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Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Simple ways to keep your business running

Both the public and private sectors are scrambling to slow the spread of the illness and contain COVID-19 infection, as it is spreading rapidly.

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Remdesivir, new covid-19 strain

Coronavirus is beginning to shake up businesses and consumer behaviour on a massive scale. Both the public and private sectors are scrambling to slow the spread of the illness and contain COVID-19 infection, as it is spreading rapidly, with updates flying in every minute.

Depending on the industry you are in, some losses are unavoidable, but for many entrepreneurs, it is about minimizing your losses and finding ways to capitalize on opportunities. No longer is it business as usual. People’s routines and lives have been greatly impacted.

What does this mean for you and your business? It means that unless you re-examine your marketing strategy, your ability to grow and expand your business is under siege.

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As the situation evolves, many small business owners are unsure of what steps to take to mitigate risk, protect employees and support customers. Here are the recommended tips that small business owners can take to accomplish all of those, and still make sales during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Establish a remote work option

Implement a remote work policy that covers when you expect your team to be online or available, how to communicate (via email, Slack, or video call, for instance), and what deliverables each team member is responsible for completing.

[READ MORE: Atiku Abubakar’s son tests positive to coronavirus)

Reduce meetings and travel

Try to keep opportunities for exposure to the virus to a minimum. Postpone team meetings or hold them virtually. Skip conferences or other planned business trips.

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Communicate transparently with your customers

Everyone is facing this crisis together, so be transparent about what your business is going through. Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly.

As Harvard Business Review reports, “When customers are separated from the work that’s being done behind the scenes to serve them, they appreciate the service less and then they value the service less.”

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Describe the steps you’re taking to mitigate risk and give them insight into the steps you are taking to help the community. Keep your employees and your customers safe by being as proactive as possible about cleanliness.

Shift your sales strategy to online

As storefronts are shutting their doors and workers stay in place, savvy business owners should shift their sales strategies to avoid heavy losses. If you are closing your store, find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck by selling on social media, putting your email list to good use or using a video tool to reach new leads.

If your sales previously relied on brick and mortar stores, face-to-face meetings, tradeshows or events, it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy. As cities lockdown and people are forced into isolation, one of their best friends becomes the internet.

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This is your chance to move your digital communication to the next level! People will be seeking updates, answers, and ways to improve their personal and professional lives. If your business has a solid digital marketing strategy, you are in a better position to weather this storm.

READ MORE: COVID-19: MTN Nigeria outlines new measures, staff to work from home

Important questions to ask when it comes to reaching your buyers online

  • Does your business have a reputable online presence and an intuitive and easy-to-use online interface?
  • Have you implemented a Pay per Click (PPC) online advertising campaign to pull in buyers searching for your services?
  • Do you have a social media campaign that engages with your potential customers?
  • Are your website and content optimized for search engines when clients are browsing and researching online?
  • Is your website delivering a superior user experience – making it easy to navigate, explaining your value proposition and how to buy your products and services?

If you have not invested in an Omnichannel digital marketing strategy, with consistently aligned messaging and customer experiences across channels and platforms, it’s not too late to start. If you are already invested in an online presence, consider devoting even more resources to this critically important area.

How to identify, implement and optimize new sales channels

With social distancing being the preventative measure to contain the crisis, investing or reallocating resources to different sales channels may be the opportunity you have overlooked, until now.

[READ ALSO: Coronavirus: FirstBank deploys measures to protect employees, customers and other stakeholders)

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Six ideas to help you sell more effectively in the digital world

  • Build e-commerce functionality on your site so customers can order your goods and services directly.
  • Make sure you offer quick, inexpensive delivery to online shoppers’ homes or businesses.
  • Add functionality to your website so users can easily book virtual appointments.
  • Offer webinars in place of face-to-face presentations.
  • Implement an online chat tool so online buyers and browsers have a way to get their questions quickly answered.
  • Post a comprehensive online FAQ on your site, with strong search functionality

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Business News

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 13th of April 2021, 74 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

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Covid 19 update symptops

The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 163,911 confirmed cases.

