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How small businesses can make investments to weather the electricity crisis

Owners who are serious about staying in business should rather think long term.

With small businesses already dealing with hikes in Vat and petrol, coupled with decreased consumer spending, load shedding is a bridge too far, particularly for restaurateurs.

For those who took their chances with the last rounds of load shedding and held back on purchasing equipment for standby measures, now might be the time to make those investments.  

Many establishments often increase their prices to cover the cost of capital equipment, but this may not be the smartest move as it drives the existing customer base away, not to mention new business.

As it is, consumers are either reducing their restaurant visits or scaling down to just main courses and drinks to reduce the overall spend. Owners who are serious about staying in business should rather think long term. We all thought that we’d seen the back of load-shedding, but it is back in full force.

Those restaurant owners who bought gas stoves during the power crisis a few year ago are now at a distinct advantage. Therefore communicating that you have this facility available is paramount to good trade. If not, now is the time to invest in going gas and running fridges and other electrical appliances via a generator.

If you want to attract business, then you need to show customers value – that you’re prepared to invest in the right equipment to keep them supplied during the dark days of load shedding. 

Restaurateurs can even couple load shedding times with special deals, driving these on social media platforms or adverts and even inexpensive flyers.

Scot Kirton, chef proprietor for the La Colombe Group in Franschhoek, says that adapting to change is key, whether it’s in respect to a declining economy or load shedding.

“Restaurants have had a tough time in Cape Town but now we need to adapt in other ways to keep our restaurants operating,” says Kirton.

Uninterruptible power supplies and back-up power inverter systems that keep tills and computers running  should also be considered.

Even if you have a generator, it can take a few seconds to kick in once the power goes down. But a UPS will bridge the gap and reduce the risk to vital equipment that can be severely damaged during sudden power outages. 

Load shedding, it seems, is here to stay. It’s essential that business owners take that investment step to operating fluidly when the lights go out.

Erin Louw is Retail Capital’s group brand officer.

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What owners are NOT thinking of staying in business DUH !!!!!

Besides paying for equipment to generate our own electricity, we must also pay for alarms systems, and armed response services to compensate for the lack of police services, satellite tracking devices on our cars and trucks, we have to provide basic and then situational education system to all staff we need to employ because of the poor education systems available, we become the tax collector on behalf of the fiscus for all sales taxes the government levy upon us. Our defence forces find it difficult to even stand in a straight line as demonstrated in Muizenburg recently, so they will not be able to defend us in the event of a crisis, so where does that leave us? The only ones smiling are the MP’s, Ministers and other government employees who have the ability to dip into the till with their light fingers. Do we really need a highly paid government when the people (the voters) are dealt such a raw deal and we pay a price for everything which is considered basic everywhere else in the world?

So government raised the cost of business by lets say 10-20% on average by load shedding and rate increases?

Taxpayers should revolt and refuse to pay tax.. Since we’re all about Unions in SA, taxpayers should unionize and send a clear message. No way SARS or government can take them all on at the same time.

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