ACCORDING TO a report by McKinsey, analysts are predicting that around 60 percent of SMEs may close before the crisis is over – and that SMEs across South Africa represent more than 98 percent of businesses, employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country's workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector.
There are some businesses, however, that have managed to completely
reinvent their service offerings to ensure sustained trading. One such
example is Empowaworx, a communications and events Management company that
faced a serious challenge when the nationwide lockdown was announced.
“When the lockdown was extended, we realized we would need to think on our
feet in order to sustain the business. In April, we kicked off with Digital
Conversations, speaking each evening to numerous top businesspeople and
ministers. The success of these conversations was overwhelming and allowed
Empowaworx to quickly understand the digital events landscape,” says
Simphiwe Masiza, CEO of Empowaworx.
Speaking primarily to business owners and entrepreneurs in the various
sectors, the Digital Business Conversations took place over the Zoom
platform and were broadcast live across different Empowaworx social media
platforms – such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook – which means the
conversations were available to anyone who wished to listen in.
Agility isn’t a mere buzz word – and it cannot be lip service, either. It’s
the ability to effectively think on your feet, while still keeping true to
your core mission and goals. Shifting gears can be scary and difficult, but
with proper planning and a passionate team behind you, anything is
The world has seen many examples of quick-thinking agility – from
restaurants offering delivery services of not only food, but also basic
groceries, to musicians offering concerts online.
While the pandemic has wreaked financial havoc throughout the world, there
are also positive aspects to how people have responded – especially when it
comes to having a sense of shared experience and a common goal. Truth,
transparency and real action are what people are looking for right now.
Simphiwe says that during this time it is important to communicate with
integrity and in a way that is positive, helpful and promises to make a
real difference to people’s lives.
Speaking about agility, Simphiwe said that businesses need to understand
that 4IR is now – and its vital get on board with technologies that can
move your brand into the future that is now.
Understand what your market wants, needs and can easily access so that your
messaging is placed in the spaces where they are online. He encourages
businesses to plan for the end of this crisis, “Ensure you are one step
ahead and use research and trends to anticipate your next moves that will
take you from here to there post-COVID-19.”
Image (Simphiwe Masiza, CE at Empowaworx).