What Business Opportunities are Being Created by COVID-19??

As much as there has been so much hype on the negative implications and damage to be caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic, the story that we need to start telling more, is about the positive impact.  There must be outcomes and opportunities that the same presents to the global business environment.

The boom in business for videoconferencing apps and tools such as Zoom, and Skype, has been evident and making news headlines recently. Since the South African government lifted the lock-down restrictions, allowing restaurants to operate on delivery-only, some restaurants that were not using national or international delivery operators, have joined the ride. This should, in the long run, contribute to their business growth because of all of us couch potatoes, who love to order in – especially with the winter hibernation coming!

There is also a new increase in online activity in the education sector as well as online social media environment.  LinkedIn has reported a rise in engagement including connections, sign-ups and group creations.

Catalyst for Growth has been running a survey to understand the impact of the pandemic and the national lockdown(s) on SMMEs. The results are revealing that about 70% of the surveyed businesses at the time of this article, still see themselves surviving. They do, however, envisage moderate to minimal change in how they run their businesses. The bulk of the sectors reflected in the survey, are Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, Information and communication and professional, scientific, and technical. A large part of these hopeful businesses is those offering personal or more nuanced services. Most of these businesses see the need to reduce staffing or change business models/product offerings. The communications group have a unique opportunity to strongly develop their digital offering and capacity, which should have been in their plans already since the world is already so digital.

The business development support (BDS) community appears to be one of the smaller groups of survivors.  BDS will certainly need to review their approach to programme delivery. This will not be an easy task, considering the need for very direct and nuanced engagement with business owners.

With every major changing tide, the opportunity to sell books on the theme of the hour will always be a relevant and possibly lucrative one.  It may be a good investment to read up on how to help your business survive. One recent, FREE and highly relevant publication is the new e-book titled “The Small Business Survival guide to COVID-19” by Marnus Broodryk. This book was written with the help of over 27,000 other small businesses. A good one to review and hopefully, if there’s value, share with other small businesses.

We certainly need to be true to the South African culture of pulling together in difficult times!

Nomsa Langa, C4G

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