Helping SMEs Survive the Crisis, Together
- Name: Alex Okello
- Job title: Founder
- Company: St Eliza Healthcare Services
- Programme: Survive to Thrive
- Country: Uganda
When COVID-19 hit Uganda, Alex Okello saw revenue at his affordable healthcare clinics drop by more than 50% almost overnight, as patients delayed non-essential visits.
Alex, the co-founder of St Eliza Healthcare Services, knew his business was in trouble but wasn’t sure about what steps to take to ensure survival.
As one of the first participants in AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp, launched in March 2020, the free two-week programme and tools came at the right moment.
Using the scenario mapping and cash-flow planning tools he pulled his team together and came up with an emergency cost-cutting plan to keep the hospital afloat.
“I’m so happy that I realised the impact this was having on cash-flow early,” said Alex, whose clinics provide quality healthcare services for women, children, and the elderly in Kampala.
With the cash flow projection tool, we realised our business would be losing if we continued operating the way we were operating. We worked together with our staff to come up with a solution, and the buy-in, ideas, and collaboration from our team was powerful.”
More than 2,000 entrepreneurs like Alex have now taken AMI’s virtual ‘rapid response’ Business Survival Bootcamp, from 36 countries in Africa.
Times like these demand that business leaders be coaches
At the best of times most of us need prompting to do the things we actually want to do. Most of us need a coach, mentor, engaged boss or patiently honest friend to nudge us to become what we could be at work.
Leaders see beyond what is to create what might be
I wonder what it’s like to work in the Post Office. What set me wondering was fetching a parcel on 12 May, posted in London on 1 November last year. On the one hand I was impressed that it reached me after six and a half months of travel. No one stole it. It wasn’t buried in a storeroom and eventually destroyed. It reached its intended destination. I didn’t realise this was still possible with the SA Post Office.
Customer service is the manager’s responsibility
I heard of a rural hospital that closed its doors to visitors on Freedom Day. A public holiday affords workers a rare opportunity to visit their loved ones during the week. In this case a man travelled overnight to see his father, only to be turned away: “It’s a public holiday; we’re closed.”