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Personal Finance

10 Business mistakes to avoid post-COVID-19

With the emergence of lockdown and social distancing, businesses are now incorporating innovative working arrangements.

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The "new normal" in business and economy

Not only did COVID-19 spread globally, it also stopped all activities in almost every sphere of human endeavour.

Apart from the fact that the pandemic affected many lives, it also brought about a great disruption in the business sector.

SMEs and large enterprises have experienced various forms of contractions, and this has led to business closure for some. Many companies thrived on an existing modus operandi and were not prepared for the impacts of the pandemic. However, with the emergence of lockdown and social distancing, businesses are now incorporating innovative working arrangements like remote working, online services as well as regular variation in shifts.

READ MORE: 3 major ways COVID-19 will affect Banks’ 2020 profits

While the pandemic is still being brought under control, a new order of business operations has been established and going forward, businesses must carefully plan and think out ways to thrive.

While planning on how to navigate the whole situation carefully, it is advisable to take note of certain mistakes that could hinder their progress.

This article provides for you ten (10) mistakes you should avoid making in your business post-COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Rewane outlines sectors to drive economy in 2020 

1. Not having an online presence

The pandemic brought a halt to movement and large gatherings, and this stopped many businesses that existed mainly on physical interactions to stop and pack up. Business owners must learn that it is a huge travesty to plan their strategy without having an online presence; in fact, they would be missing a lot. They must strategically think of going digital and maximize the opportunities that come from interacting with over 4.5 billion people.

2. Limiting the business vision

The pandemic has pushed heads of enterprises to a position of mere survival. Plans and decisions are being made just for the moment without considering the long term existence of the business. Every business started off with a mission, a set of objectives to achieve and needs to meet. Regardless of the economic transition, it is important to hold those goals in mind while constantly seeking ways to attain them.

3. Poor marketing strategy

With the emphasis placed on marketing, especially on digital marketing lately, and the importance it holds for any business, it is not only a mistake for an establishment to limit its marketing strategies but a business taboo as well. Many products and services have emerged during the pandemic which poses competition to already existing providers. It is a necessity to brush up the marketing game in order to gain relevance in the business sector and source for more leads as well.

4. Building on hope

Optimism is good, but planning is better. We are moving into an era of intense technological integration which has influenced various business operations. E-commerce, as well as remote working, has become a norm and businesses will have to move with the flow. There are quite a number of entrepreneurs who are waiting for the tides to calm so they can paddle their boats. The trick is in planning while waiting. It is okay to place one’s bet on hope but mapping out plans for sustenance is more advantageous.

5. Unplanned redundancy

It will seem like the way out for most enterprises to lay off some of their workers in order to survive the disastrous financial situation they may experience. However, one key factor in adopting this strategy is to carefully examine the effect it might have on the growth of the business. Over time, there might be a need to hire new workers which will incur a cost in recruiting and training new employees. Low man-power influences productivity. As such, measures must be put in place to make up for the labour pool that will be cut off.

6. Pouring new wine in old wineskins

Innovation has been on the rise on account of the pandemic. New commercial and industrial techniques are sprouting paving the way for longevity. Holding onto old and familiar methods that are no longer effective could constitute a big mistake for any business. Entrepreneurs and managers have to embrace the reality that comes with post-COVID-19 with a sense of focus.

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7. Ill-suited rigidity

Flexibility is one of the keys to thriving after the transition. Understand that the pandemic has affected the world economically and otherwise. Hence, it is crucial to adapt to the changes by inculcating new plans, being versatile and multifaceted rather than being inappropriately unbending.

8. Neglecting creativity

Neglecting the power of creativity is a costly mistake every business should avoid making. The post-COVID-19 period will be a salient time to be creative and innovative. Establishments should be on the lookout for how to meet the needs of consumers, ways to improve their services in order to stay in vogue. Teachers are resorting to virtual classrooms; traders are integrating e-commerce; companies are investing in work-from-home technology. It is all about creativity.

