Lockdown is less than 36 hours away, but there is still time to get some last-minute contingency plans in place. We know you are under pressure – so no lengthy introductory paragraph here!  These are our top four tips for preparing for lockdown and fighting the good fight:

1. Be open with your staff and suppliers

This is no time to hoodwink the people your business needs most. Take an honest approach and help your people by letting them know upfront where they stand. If need be, it is better that staff take an immediate pay cut, but have jobs to return to post-shutdown. Investigate local relief services and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) where staff can claim for financial support if their employer has to suddenly reduce work hours. This is this type of thing that can save jobs in the long term. Once you are familiar with these terms – send your staff all the relevant information so they have something to hold onto. It’s also important to get in touch with landlords and creditors. Communicate which payments may well be late and try to make arrangements with them beforehand. The last thing you want to do is default without warning.

2. Decide on a clear communication strategy

It is essential that the entire company are clear on how they are going to be communicating with each other during lockdown. Ensure Wifi connections are in place, and online meeting platforms have been set up. There are several platforms like Zoom, Skype or Slack which accommodate online meeting spaces and are user-friendly. WhatsApp groups are also a great way to stay in touch. Also, consider how you are going to communicate with your suppliers. The above platforms may well work for this too. Where possible do video conferencing (as opposed to just voice) to add a personal edge to the interaction.

3. Get your house in order

There are also some practical things that need to be put in place. Firstly ensure your banking has been done or is set up and automated. Ensure that when you close shop that you have switched off gas, water and electricity. Set your alarm system to safeguard security and insurance requirements. Finally make sure you have your own dedicated remote working space. And if you need some encouragement and support, AMI offers a free “virtual business survival boot camp” webinar to help with tasks like risk forecasting.

4. Start alternative income plans

There is no need to commit to these right now, but it is vitally important that you are already thinking in this direction. Ask yourself, what are the alternative revenue streams you can begin to generate? If you are a chef, can you offer online cooking classes? If you are a therapist, can you do virtual consulting? If you have the best customer service in your industry, can you do online training courses?  The main thing here is to figure out what is unique to your business and then consider ways to capitalise on this, over this period.  

The bottom line

The country is on lockdown, not shut down! Meaning that now is the time for you to draw on that entrepreneurial spirit and think differently. You can do this. And if you need any advice on cashflow stimulation in your business, get in touch with Merchant Capital today.


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