Tips to keep business afloat during lockdown
With SA in lockdown to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, many small business owners and entrepreneurs face an uncertain future.
Pretoria-based entrepreneur Albert van Wyk — who became a self-made millionaire at 22 — says there are ways to keep going, but it’s going to take creativity, hard work and a lot of grit.
“We need to adapt in order to survive,” Van Wyk, now 27, said.
He started a range of small businesses while still a schoolboy, before journeying into property investing, and is now passionate about helping others succeed in the business world.
“We need to stay positive and use our entrepreneurial spirit to think innovatively of ways to keep our businesses running for the people and communities that depend on us,” he said.
His first tip is to create a “remote working environment, using smart tools”.
“There are a number of software tools that are freely available. These include remote management programmes like Trello and Toggle where you can schedule and manage your employees’ tasks, projects and calendars, and keep track of their progress.
“You can use Google Drive or WeTransfer to share files.
“Google Drive also allows your team to work remotely on the same files, which are cloud stored. To communicate with your team, set up WhatsApp groups.
“I use all these tools when I need to be away from my businesses, and they work very well for me.”
Van Wyk’s next tip is to go online.
“Your clients can’t leave their homes, so the only way to reach them is through their computers and phones.
“Artists and other speakers are moving their physical talks and performances to webinars and ‘live-streams’.
“If you have a retail store, convert it to an online shop. Give your clients incentive to use it by giving them a 10% discount on products or to offer free shipping to their doorstep, as soon as you are able to do this.
“You can provide online advice, products, content and services.
“Even if you don’t make a lot of profit, this can still help you to at least break even and survive this pandemic, or perhaps give you more exposure so you can make a strong comeback.”