On the 13th of April 2021, 74 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria.

To date, 163,911 cases have been confirmed, 154,225 cases have been discharged and 2,061 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

A total of 1.8 million tests have been carried out as of April 13th, 2021 compared to 1.7 million tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 13th April 2021,

  • Total Number of Cases – 163,837
  • Total Number Discharged – 154,225
  • Total Deaths – 2,061
  • Total Tests Carried out – 1,838,174

According to the NCDC, the 74 new cases were reported from 9 states- Lagos (30), Enugu (11), Abuja (11), Akwa Ibom (8), Osun (5), Kaduna (4), Ebonyi (2), Rivers (2), and Ekiti (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 58,014, followed by Abuja (19,727), Plateau (9,041), Kaduna (8,994), Rivers (7,001), Oyo (6,838), Edo (4,893), Ogun (4,624), Kano (3,930), Ondo (3,226), Kwara (3,120), Delta (2,617), Osun (2,553), Nasarawa (2,378), Enugu (2,259), Katsina (2,097), Gombe (2,034), Ebonyi (2,017), Anambra (1,909), Akwa Ibom (1,810), and Abia (1,683).

Imo State has recorded 1,655 cases, Bauchi (1,540), Borno (1,337), Benue (1,188), Adamawa (1,051), Niger (930), Taraba (910), Bayelsa (878), Ekiti (868), Sokoto (775), Jigawa (527), Kebbi (450), Cross River (385), Yobe (365), Zamfara (234), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

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On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.

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Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.

On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

On 28th February 2021, the federal government confirmed that the first tranche of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021.

On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVX Astrazeneca/Oxford covid-19 vaccines.

On Saturday, 6th March 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo received vaccination against the covid-19 as the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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Business

Lagos eases restrictions on social, event centres, sets new occupancy limit

The state government has pegged the occupancy limit for event centres in Lagos to 500 people while social events can now have 200 people at a time.

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The Lagos state government has further eased restrictions on social and event centres in the state. This follows due consultations and deliberations between the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanow-Olu, and relevant stakeholders and MDAs.

The state government has pegged the occupancy limit for event centres in Lagos to 500 people while social events can now have 200 people at a time.

This disclosure is contained in a statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Yusuff, and the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola, on Friday, April 9, 2021.

The statement noted that safety marshals will be deployed to any social event with over 200 people and event centre exceeding the 500 limits.

READ: Lagos Govt seals Queens Park Event Centre, Oniru for contravening COVID-19 protocol

The statement partly reads, “All event centres must hold a valid license of The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event centre in the State.

“All event centres must be duly registered and verified on The Lagos State Safety Commission website www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding any event.

An Event Safety Clearance must be obtained from the Lagos State Safety Commission through the website www.lasgsafetyreg.com for any proposed event or exhibition.

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Safety Marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.

READ: Lagos state government reacts to reopening of event centers, clarify guidelines

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Occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50% of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein Occupancy Limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly posted at the entrance of the event hall.

Maximum allowable capacity for event centres irrespective of the occupancy limit is 500 people. Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event. Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be 6 (six) people on a table of 10 persons.

Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of 6-hours. All guests and service providers at the facility must wear a nose mask and make use of hand sanitisers All guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or in the alternative use hand sanitisers. Temperature checks must be taken at all entry points into a facility.

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Guests and service providers with temperature (above 37.5) are to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on the ground. Hand sanitizers must be positioned at the entry points and different spots within the hall.

All event centres must endeavour to display standard COVID-19 safety signs. The signs must be bold and installed at conspicuous locations. Event centre owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff.

In case you missed it

  • It can be recalled that in July 2020, the Lagos State Government had issued fresh guidelines on the reopening of event and social centres following their shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The state government insisted that the owners of such facilities must register with the government pending further directives.

 

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