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Advice for 'non-essential' retailers under lockdown

Like many companies selling goods classified as 'non-essential' during the lockdown, Cash Crusaders had to temporarily shut its stores across the country - all 220 of them.


South Africa's largest second-hand retailer offers other retail businesses that have been forced to close some advice on managing through the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Follow the rules


Ensure that you follow the rules set out by our President for the lockdown. As bitter as this pill may be to swallow, the longer-term benefits for our country and our businesses far outweigh the frustration and anxiety you may be feeling now. This is not a time to break the rules. #StayAtHome.

It is a time to practice human responsibility, not complain about human rights being compromised. Countries who initially implemented loosely managed lockdowns, have had to extend to get the pandemic under control, so strict rules from the get-go will prevail in the fight against the virus.

Secure your stores


By now you should’ve secured your valuable goods and should have ensured all your security systems are in good working order. If you haven’t already, make sure your security companies have your correct contact information. Make sure your necessary insurance cover is up to date.

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Keep your staff informed


They are and continue to be your most important asset!

By now, you may have needed to investigate UIF benefits to compensate for your employees loss of income. The Minister of Employment and Labour, T.W Nxesi has recently announced measures that the Department will put in place under the current special circumstance relating to the coronavirus and its impact on UIF contributors.

The Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) has been set up under the auspices of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Employers apply for the TERS on behalf of its employees.

The TERS has two distinct advantages over UIF:
• All employees qualify for up to 3 months of benefits, irrespective of how long they have contributed to the UIF and
• TERS will not pay any employee less than the minimum wage.

You can benefit from the TERS by sending an email to . Applicants will then receive an automated response which outlines the steps you will need to take, as well as the details surrounding them - including the requirements to claim benefits.

During the lockdown period, the Department of Labour will not accept manual applications (to reduce physical contact and risk of the virus spreading), this is to reduce contact between people to curtail the spread of the pandemic. A hotline number has been created by the UIF (012-337 1997) for Covid-19 TERS Benefit enquiries during the lockdown period.

Be sure to be calm when addressing any concerns with your team – they are anxious and nervous about what the eventuality of this outbreak may be.

Communicate with your bank


Make sure you’ve been in touch with your bank (as they are still operational) and discuss any loan repayment relief or postponement over the lockdown period (the banks have termed this a 'payment holiday'). Work with them on a cash flow plan as once the lockdown has lifted, trading businesses will need liquid cash.

Contact your landlord


Ensure you’ve connected with your landlord to discuss and agree on any possible repayment or rent relief/payment holiday they may be able to offer you. Keep the channels of communications open with your landlord and bank – rather over-communicate than not communicate enough.

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Keep communication open with your customers


The country may be on shutdown, but the internet isn’t. Communicate with your teams and customers by whatever necessary and relevant communication channels you have available to you – website, social media, PR/Marketing teams, newsletter dissemination, etc.

Use this time wisely


Amidst all the chaos this time brings, there is also a silver lining. We all have time at this stage, but how many of us make valuable use of that time? Particularly when it comes to family. Business is demanding most times so with a forced shutdown of business it gives you the time to spend with your family, catch up on outdated maintenance around the house and enjoy a period of rest.

This lockdown period will also affords you uninterrupted strategy time. Take the time to reflect on areas of your business you can improve or evolve. Strategise ways to do things better or differently. Use the resources available via your own business network as well as the countless online content that is available, to work on a plan for the way forward.

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Consider your financial, loan and other business administration processes you have in place and look at new ways to optimise the channels and areas you’re working with or within. A host of online learning facilities offer short courses – perhaps consider upskilling yourself or members of your team by signing up for one of these too.

“These are some of the steps we’ve taken within our own organisation,” says Sean Stegmann, CEO of Cash Crusaders. “Having been in this business for as long as we have has afforded us the wealth of experience we’re able to share with our franchisees and other retail business owners to help navigate the next the lockdown and recovery period."

“Take it one day at a time and know that the decisions we’re being forced to make today will mean a future for us tomorrow, both in business and in health,” he concludes.
Comment
Anonymous
Can someone explain how Makro are allowed to sell digital cameras under lockdown level 4?
Posted on 12 May 2020 16:16

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