Believably, everyone has some lessons learned from Covid-19. With unavoidable changes sweeping every business and institution worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic is forcefully redefining our life. Life has changed for everybody. The virus has, for sure, altered the way we do business and our style of living. And I believe we shall never be the same in the post-COVID-19 era.
You and I have some lessons learned from Covid-19. In Uganda, businesses closed down, and many have not reopened. Big companies are laying off some of their employees because they cannot afford to pay them. Most workers in government institutions are operating remotely from home. People in the informal sector are suffering because the Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy. Terrible! Shall we ever be the same as before the outbreak of the virus? I doubt.
What are the Lessons Learned from Covid-19?
By observing the experiences people are going through caused by the pandemic, I have several lessons learned from COVID-19 and which I want to share with you in this post. Probably you might find them helpful to get back on board in the post-COVID-19 era. What are these lessons?
Lesson #1 – Family Is So Important
Covid-19 separated us from all other people because the government didn’t allow us to do so as a preventive measure to safeguard us against getting the deadly virus. During this time of danger and worry, we only remained in close contact with our immediate family members living under one roof.
In the total lockdown, we could not visit our friends, go to work, attend school and meet one another in public places. The only people that we found to be of significant help to us were our family members. And if you have not been building trusting relationships with your family members, then you must have had a terrible experience during the lockdown.
What do you learn from that experience? Consider your family first in whatever you do. Build lasting relationships with them. Be part of your family and share your joys and sorrows with them. Build your wealth and prosperity with them.
Lesson #2 – We Are Interdependent
We cannot succeed without the cooperation of others. All human beings are essential, and you should make as many useful friends as you can. We all had to depend on others in one way during the lockdown. I don’t know how many times I received WhatsApp messages from people I knew and strangers as well all seeking support.
What does this lesson teach us? That we should not only concentrate on the pursuit of our individual needs and goals. We should focus significantly on building substantial economic, political and social systems from which we can all benefit as a society. For instance, the lockdowns that swept the world by surprise made it impossible for anybody to move to another country. We had, therefore, to rely on what was available in our respective nations.
Lesson #3 – Food Security Is Crucial
Although most people don’t advocate for subsistence farming, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that being assured of having what to eat all the time is crucial. Food is a basic need with which we cannot do away because it makes us live.
However, most people in urban places in Uganda depend on incomes from either their salaries or businesses. The advent of the coronavirus led to an abrupt lockdown, making it impossible for people to move to their workplaces. As a result, their meagre incomes could not sustain them for an extended period of inactivity. And since saving isn’t a culture with most Ugandans, the situation became so alarming that many people had nothing to feed their families.
People who grow food never suffered to that extent. What does that teach you? Think to have a garden from which you can get food to supplement your income. If you’re lucky and you have a plot, consider planting something you can always harvest to eat.
Lesson #4 – Businesses Built on Skills Are Better
Most Ugandan business people are in trade – that is, buying and selling goods or services for a profit. Some of them are in the import trade, while others are either in wholesale or retail businesses. Such businesses have suffered tremendously. They can no longer travel abroad to place new orders. As a result, they cannot replenish their stock and if they’re not lucky chances are that they may get kicked out of business.
Disappointingly, government policies are not changing in their favour. For instance, in the recent budget read for the 2021 financial year, the government placed a substantial tax on imports to boost local industries and exports. What does that mean to you?
If you’ve not smelt a rat yet, my advice to you is thinking to venture into businesses where you can apply skills to produce something locally. Become a producer because that’s what the government wants. And I also support them. Why import, for example, plywood from China when there are plywood factories in Uganda that produce high-quality plywood? Importers give fewer jobs to Ugandans than manufacturers.
I am of the view that we shouldn’t import finished products. We should instead purchase machinery and tools to make the products locally with the skills we have. That’s the way to go.
Lesson #5 – People Should Embrace Home-Based Businesses
Running a brick-and-mortar business in rented premises is becoming harder and harder from time to time. First of all, transport fares have more than doubled. Secondly, landlords of arcades and shopping malls have maintained that their tenants pay rent for all the months they never worked during the lockdown. One of the arguments they make is that they also have to pay back loans to the bank and taxes as well.
If you find yourself in such a situation, allow me to share with you these two pieces of advice. The first one is to consider changing your business into one you can operate from home. Well, this sounds a bit difficult to some of you, depending on the nature of your business enterprise. If you’re in such a situation, then my second advice to you is to start a home business. There are many low-cost home-based businesses into which you can venture.
People who were able to operate their businesses remotely from home didn’t get hit hard during the Covid-19 lockdowns. They could receive at least an order once in a while to make ends meet. What I am telling you is what we are doing now. We are transforming our business to make it at least 50% home-based so that we perform all the production of the products we sell right from our home.
Lesson #6 – Social Responsibility Should Be Everyone’s Focus
During the lockdown, we witnessed many companies and individuals contributing to the fight against Covid-19. They donated vehicles, foodstuffs, materials and even money. To many people, this was one of the lessons learned from Covid-19.
However, not many businesses are aware that they are socially responsible for the betterment of their communities. Their concern is mainly on the success of their businesses by maximising substantial profits. It is evident in the way some arcade and shopping mall owners have intransigently refused to wave off rent arrears accumulated for their tenants during the lockdown. They give all sorts of excuses and forget that it’s prudent to support the communities that make them wealthy.
Being mindful of corporate social responsibility is not only good for your community but also the success of your business. Always think to give back to your people in any way possible. Goleza Designers offer free information and support to help others, especially the youth, to start and grow their businesses. What about you? What’s your community involvement?
Lesson #7 – Saving for the Future is Vital
Saving is one of the fundamental lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus has taught many people that saving for the future is essential. If the lockdown found you without any savings, you were indeed in trouble. I have written extensively on the save money tips and how to retain money in your pockets. If you read these two blog posts, you will get a deeper understanding of how to save for your future life and development.
Lesson #8 – Health Is Wealth
Covid-19 has indiscriminatingly put everyone’s life to a test. We all have to wear masks and maintain social distancing to save our lives. Whether you are rich or poor, you need to stay alive.
Before the advent of coronavirus, I heard one senior civil servant working in some ministry telling a colleague (a friend of mine) that he had spent 40 million shillings to go for a medical check-up in India. I got astonished by that revelation. Why go for a medical check-up in India as if we don’t have competent health workers in Uganda? I asked myself.
But when we got locked down in our homes, nobody could move to any other country. People who had travelled abroad started expressing a burning desire to return home. They appealed to the government for help. But it was impossible. We all had to entrust our lives to the local health workers – right from the high-profiled citizens to the lowest ordinary persons. Saving life became the only main concern, but NOT wealth, politics, religion, school, economy, name it. Cries of “No Food” became common amongst Ugandans.
What I learned from this experience is that keeping yourself in good health is paramount. It supersedes all other things people spend their time working to achieve. It’s a healthy person who can do much in life.
Lesson #9 – Change Is Inevitable
One of the most significant lessons learned from Covid-19 is that change is inevitable. The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the entire world – the way we work and live.
Naturally, human beings detest change, especially if it comes with adverse effects. The changes that are happening and which will manifest in the post-COVID-19 era are unfavourable to many people. People are losing jobs and businesses are collapsing. The government passed out directives limiting people to gather at weddings, burials and even political rallies. All these happenings and much more are to make our life hard.
Since we cannot reverse what is happening, we have to accept that change has come and look for ways how to adapt to it. If you fail to realise it, then you are likely to break.
Lesson #10 – Embrace New technology
Most Ugandans operate their businesses traditionally. That wouldn’t be bad, but we live in a changing world. The Covid-19 pandemic is going to lead to the collapse of many conventional businesses. If you want to continue surviving, you need to understand globalisation and technology.
The days of living a life of a cubical slave are gone. In this era of information, you have to learn to use the computer and the internet. That’s when you can succeed in your endeavours. My advice to you, therefore, is to embrace new technology. If you don’t have a website, it’s high time you considered having one. Learn online marketing to promote your business effectively.
Coronavirus is going to change the way we work, live and operate our businesses. You need to understand these changes and learn to adapt to them. If you resist them, there is a likelihood that you will break. What have you learned from Covid-19? Let us hear from you.