When we started Merchant Capital seven years ago, our approach was based on our own experiences of being entrepreneurs in South Africa. We knew the enormity of the funding challenges that small businesses face. And so, our founding principle became that we would support small business in good times and bad.
It’s safe to say that the challenges the South African small business sector currently face are of epic proportions. While the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic remains unclear, we are all in uncharted territory. Together, we must remain committed to our customers and partners, and more than ever, provide a support system to vulnerable businesses.
This week, while the country began to come to grips with what our reality will look like for the next 21 days and beyond, I experienced my most challenging day since founding Merchant Capital. But as my partners and I grappled with the implications of the lockdown for our business, our staff, our clients and the country as a whole, we came to a realisation: when times are tough, you need to fall back on your founding principles and core values.
We will live our core values of being considerate and promoting win-win situations.
Consequently, we have decided to institute a 21-day payment holiday to the majority of our client base, which includes many thousands of small businesses. For the duration of the lockdown, we will process no repayments for these clients.
It’s a decision that has massive implications for our business. But we believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is the right decision. For our clients. For our business. For the entire country.
My question to you today, as an individual or as a business owner, is this: what lies at the core of your decision-making? And how are you using that to guide you during these unprecedented times?
Stay safe and healthy.