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ALL CONTENT WRITTEN AND SUBMITTED BY NIALA RAMKALLAWAN

Now that we are into the second wave of the Novel Coronavirus, our focus should be geared towards our preparedness. This time around, as Entrepreneurs will we be reactive and act after the fact and reality, or be proactive and have contingencies in place in the event of any unfavourable circumstances, or just because? At present, the wellness and safety of our lives and those around us are paramount and non-negotiable.  

 

In light of this paradigm shift propelled by the COVID-19 virus, the wellness and protection of Entrepreneurs and owners of MSME’s alike is fundamental and should be safeguarded during this wave and well into the future. As such, we need to give careful thought to the following 7 dimensions of wellness:

 

  1. Your Intellectual Wellness

With an increase in the statistics for those infected by the COVID-19 virus, and the beginning of community spread, it is essential that business owners of MSME’s are prepared, educated and equipped to handle anything.

The onus is on us to be knowledgeable, make every effort to stay alert by listening to daily updates, adhering to governing regulations and doing our own research, regarding information exclusively from credible sources and be proactive.

With this information, we would need to make decisions, modify, stategise and adapt while being mindful not to get overwhelmed or suffer from information overload.

 

  1. Your Occupational Wellness

At this juncture, the New Normal Entrepreneur and their MSME have undergone several revisions to their existing business model and certain policies, processes and standards. Overall, specific operational, procedural and structural changes have been implemented, reviewed and maintained.

   With the Coronavirus at our doorstep, as business people and members of the entrepreneurial community we must continue to be vigilant, both personally and extrinsically by continuing hygiene and sanitation practices along with the necessity to suit up.

   The correct use and wear of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which acts as ‘our shield and armour’ is fundamental in the current business climate and is therefore empirical to safeguard those stakeholders internal and external to our business, along with who we interact with either directly or indirectly on a daily basis.

 

  1. Your Spiritual Wellness

With change and uncertainty in our midst, we must incorporate prayer, meditation and mindfulness training to exhibit positivity, hope, increase our faith and among all things, remembering to put God first. The New Normal is perturbing, but so is all change, whatever form or fashion.

 

  1. Your Emotional and Mental Wellness

For Entrepreneurs, struggles, failures, hurdles and disappointments is nothing new, but one trait we have much practice and experience in, is the choice to be resilient. Even in the toughest of times, we walk by faith that we shall weather the storm and envision “this too shall pass” believing by the Grace of God Almighty that tomorrow will definitely be a better day.

Now, pair this with a conquering mindset and optimistic, prosperous frame of mind, to better enable you to manage stress, change and uncertainty. If however your emotional or mental health gets adversely affected and you become overwhelmed, have that oomph of courage to seek certified and professional support.

 

  1. Your Physical Well-Being

During this cold and flu season, take extra care with your diet, nutrition, rehydration and exercise or physical activity, to ensure your immune system is functioning at optimum capacity.

Vitamin and mineral supplements should also be taken as needed, along with other prescribed medications and at consistent intervals throughout the day as your body adapts to routine.

Your body is your temple, so you need to treat it as such. No matter how hectic your day tends to get, allocate occasional rest and break periods as well.

 

  1. Your Social Wellness

As a human being, the need for social interaction and to maintain relations is also high on the agenda for both extroverts and introverts. Though an Entrepreneur may possess certain traits, attitudes and characteristics, frequent communication with relatives, employees, stakeholders and the business community are key when it comes to fostering innovation, motivation, productivity, collaboration, alliances and partnerships.

 

  1. Your Environmental Wellness

By giving consideration to our macro and micro environments, a holistic approach to handling the New Normal takes precedence over what you as an individual business owner can put in place.

Though by now, it is common practice to ensure distancing is adhered to, the necessary signage is posted, daily routine health checks are carried out, and working remotely an option, we are also guided by The Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-Ncov)] (No. 24) Regulations, 2020.

It is also our personal responsibility to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation practices are routinely performed and repeated when necessary. Not forgetting that it is only considerate of any person exhibiting symptoms, that they seek medical attention immediately and self-quarantine until the necessary health safety measures are taken.

 

  • Ask yourself: ‘With COVID-19, what is your bottom line?’

An increase in sales? More deliveries? A higher profit margin? A wider customer base? Exceptional customer service? Greater customer satisfaction? Sustainability and survival?

 

Whatever it is to you personally, throw a couple more elements into the mix: Safety and Assurance.

 

While as business owners our profit margin is critically important, so is extending a bit of care, concern and the extra human touch. As the spread of the virus continues, citizens will become sensitive, apprehensive and afraid. As such, it is our duty to go a bit further by incorporating the elements of Safety and Assurance to help build customers’ confidence in our product, reputation and respective brand and also nurture customer relationships.  

