He sat there wondering when this COVID-19 pandemic would end. The 21-day lockdown announced by President Mnangagwa was fast eating into his savings and his business was taking a serious knock. Tonderai Mangwende, a 50-year-old entrepreneur, knows that a business grows from hard-work and creating strong networks. His favorite quote is, ‘your network determines your net worth’.
He started what is now a thriving business from scratch after working for 10 years as a shopkeeper for his former Indian boss Hamish. He sat there looking into empty space wondering how he would find money to pay his 20 employees & rentals come April month-end. He thinks on, but no solution quickly comes to mind. He hates being helpless.
‘Awu Baba Chipo! Are you going to spend the whole day sitting in the sun?’ inquired his bewildered wife Memo. He shook his head as if coming from a deep sleep. That is when he realized that he had been sitting there, for the past hour now, wondering. . . .
What worries him the most is how ‘the Johnny come latelies’ who are not even half as good as he is had taken over a huge chunk of what used to be his market share. Mangwende feels he is losing grip of the sector that once considered him the Market Leader. He picks the edition of the Financial Gazette, his favorite newspaper which has been reading for a week and a half now and dejectedly walks into his mansion of a house.
He knows his game has to change, but he can’t get his head around the thought of running his business from this new thing called the internet. He has seen how it is tearing the moral fabric, especially when he looks at the scanty dressing of his youngest daughter Tawana.
Can you relate to Mangwende’s experience? Is your internet experience limited to reading online ‘papers’ and checking your emails? Have you vowed never to be on Facebook? Do you feel powerless at the new entrants into your sector who seem to be taking over what used to be your market share? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then read on.
To get out of this mess, you need to get a website now. And, here is why?
Get noticed during this lock-down period and the best way you can do that is to have a website. The fact that you are reading this, shows that you like everyone else are spending your time on the internet. It will be folly for you and your business to stick to traditional marketing while newbies capture this ready market. Maybe, you would quickly say, ‘well, I have a Facebook page’.
Many companies have social media handles but don’t have websites. And now they wish they had one. Why? Because a website is the only place where you can store all your intangible assets in one place. This allows your customers and prospects to access them easily. Imagine, you can have testimonials, blogs, a billing section, contacts, directions, and your portfolio all in our place.
Is your business going to open shop after 21 days? We don’t know. If what is happening in South Africa, Europe, and the US is anything to go by then there is a serious possibility that the current 21 days may be extended to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 infections.
Is it going to be business as usual after the lockdown? No. It is very likely that recovery from this crisis can take months or even longer and there is a need for you to at least prepare a game plan to come out of it stronger.
Your office space won’t help you now, but you are still paying for it. This is why you need to create a website now,
to keep your business running online.
You are likely to bargain cheap rates because of the current depressed activity in the web design business. From as little as US$500 you can get a well-designed website that comes with free personalized emails and an online security certificate. This is a worthwhile investment considering the potential that lies in capturing the market that is largely untapped online.
The lock-down has kept most people home for days, armed with an internet connection and a mobile device and nothing to do to kill the time. People are less busier and more attentive. There is no better time to launch your online presence. The greatest lesson than this COVID-19 crisis has taught many businesses globally is that your business needs to be online. And the time is now.
Interestingly there has been a global surge in internet use. Vodacom South Africa recorded a 50% rise in internet use. This means that your audience has grown. This is your time to shine, get a website today.
With a website, you can launch your next big idea now. Think of a product or service that can provide a solution to problems faced by businesses during this lock-down period. Who knew that surgical masks, tissue paper, and sanitizers would be big business one day. It is a business fact that after a crisis things get worse before they get better. One day, the storm will be over, the clouds will clear and the sun will shine again on your business, only if you act now.