to take unpaid leave. Now is not the time to take advantage of their vulnerability. If you can find a way to pay good people, don’t make the mistake of letting them go. You may very well wish you hadn’t when this is over. CCMA
It may be a bit quieter than usual, so use this time to upskill your staff through online courses, webinars, or any form of online learning.

Khan Academy

Udemy

Manage expectations on no increases or bonuses early if required.
Employees might need emotional help.
Provide them with support and information.

LifeLine – 0861 322 322

SADAG – 0800 567 567

MY SUPPLIERS

Besides the tips in cashflow. Check with your suppliers whether a product or service business will remain key to your supply chain during and after the lockdown. Relationships will be key. Besides your legal agreements act with compassion and share ideas with your suppliers to cover losses and supply issues together.

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Understand your supply agreements/ SLA’s
Understand your supplier’s business continuity plans
Understand their supply issues and how they plan to deliver over lockdown and recovery Link to essential services once up
Communicate your cash position and ask for payment arrangements that could include:
a.) payment holiday
b.) interest-free facilities
c.) increasing your payment terms to 60,90,120 days.

Standard Bank Personal Loan Relief for SME Owners

FNB Payment Holiday

ABSA COVID-19 Payment Relief Plan

Nedbank Relief Measures

MY CUSTOMERS

Your customer is key to your business longevity. You need to look after them and understand them even better during this phase.

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Contact your clients and understand their current needs in this environment and see if you can offer a new product to meet that need. Create opportunities!
Be flexible on your pricing and what you’ve contracted in the past. Think about what they can afford Excessive Pricing in South Africa in the age of Covid19
Get digital. Make sure they can access your services and your staff and or product easily through digital channels. Create your Business Profile on Google
Now more than ever your customer needs to be at the center of your universe. Treat them as such.
Go Online. “How can I pivot my business model quickly to serving customers online? “ 4 Startups that pivoted their way out of the Covid-19 Crisis
Make sure your staff can service your customers in these new business models. Worried about Productivity and Effectiveness in a Chaotic Covid-19 World
If you are able to, use an online CRM system to manage complex messaging to customers and ensure there is collaboration in your sales teams. Hubspot
Offer customers discounts for advance payments.

GET HELP

We’re in a completely new world. Its good to get help, get onto social forums and ask people in your industry lots of questions. Also reach out to the pro’s .

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Understanding your financial position is key. If you need help with finances look online at Xero or Quickbooks for local partners who can help you with a budget.

Xero

Quickbook

Funding . If you need cash flow, speaking to your bank and financial advisors can help you understand your needs and options a bit better.

FNB 

Standard Bank

Need a mentor?  Find one at through SA Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) SAVCA
Reach out to Enterprise development agencies and or Venture capitalists and Private equity funders who can give guidance on your business model. Edge Growth
10x-E
SA SME Fund
SEDA

AFTER SURVIVING – WHAT NOW?

If you can, stabilise. You need to plan and change your strategy for the future as the world and your market changes.

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After survival: Do research into sustainability for the future. Read and read and search. Things are changing daily. Here is a good set of resources to read in-depth on Covid19 and how it will affect the economy, your business and the world around us. CV19 – Survival Toolkit for Businesses

WITH THANKS TO:

Edge Growth/ 10x Enterprise The 10x. Conculsive survival guide
The Beancounter Marnus COVID survival Guide
BSA Guide Whatsapp guide