There’s no doubt that this is a challenging and uncertain time for South Africa and the rest of the world. While President Ramaphosa’s announcement of the gradual easing of the lockdown may have provided some light at the end of the tunnel, the next few weeks will be far from normal. 

Even under regular circumstances, life as a small business can be tough. Take cash flow disruption, for example – small gaps can spiral into additional fees, late payments, and other damaging consequences. Recent research among SMEs in South Africa found that cash flow and late payments were the primary concerns, with 91% having experienced late payments in 2019. 

The president’s R500 billion stimulus package, the Department of Small Business Development’s coronavirus debt relief fund, and banks introducing new debt relief measures will no doubt help some SMEs breathe a small sigh of relief. But the foreseeable future is not

Adam and Maria Barkla are award-winning contract milkers in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. After winning ‘Share Farmer of the Year’ at the Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards earlier this year, we spoke to Maria about how they’ve grown their business, Green to Gold, over the last five years. 

What’s your story? How did you get into farming?

I came to New Zealand from Argentina with the idea of travelling and working part time. I was working at the New World supermarket in Remuera when I met my husband, Adam. He wanted to help me learn English so we got to know each other. A little while later…we had our first daughter!

We moved to Whakatane, Adam’s home town to settle our family. We started working on the family farm for Adam’s uncle and aunt, and two seasons later we were contract milking on a newly purchased

By Chris Legaspi

As a small business owner, taking things to the next level will always be an objective, because who wouldn’t want to expand into new markets and grow profits sooner or later?

To make this happen, you’ll be needing investors to help you fund your start-up’s operations. You also want to create and sustain enough consumer demand the whole time for your product or service and business model since it’s one of the indicators that your business is ready to scale.

How, then, do you secure your business’s potential—even if it’s still in the early stages—to grow in the near future? Here are some ideas that have worked for today’s businesses, which most likely started from where you are right now.

1. Aim for Simplicity

The simpler, the better. It’s what most people are aiming for these days.

Since life can get really busy so quickly, people want

Some people plan to learn a new language, others are bracing themselves to tidy the kitchen cupboards. Both noble pursuits of equal ambition, but as we adjust to this new way of life, it’s easy to take an eye off a more pressing matter: our emotional wellbeing. The truth is, extended periods of remote working, social distancing measures and shifting family dynamics all pose challenges to the mental wellbeing of our workforces. 

Dr Heather Bolton, Head of Psychology, at workplace mental health platform, Unmind, told us about the seven key areas of wellbeing. 

Taking the following measures will help you to proactively manage your mental health while working from home.


Humans are social beings; we’re hardwired to need community. Feelings of loneliness are entirely normal during social distancing. But loneliness isn’t about having no one else around – it’s about forming meaningful connections.

  • Schedule in socials: arrange to
(Photo: Xerocon Brisbane 2019)

As we continue to adapt in these difficult times, all businesses are making tough decisions about how we operate to keep people safe and healthy. We’re also all looking for new ways to stay connected, share experiences and offer support to each other as we navigate the months ahead.

For us at Xero, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to cancel our Xerocon Sydney event which was scheduled to take place in September this year.  

After assessing all the guidance from global authorities and relevant government agencies around travel and large-scale gatherings, we feel this is the right thing to do to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers and our employees.

We know Xerocon is the highlight on the calendar for thousands of our partners (and us too!). But with great uncertainty on the year ahead, we must prioritise our community’s health and

Louisa Ziane, Chief Operating Officer, set up Toast Ale in 2015 to brew “planet-saving” beer. As Chief Operating Officer, she manages their commitment to people, planet and profit. 

In response to the UK lockdown, Toast Ale have relaunched their website with an improved online shop, offering free delivery, to sell beer directly to customers. They’ve also found creative ways to continue delivering on their social mission – even under such circumstances.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

Food production is the biggest contributor to climate change, but one third of all food is wasted. We’re here to change that. We brew planet-saving beer out of surplus fresh bread. All of our profits go to charities dedicated to fixing the food system. 

How have you adapted to the Covid-19 lockdown? 

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our business because around 70% of our sales were to pubs,