I gave Premier Alan Winde a good idea.
Those were his words, not mine.
So I thought I’d share it with you guys as well.
I have a standing arrangement with the premier to come onto my radio show every Monday morning to talk about all the latest Covid-19 developments.
Last week I suggested that entrepreneurs use this time to think of ways to change gears at the drop of a hat.
You see, this pandemic is hanging around for a lot longer than anyone imagined.
If nothing else, it has shown the world how ill-prepared we are for anything forcing us to stop our daily routines.
Second to the lives that have been lost, the Coronavirus has devastated the interlinked global economy.
And some scientists believe this is the first of many such global pandemics.
And if it isn’t a virus that brings our economies to its knees, it could well be something else; something familiar, or something we haven’t even heard of before.
And that is where my suggestion struck the premier as worthwhile looking into.
We can’t just have an economic plan that relies on everything running smoothly in ways that we are accustomed to.
We also need an economic back-up plan, for when something as unexpected as Covid-19 happens.
How do we switch gears quickly and nimbly, so that we are not laid low again; forced to stay indoors, or become victims of mass retrenchments or furloughs?
Right now, every country’s economy is a domino that’s part of a precarious arrangement of upright dominoes standing alongside each other; tip one over, and it will lead to all of them eventually toppling.
But if there’s just one that was slightly misaligned and doesn’t fall, then the ones behind it, also won’t fall.
I am proposing that we be the misaligned domino.
And we can do that by using the current lockdown to look for ways to diversify our economic activity.
The Western Cape is very reliant on manufacturing, farming and tourism; all sectors that require everything to remain stable worldwide for it to succeed.
Since that stability is no longer guaranteed, we (and the world) need a mind shift in how we do business.
Every company now needs a strategy that they can implement immediately, when there’s a global crisis.
Obviously one of those strategies needs to be how to quickly implement a work-from-home plan with minimum disruption.
And I think we need to treat it like some office blocks treat fire drills.
We need to regularly and on an ad hoc basis, practice the strategy, so that all employees know what to do when the time comes.
Another obvious point must be that companies look at clever ways to quickly and easily pivot their businesses into something that can survive a massive impact, like a pandemic.
I saw a lot of entrepreneurs and even established businesses doing this with varying levels of success.
For example, a studio photographer came up with the idea of drive-by photoshoots and the aquarium oddly gave online Xhosa lessons.
All very clever, out-of-the-box thinking that could help them sustain the businesses until things return to normal.
Lastly, and most importantly, all businesses must have six-to-twelve months of their overheads tucked away into a savings account, where it remains untouched.
While this has always made sound business (and individual) sense, it’s even more critical now that we know how it could be a saving grace.
The old people always used to talk about having a few pennies for a rainy day.
Well, we are having a rainy year.
If every working person and company had this at the beginning of 2020, we could’ve made it through the lockdown with a lot less pain.
We need a more comprehensive economic Plan B that is driven and enforced by the government, so that we are not caught off guard again!