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READ ALSO: The “new normal” in business and economy

9. Ineffective communication

With much regards given to remote work and other emerging working arrangements, it is important to devise means to ensure effective discharge of duties by members of any business. The ineffective flow of communication can retard the growth of businesses which is one of the mistakes to avert. When workers understand that it takes collective effort to ensure the continuity of the business, it becomes easy for them to efficiently invest their energy.

10. Poor assessment

Disregarding the place of systematic evaluation of the performance of any enterprise is one of the business mistakes to avoid post-COVID-19. There should be a feasible assessment carried out to ascertain where the business stands in terms of labour force, expenditures, cash flow and returns on investment.

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Conclusively, there is no green light as to whether a post-COVID-19 will exist or not. However, as the virus lingers, each business owner must adjust to make sure they do not make the above-mentioned mistakes or other possible business mistakes that may not have been mentioned in this article.

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Personal Finance

5C’s of creditworthiness: What lenders, Investors look for in a business plan

Business owners need to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

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Five things to consider before securing a loan

Banks usually are not a new venture’s sole source of capital because a bank’s return is limited by the interest rate it negotiates, but its risk could be the entire amount of the loan if the new business fails. Once a business is operational and has an established financial track record, banks become a regular source of financing.

For this reason, the small business owner needs to be aware of the criteria lenders and investors use when evaluating the creditworthiness of entrepreneurs seeking financing.

Will the business that an entrepreneur actually creates look exactly like the company described in the business plan? Of course, not.

The real value in preparing a business plan is not so much in the finished document itself but in the process it goes through – a process in which the entrepreneur learns how to compete successfully in the marketplace. In addition, a solid plan is essential to raising the capital needed to start a business; lenders and investors demand it.

Lenders and investors refer to these criteria as the five C’s of credit.

READ: 5 ways to raise funding for your business

1. Capital: A small business must have a stable income base before any lender is willing to grant a loan. Otherwise, the lender would not be making, in effect, a capital investment in the business. Most banks refuse to make loans that are capital investment because the potential for return on the investment is limited strictly on the interest on the loan, and the potential loss would probably exceed the reward. In addition, the most common reasons that banks give for rejecting small business loan applications are undercapitalization or too much debt. Banks expect a small company to have an equity base investment by the owner(s) that will help support the venture during times of financial strain, which are common during the start-up and growth phases of a business. Lenders and investors see capital as a risk-sharing strategy with entrepreneurs.

2. Capacity: A synonym for capital is cash flow. Lenders and investors must be convinced of the firm’s ability to meet its regular financial obligation and to repay loans, and that takes cash. More small businesses fail from lack of cash than from lack of profit. It is possible for a company to be showing a profit and still have no cash – that is, to be bankrupt. Lenders expect small businesses to pass the test of liquidity, especially for short term loans. Potential lenders and investors examine closely a small company’s cash flow position to decide whether it has the capacity necessary to survive until it can sustain itself.

READ: How to scale as a small business on a budget

3. Collateral: Collateral includes any asset an entrepreneur pledges to a lender as security for repayment of a loan. If the company defaults on a loan, the lender has the right to sell the collateral and use the proceeds to satisfy the loan. Typically, banks make much unsecured loans (those not backed up by collateral) to business start-ups. Bankers view the entrepreneurs’ willingness to pledge collateral (personal or business assets) as an indication of their dedication to making the venture a success. A sound business plan can improve a banker’s attitude towards venture.

4. Character: Before extending a loan or making an investment in a small business, lenders and investors must be satisfied with an entrepreneur’s character. The evaluation of character frequently is based on intangible factors such as honesty, integrity, competence, polish, determination, intelligence, and ability. Although the qualities judged are abstract, this evaluation plays a critical role in the decision to put money into a business or not.

