5 proven business hacks for surviving Zambia’s load shedding

Posted by: Yvette d'Unienville
Category: Surviving Zambia
Backup generator at Lowden Lodge

Small businesses are feeling the biggest pinch from Zambia’s load shedding (power rationing) increase to 15 hours daily. With no electricity from early morning each day, well into the night, SMEs are asking themselves, is there any way to survive?

The short answer, yes. Motivational author Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” And surviving as a business through the darkest times (sorry … pun intended 😊) will make you, and your business, stronger.

We’ve put together a list of proven hacks to help your business survive #loadshedding.

1) Swap your PC for a laptop and invest in a second battery.

Regardless of the type of business you run (or own), odds are a computer is part of that daily operation. Trading in your PC for a laptop with good battery life means you can be operational for 6 hours or more during load shedding. Investing in a second battery to swap out means you can be powered up for most of the day.

Remember to customise your power settings for minimum power output, including dimming your screen and reducing background apps.

2) Invest in a power bank for your phone and/or tablet.

Our mobile phones are now central to our daily business operation. And if you’re not doing so already, you’d be surprised how much of your work you can get done on your smartphone. From the obvious tasks like internet banking and emails, to the less-known functionality like the full Microsoft Office Suite available on your phone.

Power banks have become incredibly cheap in the last couple of years, while providing more power output than ever. By running many of your business tasks on your phone or tablet, and using a power bank (or two) to keep them charged all day, you can accomplish much of your daily workload during load shedding.

Power banks have become incredibly cheap in the last couple of years, while providing more power output than ever.
Power banks have become incredibly cheap in the last couple of years, while providing more power output than ever.

3) Install surge protectors.

Voltage surges and power fluctuations are part and parcel of load shedding, with power stations being powered up and down daily. Surge protection plugs are inexpensive and easy to install. And can save you the cost of replacing damaged equipment that won’t be covered under your warranty.

With warranties in mind, remember to use a power adapter (extension) with a surge protector rather than cutting / removing your appliance plug(s). Cutting off or otherwise removing the original plug from an appliance voids any remaining warranty.

4) Make your office mobile.

If you run a ‘bricks and mortar’ operation this is not possible to do. But for anyone with a digital, consultancy or otherwise ‘mobile’ business has the opportunity to use this to their advantage. Find a restaurant or coffee shop with a backup generator you can work from. Join (or start) a social network group for local SMEs and solopreneurs willing to do an ‘office swap’.

Sharing your office space with others when your electricity is on, and in turn using theirs when yours is off, is a simple, cheap way of reducing the impact load shedding has on your business. With the added advantage of growing your local business network and making new friends in the process.

Shared workspaces can be an asset during load shedding
Working on the go, or in shared workspaces, can offer a business advantage during load shedding

5) Invest in a backup generator.

Spending your hard-earned savings during a time of economic crisis seems like the dumbest thing to do. But as the saying goes, “without risks, there are no rewards”. And having a backup generator to power you up when ‘everyone else’ has no electricity, gives your business an unparalleled advantage.

If you’re ‘that one coffee shop’ that is open during load shedding, business will be better than ever. Create a new ‘load shedding menu’ that’s cut down to basics – using minimal electricity (ditch the chips and deep fried samoosas) and mostly non-perishable produce.

Think outside the box and use your generator to your advantage. Perhaps you can turn your current office space into a ‘rent a desk’ business work hub? Where ‘mobile’ business owners (from point 4) can come and use the space with electricity and WiFi on an hourly rate.

You can quickly recoup the cost of your investment and running costs by providing a product, service or work space no one else has.

Do you have a load shedding business hack you’re willing to share? Or found these inspiring? Please comment below with your inspirational thoughts and ideas. #togetherwecandomore #togetherwestand #growingsmallbusinesses

Lowden Lodge has an automatic backup generator system that provides full power (including aircons and WiFi) during load shedding and unplanned power outages.

Yvette d'Unienville
Yvette d'Unienville is the Social Media Manager for Lowden Lodge. A #ProudlyZambian Graphic & Web Designer, Copywriter and Social Media Manager she believes in making the best of any situation.

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