By now, the world is conscious about the fact that COVID-19 has caused catastrophic damage to humankind. It has caught us unawares and people are trying relentlessly to attain normalcy, or rather adapt to the ‘new normal’. No one has been immune to the effects of the virus and many are striving to sustain amidst this clamour ….our women entrepreneurs being one of them.
Undoubtedly, entrepreneurs have faced tremendous uncertainty with the virus having significantly or moderately impacted operations of 70% MSMEs. However, entrepreneurs, especially the women entrepreneurs are confident about tackling such situations in the future and bouncing back once again very soon. In dealing with arisen issues in the order of priority, the biggest concern for entrepreneurs was fall in demand and revenue inflow! With difficulty in fundraising, and with savings running dry fast, entrepreneurs were left cash-strapped.
Today we explore some opportunities for entrepreneurs to bail them out of the cash-crunch:-
- Seek government help – Founders and investors, both, want the government to provide economic support and ease compliance burdens to help companies tide over the crisis. It is important that women entrepreneurs are aware about various initiatives the government has launched for their aid and only then can they avail the facilities. Many schemes like SIDMI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) to provide aid to affected startups, SBI COVID-19 funding scheme for small and medium businesses, The Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana, the STAND UP INDIA Scheme designed especially for women entrepreneurs, MSME Ideas Portal and the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana are some steps taken by the Government of India to ensure that entrepreneurs can tide over the crisis and we as a nation, keep moving ahead towards our collective goal of growth.
- Use your cash-cushion now– It is an indispensable criteria for any enterprise to have some emergency fund saved up for ‘rainy days’. If you are an entrepreneur, you would have saved enough to deal with unexpected expenses or unforeseen circumstances leading to a downhill journey, like in the present condition. Having a cash-cushion and strictly following a budget is important for entrepreneurship and using it responsibly now is imperative.
- P2P lenders – Not to be mistaken with crowdfunding- P2P lending is a less risky option and an investment practice of financing companies in exchange for an interest rate. Today, there are many P2P lending platforms one can find online to finance business needs. Considering the present circumstances, entrepreneurs may negotiate on the interest rates and re-payment tenures, depending on their enterprise’s reputation in the market.
- Reduce costs and prioritize generating cash – If you are a small business owner, rethinking your finances was probably one of the first things you did as soon as the Nation was hit by COVID-19, to ensure your team was safe. Listing all fixed and variable costs would have helped you to learn to prioritize the expenditures and narrow down spheres where you can indulge in cost cutting measures. It is important that you do not let go of clients now, more than ever. Offering discounts and special benefits to clients will ensure that they remain loyal to your enterprise. Again, profit doesn’t equal positive cash flow, and remember that what you need now is cash – not profit. So prioritize generating cash over turning a profit.
We will eventually be able to soften the coronavirus blow and walk ahead towards a better tomorrow. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs must use their resources and intellect aptly in order to sail through the crisis and thus survive.