 

Productive Tips for providing safety and assurance in your MSME:

  • Connectivity - Ensure you have a steady and reliable internet connection, either WIFI accessibility or a data plan.
  • Timeliness - Make certain your response time to customers’ requests and enquiries is consistent and made available within 24 hours.
  • Capitalise on virtual and digital means - As the world evolves, so does our approach to learning, communicating, and conducting business via online platforms and social media.
  • Offer assurance and build trust - Show customers and stakeholders that you care during this sensitive and ambiguous time.
  • Positioning - A strategy of this nature will aid the perception of your business in the mind of the customer. Show the customer that you can go above and beyond if it is within your means to do so.
  • Convenience - This method of easy access fostered through deliveries, drop-offs or the use of courier facilities will generate more business transactions and fuel additional sales revenue.
  • Payment facilities - Ensure online checkout options are available, e-payment methods are set up or Cash on Delivery (COD) avenues are in place.
  • Honest & Ethical advertising - If products are presented, ensure listed prices are vat inclusive, banded items are in stock, discounts, and bargains are given in actuality, and freebies or samples are used accordingly when product interest is made known.
  • Visible & Legible Contact details - When promoting products, attach contact details with your business’ name, logo, phone number, email, website, etc. This on-hand and available information will foster quicker business and also provide clarity in the mind of the customer.
  • Sponsored and paid ads - These are widely used by social networking, microblogging, photo and video sharing handles such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Periscope, Vimeo and LinkedIn.
  • Collaborations, alliances and partnerships - These options are available and can be done with other MSME owners, once the negotiated terms and conditions are clearly and explicitly identified, preferably in writing once discussed verbally. The world is your playground, think what you may lack in expertise or skill may be the strength or opportunity of someone else, so take note, letting professional growth foster your personal development and push forward.

 

Now that our wellness and safety are taken care of, here’s to making certain we are ready for business under the New Normal in this second wave.

 

Our Weekly Challenge

Refresh your mindset:

When you think something is impossible, replace that thought with I’m Possible.

Note: Adding a simple apostrophe can make all the difference in the world.

 

One sure thing COVID- 19 has taught us, is how to deal with change: either accept it, fight it, work through it or adapt to it. I personally will always choose the latter. You can only thoroughly enjoy something that challenges you and makes you grow. Change will make you question things, force you to push your limits, think outside the box, make you strategise a new path, cause you to progressively move ahead or shift direction altogether.

 

Just ponder this:

You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”

 

Keep in mind, not all change is bad, you simply need to adjust those lenses. If Change overwhelms you, let change happen in gradual increments, until you are comfortable venturing ‘outside the box’. Nothing is easy at first, but it will get easier with practice, routine and as time progresses.

 

Get that drive and inner determination to pick yourself up and get going. Your business is awaiting your next move, to make a productive, profitable and worthwhile decision. Even if you encounter setbacks under the New Normal, make notes, do research, review your approach and revisit the drawing board.

 

Be an entrepreneur always aspiring to be better, do better and advancing yourself in the process. Always think ‘HOW?’ - How should I approach this? How can I achieve this? How can I get through this? How do I make it better?

 

Nothing is set in stone, and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to your success, so set the pace and forget your limits. Just GO. This is an opportune time to lead by example and be a trendsetter when none exists. With a breakthrough strategy in place, you’ve got this. So get out there and make it happen.

 

ENTREPRENEURS, IT IS UP TO US TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE, SET THE PACE, TAKE THINGS UP A NOTCH AND PAVE THE WAY FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW.

 

We are all aspiring to be responsible, respectable and successful game-changers in our blessed twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, so let’s be safe, wear our masks, suit up, practice good hygiene and safety, adhere to distancing and gathering regulations, take good care of our wellness and offer that assurance. When ill, seek immediate medical care and please take it upon yourself to self-quarantine if you suspect you have contracted the virus.

 

For Additional Information:

To access The Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-Ncov)] (No. 24) Regulations, 2020 mentioned therein, please use the following link provided: https://www.facebook.com/ministryofcommunicationstt/photos/pcb.1084171395360038/1084170945360083/?type=3&theater

 

 

About Niala

I am a Freelance MSE & Social Media Advisor, the Owner/Founder of Gia’s Creative Studio and YBTT Mentor/Advisor providing ‘Insights from a Creative Entrepreneur’ on transformational leadership, strategy, forging a legacy, motivation and success.
Niala Ramkallawan, MBA, BSc.
 
You can find me on:
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/niala-r-71b12742/
YBTT - https://ybcaribbean.skysthelimit.org/volunteer-profile/15317
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/giascreativestudio/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/giascreativestudio.868/

 

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