Load shedding has been suspended, but you shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet.
Andrew Etzinger, acting head of generation at Eskom, warned that “things could change at short notice”. Ominous.
Then there’s energy expert Ted Blom, who is counting the days until the next round hits home.
We’ve been joking in the office about the new evening survival ritual at home: make sure the laptop is charged, download something to watch, set the candles up strategically, charge the power banks and make dinner before everything goes dark.
All of this is fine if your biggest concern is what happens at home, but what about the effect of load shedding on your business?
Doing business in the dark is something all businesses, especially small businesses, should be prepared for.
Compromised physical security, electrical surge damage, spoilage of cold storage items, the cost of (unproductive) labour, and unhappy customers are just a few of the things that business owners have to deal with.
In short, if you have it together during load shedding, you have a competitive advantage.
So while we wait for Eskom to find the magic switch, here are some creative solutions to help minimise the load, and keep your business online.
Wireless Card Machine:
A wireless card machine, like Yoco, is the best way to keep the cash coming in when there’s no electricity.
The Wireless Pro is the latest in mobile card reader technology, and its long battery life and contactless payments feature make it the perfect card payment solution for fast-moving restaurants, cafes, retail stores and delivery services.
Cell towers often go down during load shedding, which can put a damper on connectivity, so you should consider finding alternative ways to access the internet.
Here’s a five-step plan for keeping your Yoco machine going if your mobile network is causing issues:
Make sure that when the lights are on your power bank is charging.
Power banks are ideal for keeping your devices, and they’re affordable and efficient. Just make sure you invest in one with a high power storage capacity.
Use your phone as a hotspot:
Using a mobile hotspot to stay connected is an affordable option. Just make sure your phone is charged in advance, and that you’ve tested the compatibility device with your laptop.
Dongles and routers:
Dongles and routers provide an affordable, reliable mobile internet source, using cellular data. A dongle costs about R200 and can support a few internet users at a time, whereas good mobile routers average around R1 000 and can support more users.
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS):
These powerful units can be plugged directly into your devices and electrical systems. UPSs come in a variety of sizes and capacities. UPSs can be used to power point of sale devices, computers and tills, and all types of appliances and devices.
Finally, investing in a generator is a good way to go to keep things running at full capacity.
Smaller, portable units are becoming very popular, and larger setups can be hired on a short- or long-term contracts, for a fraction of the purchase cost.
The generator size most suited for your business depends on your (absolutely necessary) electrical requirements. A shop with fridges, air conditioning, computers and tills would need at least a 5KW unit (R8 000 to R20 000), but a smaller 2KW (R2 000 to R5 000) generator can keep crucial computers, lights and basic appliances on.
And that’s it – everything you need to stay in business when everyone else is flipping that ‘open’ sign.
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