Coronavirus Updates

May 7, 2020

ACT Foundation reels out strategies for business continuity amid pandemic

Osayi Alile, CEO, ACT Foundation

By Josephine Agbonkhese

Accept that there is a pandemic, adapt to changes, keep moving in the face of adversaries, improvise solutions and seize opportunities, Aspire Coronation Trust, ACT, Foundation has advised.

Those were part of strategies given to business owners, particularly non-profits, at a recent webinar organised by the Foundation, a grant-making organisation, on the theme ‘Non-profit Resilience: Strategies for Business Continuity’.

Speaking at the webinar hosted by Osayi Alile, CEO, ACT Foundation, the Guest Speaker, Niyi Yusuf, Managing Partner, Verraki Partners, said CEOs of organisations must urgently determine ways to manage risks and balance situations amid the ongoing pandemic.

“First, know your cash position because cash is key. Understand how much money you have in your bank account and do not bank on what anyone owes you because they may not be able to pay right now.

“Determine ways to conserve capital. The first thing is to ask yourself what you really need to spend money on,” Yusuf said.

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He went on: “For most of us, we spend money on people, advertisement, marketing, etc. This is the time you need to justify every naira you spend and assume the cash you have in your bank is the only thing you will have for the next four to six months.

“The second is your people; identify where they are.  Within that, identify your best talents and really connect with them. We all love our people but the truth is that they contribute differently to our business.

“You need to make sure you find ways to connect with your best talents and continue to motivate them to keep doing what they are doing.

“The third is your clientele. Proactively engage with them to understand contract commitments. Assure them you are working on those contracts.

“Fourth, engage with your bankers if, possibly, you could be granted an overdraft. Lastly, do not panic. Understand we are only in the middle of a storm.”

Harping on operational cost, Yusuf advised that assets be repurposed to be able to serve new sectors and customers, adding that there should also be conversations with employees on the reduction of operational cost.

“Your cost will include people cost, facilities, marketing, technology, etc. For most of us, ‘people’ will be like half of our cost. So, this is the time to say to our people “we are all in this together. There is a lot of uncertainty and we do not know what will happen and when. So, let us all contribute.”

“In essence, employees should be talking of taking unpaid leave, salary cut, and headcount deduction as this is not the time to carry excess baggage.

“Also, there is always value in collaboration; so, if NGOs can come together to form a collective, they will have a bigger voice at this time,” Yusuf explained.

In the quest for business continuity, he, however, emphasised that the health and safety of workers should be borne in mind, advocating that operation be digitized and staff be allowed to work from home so as to limit their exposure.

Earlier at the ACT Foundation webinar, which attracted over 100 participants, Alile said the rationale behind the theme was the burning issue of sustainability for organisations in the non-profit sector due to suppressed inflow of grants instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “This is not only affecting non-profits but also affecting a lot of other organisations. For many, they have been contemplating whether to let staff go or not.”