Surviving Corona Virus Pandemic: A cursory look at how entrepreneurs in Africa can build pandemic-proof businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on businesses around the world, with entrepreneurs struggling to keep their businesses afloat amidst widespread closures, reduced demand, and supply chain disruptions.

The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of many businesses to unexpected shocks and highlighted the importance of building pandemic-proof businesses. This essay provides a cursory look at how entrepreneurs in Africa, with a focus on Nigerian entrepreneurs and small business owners around Africa, can build pandemic-proof businesses to survive future pandemics.

The first step in building pandemic-proof businesses is to understand what constitutes a pandemic-proof business. A pandemic-proof business is one that is resilient and adaptable to sudden shocks, such as a pandemic. It is a business that can maintain its operations and remain profitable, even in the face of disruptive events. Pandemic-proof businesses share several common characteristics, including diversified revenue streams, a robust supply chain, agile business processes, and a strong online presence.

To build pandemic-proof businesses, entrepreneurs in Africa can draw on lessons from previous pandemics, such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2016. During the Ebola outbreak, many small businesses in the affected areas were forced to close, as customers stayed away and supply chains were disrupted. However, some businesses were able to adapt and remain operational. For example, a group of women in Liberia started producing soap and selling it to local hospitals and clinics to meet the increased demand for hygiene products. This allowed them to keep their businesses open and even expand their operations.

Entrepreneurs in Africa can also learn from successful pandemic-proof businesses in other parts of the world. For example, the restaurant industry in the United States was hit hard by the pandemic, with many restaurants forced to close permanently. However, some restaurants were able to adapt by offering takeout and delivery services, implementing safety measures to protect customers and employees, and leveraging social media to reach new customers. These practices can be adapted for the African context, where there is a growing demand for food delivery services and online ordering.

To build pandemic-proof businesses, entrepreneurs in Africa can adopt several practical ideas, including diversifying revenue streams, building a strong online presence, implementing flexible work arrangements, and investing in technology.

Diversifying revenue streams can help businesses reduce their dependence on a single source of income and better withstand shocks to the economy.

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Building a strong online presence, such as through social media and e-commerce platforms, can help businesses reach new customers and continue to operate during times of social distancing.

Implementing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and flexible hours, can help businesses maintain their operations during disruptions to the workforce. Investing in technology, such as contactless payment systems and cloud-based software, can help businesses reduce their reliance on physical interactions and improve their agility.

Building pandemic-proof businesses is critical for entrepreneurs in Africa, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic-proof businesses are resilient and adaptable to sudden shocks, and share several common characteristics. Entrepreneurs in Africa can learn from previous pandemics and successful pandemic-proof businesses in other parts of the world, and adopt practical ideas to build pandemic-proof businesses. By doing so, they can ensure the sustainability and growth of their businesses, even in the face of future pandemics.

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