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Coronavirus

5 practical things small businesses can do during this pandemic lockdown

This pandemic provides a good opportunity for businesses to do some re-evaluation; ask questions about how to improve efficiency after this blows away.

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Entrepreneur, Multiple businesses, Nigeria partners UAE to boost SMEs , US technology company deploys software to ease business process in Nigeria, Experts outline what SMEs must do to attract funding, investors in 2020 , Simple ways to prioritize customer service for your small business, What was SMEs must do to survive the coronavirus outbreak , What was SMEs must do to survive the coronavirus outbreak, FG rolls out N2.3 trillion survival funds for MSMEs; see criteria 

Notwithstanding the losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic worldwide, I daresay that this is a rare opportunity for businesses. This may be the best time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, making necessary adjustments to strengthen operations, service delivery, and other major aspects that are vital to the growth and stability of any organization.  In this piece, I will share 5 things that businesses across the board can do to bring their operations up to par.

Update Database and Codify Processes

This pandemic provides a good opportunity for businesses to do some re-evaluation; ask questions about how to improve efficiency after this blows away. One way to achieve that is by codifying processes and updating database. It is popular knowledge that information is vital for any business to survive. This means that customers and employees must be up-to-date on the business plans and direction as it changes to meet market demands and different realities. Businesses must take this time to document/update all of the unwritten policies, processes as it involves the business as a whole. Many times, there have been experiences of employees claiming not to be aware of a certain rule that should have guided their decision, so codifying all the information that your employees need to be aware of should be written down somewhere and shared across the board so that everyone is aligned. This would go a long way in helping to improve communication and efficiency in the long run.

Another important part is uploading information databases onto any of the cloud systems.(G-suite, Dropbox, Salesforce, etc) The pandemic has forced many businesses to go digital and having as much of your information saved online is critical so that anyone who needs it can have access at their convenience. Digital transformation is a thing and we need to adjust as soon as possible. The quickest way down for any organization is to lack accurate data on policies, structural adjustment, and customer information which often translates to poor strategy execution when forecasting for the business and its future.

READ ALSO: Google partners Flutterwave to train 5,000 merchants

Build Social Presence 

The use of digital platforms have been on the increase during this period and very rightly. Businesses are trying to gain market share and are competing for audience attention. Beyond ensuring that you have an active online presence, what is key is focusing on the platform that targets your audience. As a small business, you cannot be everywhere because you most likely do not have the resources (finance and manpower), so what is advisable is to “go deep and go wide.” Find out what platform(s) your audience congregate and create high engaging content and begin to build human interaction. The trends of events have shown that there is so much to be gained from active participation on these platforms.

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(READ MORE: Should Ecommerce and Logistic efforts be the exemption to the Nationwide Lockdown? )

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp for Business, Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn,  to mention a few should be taken very seriously because of the large number of users.

5 PRACTICAL THINGS SMALL BUSINESSES CAN DO DURING THIS PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN

If you are yet to set up your platform, you can start off telling your business journey;  challenges and lessons learned. Nothing beats value- relatable content.

The opportunities are endless and it will also afford an entrepreneur or business owner the chance to engage and feel the pulse of its target market/audience which will definitely take the business to the next level.

Rejig or Revamp Branding Materials

Nothing tells the story of a business as much as its brand materials. Beyond the promise and messaging, other elements that make up a brand including the materials. While speaking with some businesses, there were conversations about wanting to update some brading elements but due to busy schedules, these could not happen. Fortunately, or unfortunately, businesses now have some time to work on this so that it reflects the image you want the brand to have. These materials include brand logo, message fonts, colours, design layouts, tagline, color palette, and all the marketing and promotional materials, letterheads, signage, etc. These, as we know amongst other things, will aid in giving your company an appeal in a very attractive way.  With adequate feedback through communication with customers and your team, you can birth something that will keep your target audience glued to your brand.

