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4 tips on how businesses can navigate today’s complex risks

Articcle provided by Santam

An entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset of constantly wanting to learn, share and disrupt the norm. This is even more vital when trying to keep your business afloat in the current economic environment the world finds itself in. Why? Because tough times often force focus and drive innovation, leading businesses to come out of the storm stronger and more accomplished than before.

Philippa Wild, Head of Commercial Lines at Santam, says, “South Africans are remarkably resilient and adaptable.” The Santam Insurance Barometer 2020/21 research showed that on average profits declined by 38% in small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and 62% of commercial and corporates entities experienced profit losses of between 24 – 36. Even against this backdrop, 73% of small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and  83% of large companies surveyed feel optimistic about their business prospects in spite of the pandemic’s devastating effect on both lives and livelihoods.  

“Since the start of the pandemic we’ve seen evidence that businesses are pivoting to better take advantage of the opportunities presented by the ‘new normal’.”

Below, Wild shares four key insights for businesses to keep continuity during this tough economic environment:

  • Prioritise your people: Your employees are by far your most valuable asset, so put measures in place to protect them as far as possible. Ensure all your employees understand the hazards to their health and safety within the workplace should you be able to operate during the pandemic and implement all precautionary measures that you can to reduce exposure. In addition to this, offer as much financial and emotional support as your company can afford, if and when necessary, to encourage your employees to keep on producing at your normal standard.
  • Prepare for post-lockdown: Now may be the time to review your business operations and services and upgrade to stronger, more efficient alternatives. If possible, consider updating outdated equipment or implementing key training for staff. Do a review of your business to see where there may be gaps that might have cost you revenue or gaps in the market that you can cater to. Use your time wisely and spend time reflecting.
  • Refine your client journey: Client-centricity is key to long-term business success, especially in an age of unprecedented transparency. Map out your clients’ current journey at every touch-point – from awareness to post-purchase stage – then identify how you can streamline this to automate more of the administration and optimise the user experience. Ask your clients and staff for input, conduct surveys, and test different solutions.  Right now, encourage iterative micro-innovations that’ll enable you to learn but won’t cost you too much if they don’t work.
  • Get up close and personal with your insurance: Now is the time toensure that you’re adequately insured and prevent any further losses. Interrogate your policies and make a checklist of what is covered and what is not. This way, you can pick up on where you are left most vulnerable and take the steps to mitigate risk. Speak to your broker to fully understand your insurance policies without making assumptions.

Wild concludes, “It is important to note that having good risk management practices, updated safety training for employees and clients alike, as well as a solid plan for the new normal can influence whether or not a business makes it past this next hurdle.”

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