Author: [email protected]

Open for business

To open or not to open in Level 3?

Most businesses are now able to operate at Level 3 but Pavlo Phitidis argues that this doesn’t mean that you should rush back without considering the implications.

His point is that all the costs you negotiated down to keep your business afloat during lockdown will probably be due once you go back to work. And are you able to cover those costs yet?

Listen to the podcast of Pavlo’s discussion about this with Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show on 702 & CapeTalk:

Re-negotiating with these suppliers, based on a percentage of revenue, for example will enable you to re-start without suffocating under the burden of full costs as per pre-lockdown, when your income is not going to be back to where it was pre-lockdown.

Pavlo advises:

Be cautious

Do not take bets, which if they fail, will sink you altogether. He uses the example of learning to jump from a 3m height. You don’t start at 3m – you start at 30cm and practice jumping perfectly. When you have that, you go up to 45cm – and only move on when you land perfectly, 500 times over, at that height – it has to be safe before you can proceed

Be customer-led

Only choose 2 or 3 of all the products and services you could take to market post-lockdown. See what your customers need – and concentrate on those rather than chasing the ones you THINK will generate the biggest revenues.

Go to the money

Focus on your customers and categorise them into Red, Amber and Green – in terms of their likelihood to survive lockdown. It may feel very callous but if you are struggling, you can’t afford to invest in your Red clients, who may not be there next month. You need to go to the money – those who will likely pay, and will likely be there next year.

Get to the coalface

If you consider this re-opening as a battle, you need to be right at the frontline of the battle, to listen to what your customers are saying, and to understand what is really working, and what isn’t, to make the calls on what to do next. You have everything to lose as the business owner – so you’ve got to be confident in the market insight that you have.

Get paid

Don’t be bullied by clients who are demanding excessive terms to secure their business – negotiate terms that give you some cashflow – maybe it will be monthly payments for the duration of the project rather than your usual upfront terms, but you cannot afford to invest any time and effort in anything you aren’t getting paid for. And you don’t know how desperate that client is and whether their promises to pay at the end are realistic.

Marketing messages

As we re-open, you need to tell your customers that you are open again. Without knowing what their circumstances and experiences are, you need messaging that is appropriate to the times. Maybe they aren’t opening, maybe they have had to lay off team members, maybe they are scared of re-opening. Consider your tone, approach and offer carefully to ensure your message resonates with their need needs.


positive mindset

Building a positive frame of mind in a negative environment

We live in unstable times, and a brief look at the news headlines is almost always disheartening. Constant exposure to the news, along with a teetering economy, can make you feel deflated, frustrated, and ready to give up as a business owner. Here we look at what to do when you’re feeling despondent, by examining seven traits of successful business owners.


The antidote for fear and depression is found in action. Your growing business is a direct reflection of your own self, so overcoming fear and committing to moving forward, despite current circumstances, is essential. By taking action, you are empowering yourself and your business. Work with what you have and take small steps in your business, taking time to reflect, learn, and build.


Circumstances may not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean you should stop. Rather, go with the flow, and adopt the Master Oogway (yes, the wise turtle from Kung Fu Panda) approach: “Your mind is like water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But, if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.” Your growing business is defined by your approach to it – agitate the waters of it, and it will be very difficult to navigate. But the moment you let things settle and go with the current of your business’ waters, you’ll see your way forward, far more clearly.


Surrounding yourself with the right type of people goes beyond just who you pick to work with you within your business – it includes the people you spend time with, in any circumstances. Spend time with people who inspire you, and who utilise the positive approach you wish to adopt.


Circumstances may not be ideal, but that does not stop you from taking control. Just as German business people have re-engineered their businesses to take advantage of unique opportunities abroad, you too can adapt your business, and approach to the circumstances surrounding it, and keep flowing like water.


The oracle of Delphi told people that they need to be concerned with being themselves, and immediately forgive others who expect them to be anyone else. By being real in what you do, and remembering that your authenticity is energising, you won’t easily be imitated, and you’ll retain your focus as you move forward, with certainty.

This was more recently (about a hundred and ten years ago) brought back into light by Wallace D. Wattles who published his book, The Science of Getting Rich in 1910. This unusual piece of writing will sow seeds of hope in all and any that feel the weight of despair in a the midst of negativity and recessionary economic activity. Mr Wallace talks to a mental technique that he called “thinking in the Certain Way, to establish a state of positivity and self-affirmation.


