I had a live session on Instagram yesterday. I covered Capacity Building essentials during COVID-19 as it relates to students, career and business. I got numerous feedback on how insightful the session was, hence the decision to write this short piece. For the purpose of this post, I would give excerpts on the Business segment with a focus on small businesses and startups. The acronym BUSINESS summarizes the major insights from the session.

B – BASELINE: Reach out to your existing loyal customers and clientele base. Feel their pulse. Ask them for referrals and offer rewards for such. Its time to dig deeper to go wider.

U – UNDERSTAND: Understand your present market and the implication of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Reach out strategically to know what problems your present clients are facing and adapt to context. Don’t get stuck in your old modus operandi.

S-SURVIVE: It’s time to think for now and plan survival strategies. Only the living can have a better tomorrow. If your business cannot survive the next 1-3 months, planning for long-term is useless.

I-INVESTIGATE: Research for new opportunities available. GE for instance is venturing into ventilator manufacturing. Makes sense to me! Who ‘really’ cares about Solar Panels and the sorts right now when lives are more dependent on the basic need of ventilators? Research into free cushion funds such as grants from public and private organizations and tap into them to stay afloat. Join online webinars around your sector of interest and stimulate your mind with an atmosphere of critical thinking.

N – NO EXCESSIVE SPENDING: Cut expenses by all means and save up cash. If you have to make salaries cut, start with yourself (as the CEO) and be humble enough to explain the situation to your employees. Make it a “us against the pandemic situation” and not “me against You”. Reduce sales and marketing budget with no clear-cut ROI.

E- EXPECT STALLED PAYMENTS: Be smart enough to know people are spending less now due to an incoming recession. Be flexible enough to have installmental payments rather than advance payments for good or services.

S – STRATEGIZE: Go back to the drawing table and re-validate your business idea and model. Plan for at least 6 months Post COVID-19 survival. Lifting up lockdowns across cities and countries does not automatically equate to a rolling economy.

S- STAY WOKE: Understand that this is just a season. COVID-19 will pass away because no season last forever. Some companies will shut down; jobs will be lost. Nevertheless, new opportunities will emerge. History has it that more than half of Fortune 500 companies at some point were founded during recession. So, its not all gloomy, greater things are ahead.

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