How businesses can stay afloat during corona crisis

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Coronavirus effects. Photo/COURTESY


Global trade has taken a major blow in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the World Trade Organisation, global trade is expected to fall by between 13 per cent and 32 per cent in 2020 as the pandemic disrupts economic activity and life around the world.

While most countries are trying their best to contain the virus, it is unfortunately rapidly spreading which poses a threat to economies as most countries are on a total or partial lockdown. 

According to the biannual Africa’s Pulse World Bank report released in the second week of April, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will decline from 2.4 per cent in 2019 to between 2.1 per cent and 5.1 per cent in 2020, depending on the success of measures taken to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. 

In other words, the report predicts that the region will experience its first recession in 25 years. 

Kenya currently has over 1,300 confirmed Covid-19 cases. With the increase in the cases, the economy continues to suffer.

The rate of imports in the country has gone down and as such businesses continue to suffer.

Statistics by KenTrade’s Single Window System indicate there has been a notable decrease of over 50 per cent in the number of permits applied for importing various commodities during the period between January and April this year as compared to a similar period last year.

Most businesses are dependent on imports.With this kind of downward spiral, it is important to rethink strategy to ensure that businesses stay afloat.  Here are a few tips.

Go local: Flow of goods in the country has gone down due to the import and export challenges and restrictions.

Some businesses solely rely on imported goods from suppliers outside the country.

Due to how hard some countries have been hit by Covid-19; the country has introduced import restrictions such as a ban on the importation of second hand clothes.

As a result, delivery of goods by suppliers has been impaired, made slower and/or their ability to get those supplies to you has been restricted.

In such a scenario, one should consider setting up alternative suppliers, including local suppliers even if more expensive. 

Cut on your spending:  With the current strain in finances, it would be important to make tough decisions for your business.

Saving money is vital to ensure that your business stays afloat. You can do this by working from home or online instead of paying rent for office or work space. 

Go online: With the rise in technology, a lot of things are done online. Invest in the online growth of your business.

Create a website if you do not have one as well as social media pages. Grow your online presence and conduct your business there. 

Work on the kind of content that you present to your audience. Let it be re-assuring, encouraging and enlightening.

Plan ahead: A wise business person plans ahead. If your business revolves around importing and exporting, this is not the time to close shop. 

Rremember that no situation is permanent. Ask yourself where the end of this pandemic will find you. 

KenTrade provides step by step processes on importing and exporting. Take this time to familiarise yourself with all the processes and all requirements to import so as to grow your business. 

Through it all, let us remember that failing to plan is planning to fail. We shall overcome! —The writer is a public relations professional

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