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Businesses must support each other during Covid-19 crisis

20 March 2020

17 March 20 – All South African business leaders have a responsibility to
stand together to keep business moving, protect employment and the economy
ticking over.

According to Frank Mullen,
CEO of Zinia, a leading mid-sized telecoms and ICT provider, “How
decision-makers adapt to the Covid-19 national disaster will determine the
knock-on effect to businesses and livelihoods around the entire country.”

“Now is not the time to stop
doing business or bring a halt to spending,” he says. “If we do so, it will
negatively affect those we do business with, impacting employment and
ultimately worsen the current economic situation.

“Our ability to bounce back
will be severely affected and by the time the worst of the virus is over, the
damage will be done.”

He makes his point strongly:
“think about what will happen if your customers stop buying from you or you in
turn stop purchasing from your suppliers due to Covid-19; what will the impact
be? This would have a severe impact on your business as well as your suppliers.

“We are all in this together
and have a responsibility to collaborate with our suppliers, customers,
employees and peers, to find ways to keep business going, even if it is not how
we traditionally would operate,” he says.

He believes that if every
business in the country stopped their normal buying behavior, then every
business could be impacted, and the ripple effect will be felt throughout every
sector of the economy, ultimately hurting society.

From travel bans,
quarantines, to social distancing and behavior change, Covid-19 will continue
to affect South Africa in the coming months – he believes these measures will
be around for at least three months.

As a nation South Africans
are particularly resilient and he believes we should challenge all negative
decisions, and not react out of fear.

He believes
leaders need to adapt quickly and he provides the following as a guideline:

Implement Covid-19 education
and take actions to protect the health of those within your company and those
who come into contact with your business. This includes putting in place
sanitary and protective supplies, educational information and make sure that
the right behaviour patterns are adhered to.

Create a new 90-day business
ADAPT action plan that includes dealing with further restrictions on travel and
other decisions taken, should the situation worsen as a whole.

Continue business as usual as
far as possible. Do not stop spending entirely or take the attitude that your
business needs to shut down. This behaviour will damage the economy.

Give all staff the ability to
work from home. Check that your business has the right technology and if not,
put them in place quickly. This includes giving tools, such as access to data,
devices, internet and remote access to work systems, so employees can continue
working in isolation if need be. You will do more damage to your business if
your employees are unable to work in isolation.

Manage the
productivity of employees who are working at home. Instead of travelling use
video conferencing and telephony systems.

“As business leaders we need
to be open to limit the risk of spreading the virus, this means doing things
differently than we would normally,” explains Mullen. “For example, find
another way to get the information you need to make a decision, instead of
cancelling a face-to-face meeting – by not making a decision you are further
damaging the economy.”

“We absolutely must continue
the buying cycle,” he says. He emphasises that some sectors like tourism will
be majorly affected, but if it is within the control of a business leader they
must do everything to support local tourism, businesses and co-workers.

“We should not panic and
allow the country to go further into recession. We must rally together, support
each other and speak up – including putting pressure on Government to come up
with economic reforms and stimulus packages to boost and assist businesses
during these times.”

Mullen concludes there is a
silver lining: “as the price of oil drops, the price of fuel will lower, and
interest rates may come down too, effectively increasing spending power and
improving budgets.”


Media Contacts:

Get Published

Nadia Hearn

M. 074 923 3835

[email protected]


Frank Mullen, CEO

M: 082 468 6128

T: 011 462 0900 [email protected]

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