The constant stream of ‘noise’ from the outside world can be difficult to ignore, but finding ways to clear your head, and clear the fog, is important. Having clarity of mind will help you to make good decisions, and take purposeful action, for your business.


Your ability to adapt and respond to new challenges will serve your business well. During uncertain times, you can try new ways of conducting your business, experiment with new marketing methods, or try a different sales approach.

If you’re finding it difficult to move your business forward through tumultuous times, get in touch with our team at Aurik. We’ll help you build your business into an asset of value, no matter what hits the headlines.

pavlo phitidis

Practical, action driven content to grow your established business

Pavlo Phitidis from Aurik will share solutions-based content to help businesses in the R15million to R300million annual turnover bracket to accelerate growth and deepen value. This content can be accessed via the weekly Ince Connect Business newsletter. Watch him describe, in 1 minute, who should follow his content and why.

Reset Rebuild Reignite

Reset, rebuild and reignite your business in a crisis economy

Covid-19 has wrought havoc on the global economy and forced many businesses to shutdown or to drastically alter their operating conditions. Things are not going to go back to ‘business as usual’ and hoping they will is not a strategy.

In this webinar, Aurik CEO Pavlo Phitidis offers business owners a practical guide to how they can plan their strategy to not only survive the lockdown but to lay the foundation to thrive in the new economy. The principles he shares will build a business that is resilient to change, and will stand up to future setbacks and crises.

Watch it to gain an understanding of:

  • A likely 18 month view of the economy post-lockdown
  • Adopting a winning mindset to cope with uncertainty and stress
  • Using the lockdown to rest your business
  • Using the 3 – 6months after lockdown to rebuild your business
  • Using the 6 – 12 months after lockdown to accelerate growth

For more Corona Business Battle Plan webinars visit

As the economy gradually opens, how do you reopen your business?

How you re-enter will depend on what the lockdown meant for your business. Some were completely shut, others were considered essential services but with limited operations. In many cases their supply chains were affected, especially initially, which in turn affected their customers. No business has been left unscathed by Corona, but there are certainly degrees, and the degree to which you were closed will affect the speed of your re-entry.

Listen to Aurik CEO Pavlo Phitidis speaking to Bruce Whitfield about this on The Money Show on 702 and CapeTalk:

What to expect going forward?

Pavlo’s take is that we will see waxing and waning of the levels – a loosening and tightening of the phases as we need to contain outbreaks over the next months.

As there is not a lot of clarity around how this will roll out, there will be a lot of uncertainty and confusion, as well as the emergence of a new normal in terms of living and working in uncertainty.

What is critical to manage amid all of this change is your own morale. And Pavlo uses the Kubler Ross curve.

When it comes to opening you business again, you have to consider:

  • Changes in customers – their lives have changed and if you don’t do things differently your customers will move on to someone who understands their new needs.
  • Your supply chain – if you don’t prepare for changes in your supply chain, you’re going to be caught short as there have been major disruptions throughout the economy. It is uncertain how long it may take to get everyone back online.
  • ‘Spending money’ has been obliterated. And regardless of whether you deal with consumers directly, you need to understand the impact of this on your clients, who are dealing with consumers.
  • A realistic sales projection. If you have put all your reserves into surviving the lockdown, is there anything left to cushion poor performance when you reopen? If your sales are only going to be at 50% of what they were – what needs to change to keep you afloat at that rate?
  • Your negotiating position when you rush back to your physical operations. The landlord who gave you leniency over the lockdown will now expect full payment – can you afford that?
  • Some things won’t change: the things often complained about most before Corona will still need to be dealt with, from compliance around labour laws and BBBEE to issues with power supply. You have to be conservative – hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Dealing with people

You need to deal with people with a completely different set of expectations than you had before the lockdown. Your team, customers, suppliers and network. Listen to what people say they need and test what works – then stick with that.

At the same time, be prepared for them to change their minds. There is a skittishness in the market, due to the uncertainty and which is often fed by social media news which plays to all our fears and all our biases.  So be careful of what you read, it can be detrimental and take you off your path of action.

Read from credible sources, then take a view. And stick with it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by bad news, fake news and hype.

Stay online: Develop a pattern of digital engagement and stick to this even if you are back in the office, so that it is very easy to go back to digital engagements if we go back into a lockdown situation.

