Head Office, Johannesburg, South Africa

Is load shedding killing your business?

candles on load sheddingSince the reinstatement of rolling blackouts, businesses big and small, as well as customers, have suffered alike. Most businesses are left handicapped for hours. With Eskom being the supplier of 95% of our power, it has become a prerogative that businesses consider alternative power generating sources.
Nersa reported that during the 23 days of load shedding in 2008, the SA economy lost an estimated R50-billion – that’s R2.17-billion per day. With load shedding expected to worsen in March and April, it is time for businesses to buckle up, especially as small businesses make up a significant percentage of the GDP.

According to this article
 small and medium-sized enterprises make up 91% of formalised businesses. This shows that the survival of our economy rests on the performance of small to medium business enterprises. In order to help prevent the economy from being severely affected by the effects of load shedding, businesses must come up with survival strategies.

There are three ways to evaluate if load shedding is negatively impacting your business.

It is important to evaluate how load shedding is affecting your business and how to work towards finding the best solution to keep your business running when the power goes out. When evaluating your business, you will need to look at these three key loss areas; customers, money and time. Puzzled why just these three? Simply because these are your business’ most valuable assets.

  • Are you turning your customers away?

Most shops have to shut during load shedding – to the detriment of their customers as well as their cash flow. Every time a customer approaches your business and is turned away because you cannot service them, you inconvenience them as a result. Coupled with a decrease in sales, an inability to cater to customers decreases the value of your business.

  • Is your business losing money due to damaged stock?

If you run a business that has machinery to keep produce fresh such as a restaurant, butchery or frozen yoghurt shop, it will be a challenge to not throw out stock due to load shedding. For businesses such as Deli’s amongst many that reliant on suppliers for produce; stock delivery is severely impacted as there are serious health hazards and implications involved in delivering stock that is damaged. There is an interdependency between businesses that is interrupted by power cuts and sums up to major monetary loss. Having alternative power is now a necessity for every business.

  • Is productivity diminished due to lost time?

Relying on electricity-dependent machines can be a downfall when customers want to transact with cards.  With the majority of customers preferring to make use of credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards, it is important that you start thinking of ways to not miss out on these sale opportunities. Mobile payments may help your business to switch from barely breaking even to making as much money as you can during these crunch times. Another time-related issue your business may be faced with is a lack of productivity due to wasted time sitting doing nothing during the scheduled load shedding periods. If your employees are not being productive, lost time will directly impact your profit margins.

On a positive note, your business can be saved.

Start thinking of ways to minimise the effects of load shedding and save your business from major financial risk. These are crunch times for business but there is a way out. Thinking smart, creatively and remaining calm can get your business back to where it needs to be; the top. Once you have identified the risks, you will be able to build a load shedding contingency plan specific to your business’ needs and stay powered.

Image courtesy of Praag