The CEO’s Last Word “Do Not Be Moved”

ceos last words newsletter

It will be years before we fully understand the full economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the world’s economies, but one thing is painfully clear right now; small businesses across the country are facing an existential threat.

 

A COVID-19 Business Impact Survey done by the International Trade Centre in April 2020 from 4467 companies in 132 countries, reported that almost 40% of business operations were facing a liquidity crisis due to clients not paying bills. Additionally, it was recorded that 75% of businesses faced reduced sales with micro and small firms being more impacted than larger businesses and over 20% of small businesses facing the risk of full closure. With lockdowns, curfews and other COVID-19 regulations still being enforced, it is safe to assume that these percentages have since risen significantly.

Locally, these challenges have been compounded this year alone by the volcanic ash fall which hindered regular business operations for weeks, and required untimely expenditure on cleaning and infrastructural damage. Adding to this is now the magnified fear surrounding the heightened activity predicted for the 2021 Hurricane Season. Our first brush with the category one hurricane, Elsa, left many businesses with structural damage and without electricity or water for days.  

Further exacerbating the situation has been the rise in fuel costs and the levy on water prices, which is acting like a tightened noose around the neck of many small firms who have not been able to regain their footing in the midst of all that has occurred in the last year.

There is no doubt that many small businesses are drained and some practitioners are weary of what lies ahead. However, despite all that is happening around you, and though things may seem bleak at this time, I implore you to remain steady in your resolve to survive.

The one ‘silver lining’ in this cloud of uncertainty is that small firms have the propensity to bounce back – they are nimble and can adapt. Yes, we need a greater effort on the part of policymakers, financiers and development agencies, to do more to strengthen the business environment at this time. As such, the voice of the lobbyist and representative groups must be amplified, to ensure that the MSME sector is not overlooked in the country’s economic recovery efforts. We therefore cannot be daunted; we will make it through together. Stand firm. Stay focused. Do not be moved!