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Business survival tricks: Entrepreneurs share their experiences

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Devki Group of Companies Chairman Narendra Raval (Guru) [David Njaaga, Standard]

As measures against spread of the virus took effect, purchasing power went down across households. This in turn affected turnover for businesses. And Devki Steel Mill was no exception.  

The reduction in revenue stream killed many businesses.

One way “we mitigated going down that route was reducing the cost of operation. If cost of operation does not change in a crisis, the business will suffer because you will continue pumping in the same amount of resources, yet Covid-19 measures were bound to slow the economy and hence affect the business.”

“There are several ways of reducing the cost of operation. You could reduce your staff numbers to lower the wage bill. You could cut salaries. Or, like me, you could think technology and innovation. We put up modern machinery and technology that cut costs by a good margin.”

That wasn’t all.

“We also reduced our debt such as loans, thus getting rid of hefty interests. We also cut on unnecessary expenses.”

These actions worked so well that they didn’t lay off even one staff member despite having a workforce of over 6,500 workers.

We offered free services to clients and it paid off

Emmanuel Mutuma, CEO, Brighter Monday provides job market services to companies and organisations seeking to hire qualified staff.

With Covid-19, there were fewer companies hiring. In fact, most were furloughing workers. For the Brighter Monday CEO, it was important to think fast.

“We were facing a downtime. But at the same time, our clients found themselves needing to hire relevant skill sets such as digital marketers. With a suffering economy, most of our clients could not afford our services. So, we decided to do something unthinkable: offer our services to our most ardent clients for free.”

“We called the move ‘Unity in Adversity’. For the first six months, April to September, we let our clients post jobs and recruit through our systems for free,” he says.

The company only charged when a client needed to recruit for an executive position or a technical position; something that required a lot more research to get the right fit. 

The move turned out to be a lifesaver for the company because it led to an increase in sign-ups by about 300 per cent.

“We onboarded new clients into our system as a result. And our client retention reached an impressive 90 per cent,” Mutuma adds.

The economy is slowly picking up. According to the CEO, demand for the company’s services went up into the new year to the point that they too hired new staff.

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