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(READ MORE: Stanbic IBTC gives update on its business continuity approach amid COVID-19 lockdowns )

Encourage Professional Development

The success of any business lies with its people. As a business owner, it cannot be over-emphasized the importance of professional development for employees. Given the current reality where non-essentials have been forced to work from home or take unpaid leave, businesses should encourage employees to take advantage of this ‘opportunity’ to develop themselves and build in-demand skills. As a CEO or a manager, you want the best people on your team especially coming out of this pandemic. You want people who can hit the ground with ideas to keep the business running.

5 PRACTICAL THINGS SMALL BUSINESSES CAN DO DURING THIS PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN

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READ MORE: CBN warns SMEs not to pay any fee to access its N50 billion stimulus package

As you know, professional development helps employees continue to not only be competent in their profession but also excel in it. It should be an ongoing process that continues throughout an individual’s career.

Actively pursuing professional development ensures that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date. It also allows employees to be more aware of changing trends and directions. With the professional world moving at a faster pace than ever before, not developing oneself will cause one to be left behind as peers expand their knowledge and skills. There is always room for growth and improvement of professional skills. Attending a webinar or live session on social media, and so on, can provide employees with new ways to sharpen skills within their professions. The more knowledge an individual gains of a specific skill set, the more confidence they will have when performing these skills.

There are several webinars- free and paid currently being advertised that your team can sign up for. Select the one that is relevant to them (individually or as a  unit) and encourage everyone to participate. There is no better time than now to drive professional development to sharpen skills. The chances of having a positive impact on your output as a business from this period onwards are high.

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(READ MORE: List of things you must accomplish during the Covid-19 lockdown)

Build Thought Leadership

Every business has a story to tell; journey, challenges, learnings, insights, and general experience. If there was ever a time to share that story, it is now.

5 PRACTICAL THINGS SMALL BUSINESSES CAN DO DURING THIS PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN

Procrastination and tight schedules might have restrained many businesses from unleashing the phenomenal content that could turn things around in their fields. Incidentally, this period has also forced a lot of people to stay online and access the necessary knowledge and know-how on various issues of interest. There is no better time to unpack all that knowledge living in your head and share with the world than now. Value is the number 1 magnet in business and thought leadership is arguably the fastest way to give value.

READ ALSO: These easy to overlook challenges are killing SMEs in Nigeria

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Thought leadership is a type of content marketing. It positions you as an expert leader in your field. People look to you for information and ideas because you are able to lead their thoughts. It makes life easy for you as an entrepreneur when you are perceived as a thought leader in your industry. Platforms others pay to get on, you are invited to. Also, access to things others struggle to get becomes easier. For SMEs, especially service-based SMEs, thought leadership is infinitely cheaper than expending resources on core marketing.

Some of the things to settle in your mind before starting out include, what platform is suitable for your subject, following relevant people, and contributing to their conversation. In addition, deciding the format or medium is important. Many are comfortable with writing which can be translated into an ebook. You can decide to give it out for free or charge a token for it. Other formats to consider are podcasts and videos. For podcasts, tools like AudioBoom, anchor, headline.app, etc. will come in handy. While for videos, you can launch a webinar, live session on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube) or record video content, and share on your platform. These are also called digital products.

If you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, potential clients and customers will inherently trust you more and are likely to respond to you more warmly.

This list is inexhaustible but these pointers can guide you to other areas that directly impact your business. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining, the lockdown may just be the silver lining your business had always wished for. I look forward to sharing more tips that will take your business from where it is to where it ought to be.


This article was written by Kelvin Bob-Manuel, a Media and Marketing Communications Specialist at West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE).

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform. To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 9th of August 2020, 437 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 46,577 confirmed cases.

On the 9th of August 2020, 437 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,864 samples across the country.

To date, 46,577 cases have been confirmed, 33,186 cases have been discharged and 945 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 317,496 tests have been carried out as of August 9th, 2020 compared to 314,632 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 9th August 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 46,577
  • Total Number Discharged – 33,186
  • Total Deaths – 945
  • Total Tests Carried out – 317,496

According to the NCDC, the 437 new cases were reported from 17 states- Lagos (107), FCT (91), Plateau (81), Kaduna (32), Ogun (30), Kwara (24), Ebonyi (19), Ekiti (17), Oyo (8), Borno (6), Edo (6), Kano (4), Nasarawa (3), Osun (3), Taraba (3), Gombe (2) and Bauchi (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 15,875, followed by Abuja (4,467), Oyo (2,868), Edo (2,382), Rivers (1,939), Kano (1,626), Kaduna (1,598), Delta (1,596), Plateau (1,502), Ogun (1,469), Ondo (1,284), Enugu (905), Ebonyi (870), Kwara (857), Katsina (746), Borno (688), Abia (644), Gombe (631),  Osun (628), and Bauchi (577).

