COVID-19 Through The Eyes of Micro and Small Enterprises
Updated: Mar 25
by Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP
Through the eyes of micro and small enterprises, these are the underlying challenges that the Novel Corona Virus, more popularly known as the COVID-19, entails:
Regardless of the industry they are in, micro and small enterprises face these “symptoms” that are critical to their “life” too!
All businesses need cash to pay its expenses, such as salaries, rent, taxes, and utilities. For micro and small businesses, more particularly, startups who are still in their infancy and growth stages, cash is the most critical asset, because this “pre-determined” amount was already set aside as “working capital” or a fund that would last a micro or small enterprise about 3 months or even less. It is uncertain when this pandemic will end, and therefore, cash will definitely be a serious concern for many. Fortunately, banks, finance or lending companies, lessors and agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), have listened to the concerns of business owners and have done their part to assist enterprises and individuals alike.
It has only been a few days since the community quarantine was announced by President Duterte and micro and small businesses were put to a test. Apart from having to think about their families, each enterprise had to face its own type of problems, the most common operational issues involving staff-related concerns, rescheduling of operations, cancellations of events and even temporary closure.
Some enterprises have already been accustomed to “flexible work arrangements” whereas others are still adjusting to this type of setup. As for providers of “necessities” such as food and logistics, their health and safety are of highest concern to their employers.
In times like this, micro and small entrepreneurs, are susceptible to psychological or mental harm. They may feel demotivated and there may even be instances when they would question on whether it is still worth pushing through or simply giving up on what was once a “dream.”
Whereas cash flow is important for micro and small enterprises to pay for their operational expenses, income may be defined as the excess of revenues or sales over expenses, also known as “gross” profit or income. Further, once all expenses are deducted, the final amount of profit or loss is called the “net” income. This is one of the important metrics that startups must monitor, most especially if investors and shareholders are involved.
Indeed, shortened hours, temporary closure and cancellation of operations automatically result in less to no sales or revenues, that would definitely not be enough to sustain expenses and therefore, result in net losses.
As seen in other more developed countries, this pandemic has also challenged the country’s top-most authorities as they adjusted or refined the appropriate risk measures to “control” the spread of the disease. More so, micro and small enterprises are left with uncertainties and difficulties when it comes to deciding on various aspects of management.
Now the question is, HOW can micro and small entrepreneurs maintain resilience during this crisis? STAY HOME!
Trust in Him
Yearn for knowledge
Organize your thoughts
Thanks to social media, it is definitely okay to seek help by joining social media groups that already initiated programs to provide various types of support ranging from mentorship to finance.
Trust in Him
Entrepreneurs must never forget to pray and trust in the Lord. Crises changes us more into the image of Christ because we are driven to more dependence upon Him as we could do nothing without Him (John 15:5).
As an entrepreneur, it is innate to adapt to uncertainties or changes in the environment. Crises are definitely one of the changes that they must adapt to. Some entrepreneurs see a crisis as an “opportunity” for them to innovate and start new businesses. As for Jack Nadel, author of the award-winning book entitled “The Evolution of an Entrepreneur,” he said, I would offer one caveat for every new entrepreneur: even more so than in the past, good timing is critical and preparedness is key.
Yearn for knowledge
Entrepreneurs must yearn for continuous learning and make the most out of the online forums that successful businessmen have created. These will serve as their guidance towards the right path.
A good network is always key in business. Being “alone” does not exist in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary. Therefore, if an entrepreneur has received help, it follows that in due time, that same entrepreneur should also “pay it forward.”
Organize your thoughts
Entrepreneurs must make the most of the quarantine period as a time to reflect on the current situation and make some adjustments to their business model, for it to become more resilient.
Entrepreneurs must keep themselves motivated by remaining positive. This is essential in the workplace, even if what the entrepreneur has for now, is a temporary “online” workplace. Each entrepreneur’s leadership style and culture sets the “stage” during these trying times.
Entrepreneurs must never forget that without their employees, their enterprises will not prosper. Human capital is a source of competitive advantage in today’s age. Admittedly, it is difficult to deal with so many business-related and even government compliance issues at this point. By merely showing genuine acts of kindness and lending an ear to each member of the workforce, the entrepreneur is already starting to build long-lasting relationships.
Now is also a good time to kindle relationships with customers, by empathizing with them. Setting up scheduled chats or online meetings, creating more payment options (e.g. PayPal) and asking how to better support them are good starting points. For enterprises providing services such as delivery of food, remember to do so without compromise (i.e. no-contact deliveries).
THERE IS HOPE!
Amidst an increase in the number of positive cases and death tolls, there is definitely hope for micro and small enterprises. Large businesses have already supported the government by providing supplies and funding. Fellow small and medium entrepreneurs and even social enterprises have committed to help solve this “war” or economic downturn.
Entrepreneurs will recover the COVID. They just need to STAY HOME.
About the writer:
Dorelene V. Dimaunahan, MScM, CFE, CMA, CHRP has been handling various business portfolios for 12 years, some of which she is a Director of and has held an Executive Position. She is also an author, a host/anchor and a faculty member of Ateneo De Manila University (John Gokongwei School of Management - Leadership and Strategy), De La Salle University (College of Business - Decision Sciences and Innovation Department), University of Asia and the Pacific School of Management (School of Management) and Center for Culinary Arts.
As a consultant and mentor, Dorelene specializes in various entrepreneurship and management areas for small and medium-scale enterprises and social enterprises, such as but not limited to, business startup, setup and expansion, strategic planning, internal audit, and corporate governance, franchise management, organizational development, events/project/portfolio management, contract negotiations, human resources development, management accounting and financial analysis, market research, paralegal and government compliance work, systems documentation and process improvement, to name a few.