What NOT to do?

Don’t go back with full force.
Pavlo uses the analogy of a goat vs a leopard. A goat has horns which curl back behind it’s head, and when it goes into battle it puts its head down and charges forth – but when the target moves the goat carries on in the same direction

Rather approach your re-entry like a leopard. A Leapard stalks its prey by creeping three steps, stopping to check the wind; assess the the lay of the land, then takes three more steps and stops to assess again.  Proceed with caution, check what is and isn’t working and keep making the changes needed that work for you.

Be very cautious of the debt relief schemes – placing yourself in a position of indebtedness is scary, even though these loads may have come through on very favourable interest rates.  The economy is going to take time to recover so be cautious.


Build together

Why SME growth is strategically important to the country – now more than ever

Through a number of webinars, meeting and other engagements, Pavlo spoke to roughly 5 000 business owners in a week, in South Africa, a few in the USA and a number in the UK. He also spoke to a number of corporates and through these discussions learnt why SMEs are so important – strategically and technically – to the economy.

He discussed why SME growth is not only possible but essential right now with Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show on 702 and CapeTalk. Listen to the podcast:


Why is SME growth so important right now, when survival seems more appropriate?

People don’t believe business can grow in an economy as depressed as ours. Pavlo agrees that big companies can’t as they require the whole economy to grow for them to grow.

But there are approximately 150 000 real businesses operating in the SME sector in South Africa, compared to between 1 500 – 2000 corporates.

It is clear where the tougher competition is – in the pool of 150 000. In the SME environment, you have to be one of those to get ahead, to get into a growth mindset, in order to take marketshare from their competitors who are sitting waiting. You have got no choice but to grow.

Your attitude: what you think, guides the way you act. And how you act builds up your lived environment. The mere fact that you have a growing mindset means that you’re looking out for ways to make things work, trying things that might work, and applying those that do.

It’s a great time to grow. We’re operating in an environment where everything you did to achieve success pre-Covid will have to be fundamentally different post-Covid.
For this reason if you can act very fast (and SMES are small enough to do this, while corporates are too big to respond this fast) and test and test and test to see what lands with your customers who are in a totally changed reality, you’re in a position to win.

How do you grow in the 5 stages of lockdown?

The 5 stages take us from hard lockdown to an open but fundamentally changed economy. The approaches in the different stages are very different.

In lockdown, growth might mean consolidation and shedding costs. It should mean engaging differently with customers, suppliers and staff to understand how client’s lives are changing and what problems they have, that your business can solve.

From there as it opens a bit, it becomes a great time to build. You can see what is working, and rebuild it to create scale – this basically means you can do more business without undermining your ability to deliver on your promise.

Then – if you’re growing towards the opening of the economy, you’ll be among the minority with any cash and you will be able to pick up stock and equipment at fractions of the cost, to source great talent who have been laid off elsewhere, and to pick up the customers from your struggling competitors.

The big opportunity is for corporates:

Other than getting their own business stabilised, a big company’s only chance for growth is to get their SME suppliers and SME customer businesses right. Each SME in the value chain is part of part of your network and everyone has to thrive to keep the ecosystem vibrant.

How does a country grow through it?

The biggest economies in the world have some sectors that are more competitive internally, others compete globally. If South Africa could pick 4 or 5 sectors in which we could compete globally and then invest resources on skilling up people, then creatinhg micro-enterprises, developing and supporting SMEs, and then businesses in these sectors, we will develop the capacity to become world-class players in these fields.

If you’re looking for your business’s growth plan through the Covid Economy, contact us. visit


Reset, Rebuild & Reignite your business for the new economy

We are not going back to ‘business as usual anytime soon.

The habits, models, engagements and staffing that earned success in business pre-lockdown will not be the same that lead to success post-lockdown.

Now is the time to take the actions needed to reshape and rebuild that business into relevance.

Pavlo Phitidis hosted a 60 minute webinar that unpacked the following:

  • A likely 18 month view of the economy post lockdown
  • Adopting a winning mindset to cope with uncertainty and stress
  • Using the lockdown to rest your business
  • Using the 3-6months after lockdown to rebuild your business
  • Using the 6-12 months after lockdown to accelerate growth

Watch a recording of that session below and find all of our other Corona Economy webinars and resources at

© 2003-2021 Aurik
Aurik and Asset of Value are trademarks of Aurik