It has been a year since the Covid-19 pandemic first visited humanity. Its effects have been felt across the world from New Delhi to New York and right back to our own backyard. The unwelcomed visitor is still amongst us, wreaking havoc to all and sundry.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Entrepreneurs have suffered like many citizens, but sometimes even more. Many of them have battled to find alternative solutions to keep their business operations going, with many forced to close their doors due to the debilitating trading conditions brought about by the ongoing lockdowns and curfews that sometime mean it can’t be business as usual.
For others, however, this crisis has presented an opportunity to pivot their operations accordingly to keep their doors open. Among them is James Matshubeng, managing director of Matoto Technologies, an ICT Consultancy firm.
“Covid-19 has been brutal to society, never mind business. One of the difficult adjustments we had to make was having to let go of some of the employees as their roles became absolute due to clients working remotely and at home.”
To save the company and maintain the relationship with existing clients, Matshubeng had to make more adjustments including on service offerings and emphasising value for money by utilizing software and applications clients were and are already paying for. This was after clients were uneasy with some wanting to cancel contracts with them.
“The biggest challenge the pandemic presented was fewer human interactions and because of that entrepreneurs were forced to rethink the impact the new normal would have on its business operations, employees and clients. Tough decisions had to be made and time was not on anyone's side. We understood this, and although we were under pressure, we believe we did the best as we could for the business,” he says.
“Although the pandemic brought unfavourable conditions at a noticeably short space of time, for entrepreneurs, it was a wake-up call because it realigned us with the core foundations of entrepreneurship. What distinguishes us is our exclusive partnerships with Software giants like Nagios and Druva, where we are the only African distributor,” he adds.
He said the pandemic forced him and his team to transform how they did business.
“The ability to dig deep and utilize one’s entrepreneurial acumen has been the difference for many. I think such competencies allowed some entrepreneurs to not only survive but thrive under the pandemic. Entrepreneurs do not receive much support in South Africa, and we have had to do it on our own, but many of us are continuing on the journey and trying to build our businesses again. We call on government to do something to assist businesses, especially those that are specialised like ours,” said Matshubeng.