Tips for SMEs impacted by the pandemic 

A number of small and medium enterprises which struggled financially due to the impacts of lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic, offer insightful tips to assist fellow SMEs. 

SMEs have offered a number of insightful tips for other SMEs in how to survive during the pandemic

According to a new survey by the South African SME Finance Association (SASFA) only a mere 15% of SMEs with a turnover below R10m per annum had any support provided by the government and the private sector. 

The report further indicated that only 47% of business owners applied for financial relief from the government or financial institutions as many believed that they would not qualify for the funding. Furthermore, within the 47% which applied only 32% were successful. 

Budget Insurance relief fund  

Budget Insurance, a local insurance company established a relief fund for its business insurance customers with an annual turnover of less than R15-million. Those that qualified were given a relief package of R100 000 each along with business mentoring support.

Alex Terblanche, Head of Budget Business Insurance explains the aim of launching the relief fund. 

“Our goal is to help SMEs survive the storm and emerge resilient to enable them to continue creating employment and contributing to South Africa’s economic reset.” 

The fund provided financial assistance to 60 recipients. According to Budget Insurance, the recipients have displayed immense resilience during the pandemic and the impacts of the pandemic. 

In addition, the fund recipients will have access to an exclusive support programme by Enterpriseroom to assist with business acceleration, growth, new opportunities, and sustainability. 

Primrose Bonisiwe Mdingi, owner of Disability Pride and one of the recipients of the Budget Insurance relief fund explains the hard-knock which her business took during the lockdown.  

“On top of a loss in revenue, I incurred more debt as I had to buy costly PPE gear for all my staff. Although I am relieved that I did not have to retrench any of my dedicated staff, they have been affected by pay cuts.”

A second recipient of the financial support, Sifiso Dlamini, owner of Bathathe Photography, explains that the lockdown has been devastating on his business and deeply worrying time. 

“We lost out on so much work – weddings, corporate events, concerts – all were cancelled and the business was not generating a cent. With this funding, we’ll be able to pay our running costs and upgrade our equipment for when everything returns to normal again.”

Tips for SMEs impacted by the pandemic 

The Budget Insurance Relief Fund recipients have the following advice to assist other SMEs dealing with similar struggles:

  • Don’t panic. Remaining calm and rational is the best way forward.
  • Believe. Continue to believe that things will get better, do everything you can to make them get better, and eventually, they will. Just take it one day at a time.
  • Persevere and stay positive. Getting into a negative mindset is not going to help.
  • Choose your allies. One of the most important things, crisis or not, is to choose who you surround yourself with and to make sure that you have the best people on your team.
  • Be brave. Take the bull by the horns and be prepared to make the tough decisions.
  • Protect whatever is left of your business. It’s a very hard time but do not give up. Things will get better; your business will grow again and enable you to employ people again.
  • Don’t wait for the lockdown to end to start working on your ideas, start now – brainstorm, learn more about your business, plan what your next moves are going to be, and always keeping going.
  • Think out of the box and see if there are opportunities to expand your business. Don’t limit yourself and stay strong.
  • Remember that lockdown is temporary, but business growth is forever. This nightmare will end eventually, so keep learning about your business and never stop. Don’t think short term. Try to also see what else you can add to your current business offering.
  • Don’t give up. As entrepreneurs, we have all put in a lot of work into our businesses. It is strenuous but you need to keep at it – for yourself and for those who rely on you.

Read more: Landing an investor in times of uncertainty [Opinion]
Read more: Why now is the ideal time to start your entrepreneurial journey [Opinion] 

Featured image: Alex Terblanche, Head of Budget Business Insurance (Supplied) 



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