Understanding COVID-19 and how to ensure your business comes out stronger

This article will run through some of the platforms that can be used to keep operations running smoothly with remote staff, as well as how to ensure your business comes out of this outbreak stronger and ready to dominate your niche online.

This article will cover:

  1. What is the coronavirus and COVID-19?

  2. Origin of COVID-19

  3. Transmission of COVID-19

  4. Symptoms of COVID-19

  5. COVID-19 in South Africa

  6. President Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address

  7. Two ways to keep business operations running smoothly

  8. Ensuring your business comes out stronger

  9. Understanding your online presence and how to improve it

  10. Conclusion

As South Africa is preparing for the worst many businesses are shutting their doors and asking staff to work from home or take unpaid leave to help South Africa get ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a digital agency we often use freelancers and have staff from around the world collaborating on projects together in a seamless manner.

But for most businesses this is an unusual way of doing business and can be daunting if it has never been done before.

As business is slowing down over the next few weeks it may be worth using the spar time to optimize your current business's platforms online to help boost sales when things start to become normal again.

But before we jump into how to stay productive, let's take a quick look at the coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is the coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause a range of symptoms from mild to server diseases.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus. Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Origin of COVID-19

The first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was traced back to November 2019 in China, according to the South Morning China Post. A 55-year-old individual from Hubei province in China may have been the first person to have contracted COVID-19.

Experts first thought the virus originated at a wet market in China. Although after more cases were confirmed, some of the infected people had no connection to the market.

It's suspected that the virus originated in a bat and then somehow hopped into a pangolin, and then to a human. The virus can now pass between people with no animal contact.

Transmission of COVID-19

With the spread of the coronavirus, people around the world are now at risk of contracting the virus. The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets (similar to other influenza viruses) caused by coughing or sneezing, which means the virus can be spread easily from person to person.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Once contracted, the virus has a 14 day incubation period before the infected person will show any symptoms. Currently, the only way to diagnose the coronavirus is with a laboratory test, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular test, on a respiratory tract sample (e.g. sample from nose, throat or chest).

The symptoms of the coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.

COVID-19 in South Africa

The confirmed case count of COVID-19 has risen to 61 in South Africa as of the 16 March. Causing the coronavirus to be declared a national disaster. In total there are 164,837 confirmed cases in 149 countries. With the confirmed case count rising the government in South Africa is implementing a range of measures to help combat the number of people contracting the coronavirus.

President Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address to the nation on the 16th of March has indicated measures which will be implemented which will affect the South African and global economy. If you missed the address, see it here. Thease measures will likely affect your business or, in some way, your livelihood.

President Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address

These are a few of the bullet points that were released shortly after President Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address:

  • South Africans to limit contact between persons,

  • Most ports into South Africa will be closed from Monday,

  • Non-essential travel prohibitedNon-essential domestic travel to be stopped,

  • Schools will be closed from 18th March until Easter,

  • Limit contact between groups of people,

  • Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited, 

  • Avoid anyone with flu-like symptoms,

COVID-19 and business

Most businesses in South Africa and around the globe rely on human interaction for their operations and services. Unless you are a freelancer working from home, it's unlikely that you don't interact with people throughout the day during work.

The recommendations for limited human interaction as well as the limitations placed on gatherings and travel has caused many businesses wondering what their next steps are and how to stay afloat.

Because of the contagious nature of the virus, there is a growing fear of contracting the virus. Causing more and more people to avoid others. This is making doing business very difficult and in some cases almost impossible.

Luckily for businesses and working people, we live in a digital age and there are ways of staying productive without ever leaving your bedroom.

This may be a time to look inwards at your business and start optimizing or updating current processes and online presence.

This may include creating or updating your search engine optimization strategy to rank higher in search engines and updating your online assets, such as your website or social platforms.

We have a short article on easy to implement SEO tips which will help your website move up in the search results. Something worth doing while you have spare time that will improve organic traffic in the long run.

Two ways to keep business operations running smoothly

1. Conduct meetings online with thease easy-to-use platforms

There are many different platforms where meetings can be held online for free using video. Keeping the business on track is simple with thease hassle-free easy to use platforms. They can be used over your phone, laptop, tablet or smart TV.

Google provides a free platform called Google Hangouts Meets for one-on-one meetings or meetings between multiple people. You can use the Google calendar or the platform to schedule video calls with teammates, clients or friends. A link will automatically be sent to the persons' involved emails with a link to attend the meet.

