At 0h00 on the 27th of March 2020 South Africa entered a full lockdown for 21 days. With the exception of essential services, all businesses ceased operating apart from those able to operate remotely.
The economic effects of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect almost every business in South Africa in some way or another. Not all businesses have had the opportunity or means to prepare for the events that have unfolded and it is the small business owners who will suffer the greatest loss. However, the businesses that will survive this crisis will be the ones that use this time efficiently.
The situation is beyond anyone’s control and although not ideal, the time off must be used to ensure that your business hits the ground running, post lockdown.
Here are a few tips for making the most of the lockdown:
Focus on Yourself
Yes, we are talking specifically about businesses but having some ‘me time’ can translate into more efficient and focused work, ultimately benefiting you and your business.
This time is extremely stressful for small businesses, as the future seems uncertain. The constant stress and worry can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. It is important to ‘get away’ (insert witty joke about going away while locked at home) for a bit and clear your mind.
– Exercise: There are a range of workouts available online that don’t require any equipment. Getting active during this time is imperative to keeping physically and mentally healthy. Exercise will allow you to clear your mind, which can translate into more effective work.
– Find a Hobby: Find something that you enjoy doing outside of work but have never had time to pursue – spend time on it now, this will also help clear your mind, reading, sewing, cooking or wood-work to name a few.
– Educate Yourself: There are numerous free and paid courses available online, covering a wide spectrum of subjects. You suddenly have time to learn new skills, which under normal circumstances you wouldn’t have the time to do. It is a bonus if you can implement these skills directly or indirectly in your business!
Set-up a Workspace
Being confined to a small or large space for such a long period of time comes with many distractions, which really impact on productivity. Creating a separate workspace within your home can help combat this. By having a place designated for work, your mind will make the shift from home to work, almost creating the same effect as going into the office, this will allow you to focus specifically on work. Try and ensure that this workspace is free from all home distractions.
Bonus tip: You may find that changing into clothing that you would leave the house in also aids in flipping the switch that you are now in ‘working-mode’. Now we aren’t saying sit-down to work in a suit and tie, but the more you develop a home routine similar to work, the more productive you will find yourself.
Set Tasks and Goals
Setting yourself a list of daily tasks and goals can aid in helping you stay focused and getting things done. Setting goals are an easy way to ensure that you utilise your time efficiently and when you complete a series of tasks, why not reward yourself? … classic carrot and stick!
Keep in Contact and Let your Clients Know You’re Working
We are all facing uncertainty, let your clients know that you’re with them in this.
Keep in contact with clients and lay as much groundwork as possible, so that once you are able to start operating again, there are no delays.
Take the opportunity to deeply understand how your client’s needs have changed as a result of the lockdown, and you may find that you can add value to them in some other way.
Research, Develop & Innovate
Everyone has a long list of tasks, problems and challenges that aren’t extremely urgent and have been falling by the wayside with daily pressing tasks taking their place.
You now have extra time to deal with less urgent matters, which still effect the direction your business will take. Over and above these, take this time to be innovative and work out ways to make your business the best it can be, you’re going to want to be at the top of your game once you are back at work.
If your business allows for it, use the time to pivot your offering to suit the current needs of clients. We are not saying you must change your business model, but you may need to adapt to the current conditions and explore different ways your business can add value.
All in all, this period will be extremely challenging for the South African SMME community and everything you do to keep your business going, big or small will help. We at GroWise Capital are committed to being there for our clients during these trying times. Together we will emerge from this storm stronger and ready to continue growing South Africa.