READ: 7 Ways to pay for your higher education

5. Conditions: The conditions surrounding a funding request also affects an entrepreneur’s chances of receiving financing. Lenders and investors consider factors relating to a business’ operation such as potential growth in the market, competition, location, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Another important condition influencing the banks is the shape of the overall economy, including interest rate levels, inflation rate, and demand for money. Although these factors are beyond an entrepreneur’s control, they still are an important component in a banker’s decision.

The higher a smaller business scores on the five C’s, the greater its chances of receiving a loan.

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Written by Chukwuma Aguwa

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Personal Finance

Don’t be fooled by COVID-related scams

Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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The nature of and the manifestation of the Covid-19 disease is such that there’s only a little time available to remedy the situation before it gets chronic. Although the infection begins by exhibiting mild symptoms, if you do nothing in a short time, it could lead to death in a matter of days.

This whole picture has caused many to become desperate about Covid-related issues, launching into panic mode at the sight of any information. As a result, such people are not far away from falling for fraudsters.

With the different kinds of news flying around, you mustn’t be fooled by Covid-related scams.

The Coronavirus threatens the health of millions of people around the world daily, also killing thousands along the way. To curb the spread and remedy the situation, bodies like the CDC, WHO, and every country’s local health organisation like the NCDC, frequently circulate information around communities. However, it has also led to fraudsters taking advantage to provide fake news, and even asking for donations.

Each day, there seems to be a new account or NGO asking for donations into the health sector, and though some are legit, many are just fraudsters posing to take advantage of innocent citizens. So far, numerous complaints about scams have been recorded, especially with people who are looking to support the health cause in any way they can.

READ: Africa to spend $9 billion on Covid-19 vaccine, access to supply is big problem

Channels used for COVID-related scams 

There are three major ways scammers take advantage of the haziness of the situation to dupe people. To start with, they appeal to the emotions of humans, who see the high death toll and suffering. As a result of what is happening, people have been willing to donate funds for medical supplies, isolation centres, and financial compensation for medical workers.

Scammers take advantage of this by posing as charity organisations and solicit for funds. Most times, as soon as their target is met, they clear their footprint without leaving a trace behind.

Another way they scam people is by manufacturing and selling fake or low-quality health products. Everyone wants to get their hands on a cure, or something that can at least protect them from the virus, and scammers are meeting their needs by providing just that.

READ: China joins WHO vaccine programme as it fills huge gap left by United States

The World Health Organization currently approves only one vaccine, and any other thing outside it is outrightly fake or just a supplement that will help your body. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is clinically tested and approved to work. Be sure to not throw your money in the wind by purchasing some of these fake drugs around.

Lastly, scammers create systems to extract a patient’s personal information, thereby having access to the person’s true identity. It could be in the simple form of opening a registration portal where you supply all your details.

Therefore, only give information to approved bodies and not any random online site that appears legit. These fraudulent individuals can do a lot of damage to your identity. Stay vigilant, only communicate with approved bodies, and always ask questions if you are not sure or suspect foul play.

The place of electronics in COVID-related scams

These fraudsters usually reach out to you through the digital sphere. Hence, watch out for cold calls, text messages, or emails requesting donations to certain bodies. The best way to confirm the legitimacy of such a message is to visit the organisation’s official website in a different browser. Never follow the link in the mail or text directly, as it can be easily embedded with spyware. Therefore, a single click could see them extract all your personal information, including bank details.

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Also, please stay away from those who claim to have a cure, and accompany it with testimonies of people who have used it. They are low graders desperate for your money. Vet them by searching online and see what people are saying. In all, always look out for suspicious messages, and opt out if you are sceptical.

In a nutshell, you should not believe any cure, vaccine or supplement that the World Health Organization does not approve of.

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Conclusion

The government or legit health institutions do not cold call citizens to request donations or coerce them into making one. If you receive a call out of the blues, chances are it’s a scam, which is why they mostly try to hurry you to donate before you realise it. Always consult the institution in charge of health-related matters to confirm any fishy information you come across.

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