Rwanda: Five business lessons to learn from Covid-19 pandemic

July 27, 2020
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The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in the business world. Business sector is adapting to operate in an ever-evolving landscape where the only certainty is change.

Globally, the pandemic has left hundreds of thousands of people, sent millions into unemployment and devastated economies.

However, Covid-19 pandemic has ironically left business lessons that can be helpful even after the pandemic.

Doing Business spoke to business owners, consultants and analysts on what was leant during Covid-19 pandemic businesswise.

Having online presence is essential

Just a week after Covid-19 pandemic hit in March, companies that were into online shopping and delivery were already experiencing a surge in demands and profit of over 20 per cent. Businesses that were not technologically involved were caught off-guard when lockdown was imposed almost all over the world.

Rose Kanyange, a freelance business consultant in Kigali agrees that businesses learnt that they need to explore digital opportunities for business.

“When expanding business, also think of expanding the online presence,” she advised.

Culture of saving

Desire Ngamije, a business owner in Kigali has learnt that saving is essential for business since anything that happens will likely affect small scale businesses such as his.

“I learnt that in business anything can happen. Especially to small businesses like mine. It’s always good to do internal staff savings. In case crisis hit, the staff can use the saved money for their living,” he said.

Potential of e-commerce

A few days after Rwanda recorded its first Covid-19 case, some online shops and delivery services had already recorded over 20 per cent increase in profit.

Since people were obliged to stay indoors, they opt for online shopping more than usual. This period has shown the potential of this industry; how people can shop from groceries to clothes and pharmaceutical services online.

Diversification and accuracy in business

Rose Kanyange has observed that Covid-19 has emphasized the fact that business people cannot afford to keep all eggs in one basket.

“With a temporary ban on some businesses, one ought to think of other means to operate the business or seize the opportunity to venture in other businesses that fall within essential services. In other words, the crisis has taught the business community to be more flexible,” she explains.

Her point is emphasised by Teddy Kaberuka, an economic analyst, who argued that in addition to diversification, business community should learn that now that the competition has shifted online, accuracy and good quality matters the most to customers.

Working from home is an option

During this time companies learnt that their jobs were possible to do from home.  Most jobs have a certain amount of work that can be done remotely. Without the virus in place, there should still be some system in place that will promote work-life balance.

Contractual obligations are essential

With millions of people sent into unemployment by the lockdown and a number of business in non-essential services having halted operations, there has been concerns on the fate of employees considering that companies are generating little or no revenue.

Complications around termination and suspension of contracts and uncertainties to those who worked under no contracts might have been depressing.

Business owners and practitioners got to learn that contractual agreements should be considered.

New Times