If you need something more robust, you can use platforms such as Zoom or GoToMeeting. Zoom offers a free plan for 1-to1 meetings and GoToMeetings starts at $14 a month. Both platforms offer a lot more features than Google Hangouts Meet but do also come with a price. If you need many attendees, to record your meetings, have more interaction than just video (like comments) then the paid plans may be better suited to your business.

All of the platforms are very user-friendly, send email reminders, have screen sharing options which are perfect for conducting your meetings from the comfort of your home.

2. Keeping projects on track while staff are working from home

Keeping your projects on track may seem overwhelming given that close human interaction is advised against. With staff and clients wanting to keep there distance, it can be difficult to keep everything moving in the right direction. But again there are platforms built around remote work and have shown to improve the productivity of teams that have the option of sitting in the same room together.

The first is called Monday.com and is a platform built around working remotely. This platform lets you collaborate with team members on multiple projects and keep updated on each team members deliverables. You can share files, video call, message, integrate with other platforms and see the big picture at a glance, among many other features.

The packages start from $39 a month for 5 users and go up from there.

Another great platform is called Slack. This platform is also built around bringing teams together that are remote. Slack is more built so that users can organize conversations around specific projects, share files and have video or voice calls. This tool is great for keeping up to date with projects and helping there to be one easy to follow the conversation around a deliverable without searching through emails. Slack starts from 0$ per month which is great for small teams.

Ensuring your business comes out stronger

Staying productive as business slows down. Ensure your business is ready to crush the competition online.

During this time it's likely that sales are going to drop quite significantly across almost all niches of business. In China, retail sales have dropped by 20.5% and the unemployment rate has gone up. South Africa is heading in the same direction and this means tough times ahead for most businesses.

One of the worst-hit is the travel industry which is predicted to lose 820 billion dollars in the coming months with some airlines forcing their staff to take 8-weeks of unpaid leave.

The South African economy is going to be hit hard as well and this means many businesses won't have orders to fulfill and services to render, leaving staff members standing around.

By Friday’s close, the FTSE/JSE All Share Index was down 22.6% for the year to date.

But there is a way to come out of this COVID-19 pandemic stronger.

The loss of revenue will take its toll on any business but you can ensure your business is ready to take full advantage once normal life resumes.

The two things every business needs to beat the competition but almost always puts off implementing is robust digital analytics and content creation.

While things are quiet this is a great time to create a content calendar for the next year and implement tracking across your businesses full digital landscape.

Thease are two of the most important factors when it comes to dominating your niche online and increasing traffic and conversions online and off.

Content creation

"Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less."

Content creation is one of the biggest factors when it comes to where your website will appear in the search results (SEO).

Types of content creation can include:

  • Blog posts

  • Articles

  • Optimizing website content

  • Podcasts

  • Case studies

  • E-books

  • Newsletters

Google and other search engines put huge amounts of emphasis on creating rich quality content which will not only help your website's rankings in the search results but also help improve the traffic coming to your website.

Helping you get qualified traffic that is more likely to convert.

Producing quality content will help improve your business's long term profitability by helping increase organic traffic. Creating content will also help boost the authority of your website as a whole and therefore help more of your website's pages rank in the search results.

The content must be quality and not quantity. This is why most businesses don't take the time to create content. Content creation can be a time-consuming task and will need industry experts to write the copy.

Many blog post are considered "thin" in terms of content. The content that gets shared most often is more than 3,000 words long, according to The Marketing Helpline. As blog post writing is evolving, many business are publishing content less often. Trading the number of post published for post quality.

Taking the time to create quality content over the next few weeks or months will ensure that once customers start searching online again for services and products, your business will sit much higher in the search results. Helping your business increase traffic through your website and ultimately increase sales.

Understanding your online presence and how to improve it

Having a robust tracking set-up on your website and other digital platforms can help you understand your users, where they are dropping off and how to optimize their online sales journey to purchase.

There are free platforms provided by Google such as Google Analytics for tracking users across your website and Google Search Console for tracking the health of your website.

Both of thease platforms are easy to use and can help show how users are interacting with your website, where they are coming from, demographics, devices used and a whole range more.

Implementing both is also a simple task of copying a tracking code into your website's head tag. Most website builder platforms such as Wix.com or Wordpress have a place from the website's dashboard where you can paste the code and it will automatically be added to your website.

To find your tracking code see this Google Analytics guide.


The COVID-19 virus is causing harm everywhere you look and it may be a while still until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. With harm caused to people, business slowing down and the fear people are feeling.

A silver lining is hard to find, but if you focus on your businesses online presence and implement analytics on your website, your business will at least have a strong head start on your competition when things start returning to normal.

We all from Deep Coral Agency hope you all stay safe during this period.

Please see some helpful COVID-19 information below: