Strategic responses in the Covid-19 period: A study of selected small and meduim enterprises in the Western Cape
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The COVID-19 pandemic devastated businesses globally, leading to significant economic and social challenges. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been particularly vulnerable, and their survival and resilience have become critical factors in the national economic recovery of countries globally. This study examines the strategic responses adopted by SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the strategies on the survival and resilience of SMEs in Cape Town, Western Cape. A qualitative research approach was used in this study to examine a purposive sample of ten (10) SMEs drawn from different sub-sectors. The researcher made use of a semi-structured interview schedule to collect data. The key findings indicate that SMEs adopted strategic and operational turnaround strategies to mitigate the financial and cashflow problems, temporary business closures, and loss of markets and clients. This further indicates strong organisational capabilities in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic environment disruptions changes. The main study conclusions are that SMES improved their chances of survival during the pandemic by adopting a combination of strategic and turnaround strategies through agility and resilience in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic environment. The study recommendations include the need for SMEs to enhance their capacity and competence in continuous monitoring of alignment of strategies with changes in the environment, government and stakeholders support investing in technology, training and development that fosters innovation, creativity, and adaptive organisation cultures that enhance resilience and survival during challenging times.