SMEs in crisis: survival tips

Even before the pandemic broke out, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been considered a disadvantaged sector.  They are typically undermanned, with no or very few specialized staff.  They are usually short of capital and lack  a voice with which to bargain with suppliers and government.

Small wonder  that they are the first to fall when the viral menace hit economies everywhere. A few months into the pandemic, many small firms have shut down.   More laid off some of their staff to maintain only a skeletal crew.  Most report difficulties in keeping up with rental, payroll and loan mortgage obligations.

SMES are, on the other hand, top of the mind among support institutions and even among large-scale enterprise imbued with a big=brother mindset.

Biz came out with an article where Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig provides pointers to  ride out the difficult times.

1, Manage cash flow – It is of foremost importance to be liquid.  Liquidity can be achieved by drawing on available facilities, suspending unnecessary investments, and reducing expenses. 

2, Assign your top  people to top-priority roles. Recall your best people from wherever you have assigned them to tackle the top-priority roles of collecting from customers and engaging key clients.

3, Communicate clearly and regularly.  Uncertain times call for leaders who are in constant communication with their people.  Communication must be clear on what the situation is, what the business requires and how this will be achieved. 

4. Manage hands-on.  Leaders must be in touch with customers, financiers, and staff.  They have to collect data on everything –not just big data but particulars like customer stories, market mood, and financial metrics..
5, Be flexible.  Adapt policies to the present situation.  What  worked during normal conditions

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