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In the past few weeks, the panic triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has forced down sales for many businesses and caused others to panic about the future. It’s already been a tough time for many business people.  

Now, there’s the prospect of not even having work to do—at least for a while. As partial and full-scale lockdowns are enforced across Nigeria, many fear that their businesses won’t be able to survive an extended closure.

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If you’re like most small business entrepreneurs, then you’ll also be concerned.

How do you get through these times?

There’s probably no one-size-fits-all approach to this. That’s because not everyone’s business is in the same state. You may have enough to get right back to business after a curfew lasting several weeks. Or your enterprise may already be close to failing.

Here, we share a few things you could do, starting today, to improve your position.

1. Use the Remote Work Model

If you and your staff can work from your homes, you should pivot to a remote working model. This will allow you to keep your business going even when there are restrictions on movement and business. 

2. Implement Safety Measures

If your business falls within a category exempted from a government-enforced shutdown, you can ensure that your location observes social distancing and hygiene rules as advised by health professionals.

3. Draw On Your Reserves

If you have saved up for the ‘rainy day’, this may be the time to reach into them. You may do this if it’ll keep your business afloat or enable you to get through this period. Admittedly, not everyone has such a resource pool to turn to. The point could be relevant to this issue.

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4. Ask Friends and Family for Help

Perhaps there are people within your circle of friends or some of your relatives who could help with funding and material resources to keep you and your business going.  Reach out to those networks, and see if there’s help available from them.

5. Be On the Lookout for Aid Directed at Small Businesses

Understandably, we would be pessimistic about any aid reaching small businesses from ‘official quarters’ at this time. But it’s not a bad idea to watch out for one nonetheless. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, there could be more funding and assistance on offer for companies and smaller enterprises affected by it.

6. Learn New Skills

If you have more time on your hands, you could take a few online courses to help you improve your business skills. Some of these courses are free and come with certification. You can find a good number of them in the following articles:

7. Keep In Touch With Contacts

Don’t forget to stay in touch with your clients and partners.  They may be grappling with uncertainty just like you. Email them, or give them a call. Let them know that you’re interested in their general wellbeing as much as you value your business relationship with them. This could keep your business at the top of their minds, and ensure that they continue as your customers and partners even after the current situation ends.

8. Look to the Future

The effects of the current disruption are as much a mental affair as they are physical, so you should tackle them on both fronts.  You are more likely to get through the current period if you’re hopeful for the future than if you are not.  

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This article was first published on 31st March 2020


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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