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Imo State has recorded 476 cases, Benue (409), Nasarawa (370), Bayelsa (346),  Jigawa (322), Akwa Ibom (235), Niger (226), Adamawa (185), Ekiti (178), Sokoto (154), Anambra (142),  Kebbi (90), Zamfara (77), Taraba (72), Cross River (68), Yobe (67), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

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

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.

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.

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

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
August 9, 202046577437945333186124467
August 8, 202046140453942633044121547
August 7, 202045687443936632637121147
August 6, 202045244354930332430118847
August 5, 2020448904579271732165117987
August 4, 2020444333049101431851116727
August 3, 202044129288896820663225707
August 2, 202043841304888520308226457
August 1, 202043537386883420287225677
July 31, 202043151462879119565227077
July 30, 202042689481878519270225417
July 29, 202042208404873519004223317
July 28, 202041804624868818764221727
July 27, 202041180648860218203221177
July 26, 202040532555858217374223007
July 25, 2020399774388561116948221737
July 24, 2020395395918451216559221357
July 23, 2020389486048332016061220547
July 22, 202038344543813815815217167
July 21, 202037801576805415677213197
July 20, 2020372255628011215333210917
July 19, 2020366635567891115105207697
July 18, 202036107653778614938203917
July 17, 202035454600772314633200497
July 16, 202034854595769914292197937
July 15, 202034259643760613999195007
July 14, 2020336164637541013792190707
July 13, 202033153595744413671187387
July 12, 2020325585717401613447183717
July 11, 2020319876647241513103181607
July 10, 2020313235757092012795178197
July 9, 202030748499689512546175137
July 8, 2020302494606841512373171927
July 7, 2020297895036691512108170127
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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Coronavirus

UPDATED: Buruji Kashamu dies, bows to COVID-19

Kashamu’s demise was announced by a former lawmaker-friend and party member on Twitter.

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Senator Esho Jinadu, popularly known as Buruji Kashamu, has died on Saturday.

Buruji, who was a member of the 8th Senate, died of complications from COVID-19 at the First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos.

This was disclosed by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce via his Twitter handle.

READ ALSO: Senate seeks textile importation ban

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Kashamu, 62, served as a Senator representing Ogun-East in the eighth National Assembly under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He joins a list of prominent Nigerians who have succumbed to the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: BOOM: Cryptocurrency holders may lose their $145 million

Former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari and former Governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi, have also passed on from COVID-19 complications.

Kashamu’s family is yet to issue an official statement regarding his death.

 

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Business

Ogun State initiates tax relief scheme to cushion effects of COVID-19

Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages.

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Coronavirus: Ogun State bans cinemas, night clubs, restaurants, other businesses from operating, COVID 19: Ogun State launches digital classes for students

The Ogun State Government has announced that its Internal Revenue Service would launch tax relief packages to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers in the state.

This was announced by the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Saturday morning through a statement that was issued via his official Twitter handle.

Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages which include a 6 month extension of the 2019 income tax returns deadline for self-employed residents from March 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

He also granted an “8-month extension of filling of 2019 annual PAYE returns by PAYE operators/tax agents from January 31, 2020 to September 30, as well as complete waiver of interest and penalty for late filling for the extension period.”

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Other packages include a total waiver of interest and penalties for late remittances of PAYE for the extended period, and a waiver for late payment of Personal Income Tax, which would run from January 1, 2020 to December 31.

Finally, the state granted a waiver on weekly tax payments by operators of betting and pool businesses from April 1 to June 30, 2020.

The Governor said that the state’s Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC) would run its operations through video conferencing to “continue ensuring ease of doing business while maintaining physical distancing.

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