How entrepreneurs can rebuild stronger businesses post covid-19

BY: Andrews Ayiku
Andrews Ayiku, Lecturer, University of Professional Studies, Accra
Andrews Ayiku, Lecturer, University of Professional Studies, Accra

Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic on both the supply and demand sides.

On the supply side for instance, many SMEs have experienced a reduction in the supply of labour, especially for women who need to look after children or other dependants while schools are closed and some lifting of restrictions on people movement despite.  

Some major supply channels and distribution networks have been interrupted leading to shortages of parts and intermediate goods.

SMEs are further experiencing a dramatic and sudden loss of demand and revenue which affects their ability to function, especially with relation to cash shortage.
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Most consumers are experiencing loss of income which in turn reduces their spending and consumption. Some sectors such as tourism, transportation, food and education are particularly affected, thereby contributing to reduced business and consumer confidence.

Many businesses have had to rethink and strategise on the way they operate and only a few were prepared for the magnitude of the pandemic. How does one even know where to begin? Here are some few tips to support entrepreneurs on how to build a stronger business post COVID-19.

Evaluate your Financial Plan: SMEs need a new approach to financial planning and performance management that informs rapid realignment of plans and actions and ensures organizational resilience.

Financial planning under this unprecedented pandemic requires a new, systematic approach, that will allow the entrepreneur to quickly adopt to options emerging as a result of the coronavirus. Financial goals and objectives made before COVID-19 need to be altered in light of ongoing pandemic that has caused havoc to individual’s businesses, savings and financial planning efforts.

I will advise every business to consider a new financial plan and determine where money is being allocated, determine their current financial situation by identifying various factors that may affect their plan and objectives. Financial planning under this unprecedented pandemic requires a new, systematic approach, that will allow the entrepreneur to quickly adopt to options emerging as a result of the coronavirus.

Diversify Your Marketing Strategy: How can entrepreneurs adjust their marketing strategy accordingly as the crisis has led to radical shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours. Many SMEs hit the hardest by COVID-19 were multichannel approach focused and is important to create a diverse marketing mix of at least four sources.

SMEs should never depend on one marketing source for more than 25 percent of their business leads. It is important to reach out to niche influencers and adopt a referrals strategy.

Businesses must ensure they change their tone of messaging and include good content that alleviates anxiety and closely observe your target market social media conversation, e-commerce pages and adapt your messaging accordingly.

Define your marketing communication strategy and action plans and generate leads using the best content and customer journeys. Entrepreneurs should ensure that they develop both online and offline conversion to the sale and improve loyalty through constant customer communication.

Review your business model based on the COVID-19 data: Entrepreneurs need to be predictive and proactive in their decision-making especially if they wish to maintain business continuity and build a sustainable and resilient enterprise.

It is important to note that the strategic decisions that are currently being made at the governmental levels will influence your external environment and how you operate in the future. Recovering from the pandemic crisis will take some time and businesses must ensure they don’t compromise on productivity. Entrepreneurs must eliminate distractions and do whatever it takes to survive in the pandemic.

Review your Current Infrastructure: Every entrepreneur must start reviewing their business processes, human resources, operational tools, product and service quality. You need to especially adjust your business touch points or delivery process, adjust to a remote workforce to cut costs or limit or change product or service line based on availability.

As the economy is currently being opened up and things are getting back to normal, businesses need to recalibrate to their new environment. It is important to assume some of the changes that were initiated by COVID-19 may end up being permanent.

The writer is a lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra
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