This is certainly the case with the crisis that has resulted from the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Millions of people globally have been infected and thousands have already died from the outbreak. The general public is advised to remain socially distant from one another and to regularly wash their hands. The global economy has gone into freefall, a recession, if not a depression, now seems likely. Panic buying in the shops is common practice. No one knows what tomorrow holds.
What seemed certain only a couple of weeks ago, no longer does. People are worried about the most basic things in life; putting food on the table, keeping a roof over their heads, being able to see friends and family members. People are fearful about losing their jobs, adverse effects to businesses, not to mention becoming unwell due to the virus. They want to know that they and their loved ones will be safe. This is before we mention the looming emergency facing healthcare providers globally. It is imperative that we salute the brave and heroic acts of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, hospital cleaners and many others who are putting themselves in the frontline to serve the public and the common good.
Things cannot go back to the way things were prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Things have to change. This needs to start with the nature of our economy and our society. It should not take a new deadly pandemic virus for people to be kind, humane and compassionate towards one another. It should not take a major crisis for governments to think about protecting those in low-paid employment. It should not take a global virus for us to drastically reduce our carbon emissions internationally.
Governments today need to put aside petty nationalism and work together to defeat the coronavirus. The same energy needs to be channeled into tackling the looming climate crisis. Climate change and the destruction of our environment risks us seeing a higher increase of global pandemic viruses in the future. The world must act to challenge climate change with the same resolve that it now has in confronting the coronavirus.
How can we imagine a new dawn for micro, small and medium enterprises globally? How can we reimagine purposeful and meaningful startups? How will we work in the future? What can MSMEs learn from this pandemic? What is the new Normal for MSMEs?
6 key factors
Here are 6 key factors every MSME or startups needs to keep in mind post COVID-19:
My final thoughts and recommendations for MSMEs or startups post COVID-19 are:
Some of above measures might be viewed as additional costs/expense at a time of an already tight financial situation, especially for SME’s and MSME’s who are cash strapped, the measures mentioned above are vital points for survival and an effective bounce back for businesses, keeping long term growth and planning in mind. Always remember the famous quote, “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.”
Ahmed Mohamed Osman, President of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB)