The first half of 2020 has seen a historic recalibration of the global economy. The Covid-19 pandemic has sent shock waves throughout the global supply chains, closed down borders, halted air travel and tourism, closed down retail outlets and restaurants and caused millions of job losses, in addition to the tragedy of the lives that have been lost in some parts of the world.
Indeed, Covid-19 is pushing businesses to change their modes of operation, with some entrepreneurs mastering the art of multitasking to remain afloat.
Ms Aminah Nsanja, the proprietor of Little Stars Pre-school and Day Care Centre, located in Kawempe Division Kampala District and the chief executive officer Tripple A Medicinales, a pharmaceutical company dealing in local medicine, appreciated the need of having more than one job.
When schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Nsanja did not despair. That was the kind of push she needed to make some changes in teaching pre-schoolers.
Although some parents had not paid school dues, her teachers had to be paid. Ms Nsanja is still not certain about how long this will go on but they have carried on with the syllabus through online platforms such as WhatsApp to complete the previous term’s work.
“We did not prepare for this sudden disruption but learning has to go on since we cannot stop the school from being operational,” Ms Nsanja says.
Currently, some of her staff are still teaching children through WhatsApp by sharing teaching materials with parents and guiding them on how they can help their children learn from home.
“We sometimes carry out online classes via video conferencing with parents and learners. I have to pay security guards, electricity bills and maintenance for school premises,” she adds.
“It is hard to ask money from parents despite keeping in touch with them because many are also financially struggling during this Covid period. Some have not cleared previous term arrears,” says Ms Nsanja.
But with the passion she has for her businesses, she says it is now time to juggle between the two to stay afloat with hopes she will reconcile the two when things come back to normalcy. “For now, it is about staying afloat”, she says.
Now that schools are closed, Ms Nsanja has focused all her energy on her Tripple A pharmaceutical local herb business which she started in 2014.
Thanks for the extra skill she has to mix herbal medicine. Her products are made from natural ingredients such as garlic, honey and ginger mainly addressing diseases such as cough, flu and ulcers.
She says she mastered the skill of making local medicine during her first child’s maternity leave in 2014. She is a health coach too.
She conducts online health coaching sessions on her Facebook page and markets her local medicinal products. Most of her sales have been conducted online and she does deliveries to clients using SafeBoda.
Ms Nsanja who has bagged about Shs150,000 per month admits making more sales during the lockdown.
“Many people like my products and the feedback from my customers is that the products are effective. It gives me the courage to improve further,” Ms Nsanja says.
Before lockdown, she had secured a distribution licence from National Drug Authority, permitting her to distribute her products to pharmacies. She is yet to pick the licence.
“I am optimistic that I will make more sales when my products are on the shelves in some of the pharmacies in the country. I was originally doing this single handedly only selling my products door to door and doing deliveries for orders from my online customers,” Ms Nsanja says.
Losing a job is a traumatising experience. In the contemporary world, most people define themselves by their profession. But it is time to reflect, step back, redesign, and reflect on how you want to define yourself in future.
That job loss may be a finish line that will mark the beginning of a new race.