Imagine having a small venture that sells food to students, a music production company that records music for upcoming artists, or even a craft business that sells creative jewelry. Imagine having a business that requires constant physical interaction with customers.
How do you maintain relations with the people you serve during these uncertain times of COVID-19? How do you remain productive?
The truth is, this pandemic has taken many young entrepreneurs by surprise. It has left them in a great deal of uncertainty, and a high risk to become unproductive. However, it has also pushed them to find innovative ways to sustain their relations with the customers, remain productive at most, and maintain their revenue streams.
We’ve reached out to some of ALU’s young entrepreneurs and asked them to give us some tips on how to survive during this time of uncertainty and quarantine, and how to remain productive as a small enterprise. Here is what they had to say.
Wanjiru Kibera. Wanji K Arts Founder.
Wanjiru Kibera is the founder of Wanji K Arts, a crafts and arts company where she creates different art pieces. This is her piece of advice.
During these crisis times, there are three main ways in which I remain productive and sustain my business:
- Constantly updating my social media pages
Not being able to physically interact with my customers, I have to be creative with my social media and reassure them that the brand they love and support is still very active. One of the ways I do this is by posting new products and showing them that there’s plenty of stock available.
- Maintain productivity by improving skills
I am a craftswoman, and that is the foundation of my business. I watch tutorials online and consistently practice by creating new art and jewelry at home (if you haven’t done so, stock up on all you need for practice!).
- Learning from other entrepreneurs
This is the perfect time to learn from other entrepreneurs and improve your entrepreneurship skills. I read articles and blogs, listen to podcasts, and enroll in free online courses to improve my entrepreneurship skills. Some pretty cool courses and podcasts you can check out are the ALU Venture course, where you get to learn from other entrepreneurs, and the newly released ALU Podcast episode on entrepreneurship, featuring Emeka Obia.
Nnadozie Ebere, TORI Branding Co-Founder and Digital Artist.
Nnadozie Ebere is the co-founder and digital artist of TORi Branding. As the name suggests, they are into the business of branding. Hear Nnadozie’s piece of wisdom below.
The pandemic impacted many of our on-ground projects, and certainly halted some we wanted to kick-off. However, we are able to carry out some of our projects online and here is how we have managed to sustain the business:
- Migrating online
If you have access to the internet right now, it will be your best friend! Our team migrated all operations and communications to the digital space, by using different apps and tools. The most convenient for our team at the moment is definitely Google Suite. We can reach our clients easily, connect with them on Meet, and continue to share information on Drive. There are many other platforms and tools available for businesses to continue running online, you just need to do some research!
- Keeping the team motivated
These unprecedented times can leave your team uncertain and uneasy about future outcomes awaiting the business. It is important to keep checking on them, understand their needs and reassure their future. Applications like Slack, or even WhatsApp, can help you do a temperature check with your team.
- Tirelessly conducting research
To be blatantly honest, nobody knows when we will go back to what our lives were before this pandemic. It is therefore very important to continuously explore alternative product options that will continue adding value to your clients.
- Keep track of deliverables
It is easy to lose track of what needs to be done when team members are not together. Having digital mechanisms to do this is a plus for your business. You can look into tools like Google Keep or dashboards like Airtable to help you keep track of the deliverables and who is accountable for them.
- Reassuring Clients
Your team might be worried, and so are your clients. It is important to communicate every change with them. And who knows, they might even give you other creative ways that will sustain the company-client relations.
Ayo-Fisher Oluwpamilerin. WAZOBYA Chops Founder.
Ayo-Fisher Oluwpamilerin founded WAZOBYA Chops after identifying a need for affordable food on the ALU Rwanda campus. He also has some tips to share with us.
During these uncertain times, I’ve had to get creative on how to remain productive. Here are some tips on what am I doing:
- Retrospective analysis
This time of isolation is a great opportunity for businesses to do housekeeping- looking at all the things that have done right, as well as the ones that can be improved (especially these ones!). That’s what my team and I have been up to. We’ve been reviewing all the decisions we’ve taken and what their impact has been on our operations. This process is helping us.
- Updating our menu
If you are not getting creative with your product at this point when you essentially have more time to be, then you are definitely missing out on a crucial opportunity. Our team is trying out new recipes and meals, and ultimately improving the current menu. Get creative!
- Planning for the upcoming term
With new students coming into the ALU space next semester, the number of potential customers will increase; these are numbers that we have to plan for. We will be using this time to estimate our costs, and assessing our capacity as a team.
Continue to hear from other entrepreneurs
We hope you found these tips valuable and applicable to your own business. This is a good opportunity to invest some time and creativity into your enterprise. Find more information on businesses by hearing from other entrepreneurs on ALU Venture or the ALU Podcast.