Just ahead of the presidential elections, Uganda experienced a total and national internet shutdown. Through the Uganda Communications Commission, internet service providers were ordered to implement a temporary suspension of all your internet gateways.  On Monday 18th January, the internet was partially restored after almost five days without access to online services.

This affected businesses, entrepreneurs, and general daily life in different ways. Below we will look at some lessons we learned from the internet blackout and how it can affect business and transactions in the modern world.

Physical location is still a key element

Do you still remember The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps (Product, Place, Price, Promotion)? If not, we are here to remind you that they all still matter. And maybe it’s time to revise and innovate your business.

photo of we are open signage at a restaurant

If there is a time that the element of Place mattered to small businesses, it was during the internet shutdown. As we all know, there has been an increasing number of online-based small businesses in Uganda. Most of these businesses rely on the internet to receive orders, market to potential customers and offer support.

With the shutdown, many could not carry-on business as usual and missed out on making daily sales. On the other hand, those with physical shops were doing business and making some sales.

Lesson: Even though the future of business and work is digital, having a good location/premises is still crucial to the success of your business. Especially here in Africa where customers are just getting used and transitioning to digital payments.

A physical location will also enable you to continue offering support to your customers, allows you to have another delivery channel on top of online orders, and also enables you to serve on-the-go.

Prepare for the uncertainty

Just like the COVID-19 pandemic, many Ugandans never anticipated a total internet blackout. The uncertainty can be a health crisis, political, or a natural disaster. This time it was digital and political. Many online meetings were missed, and many could not access digital files from the cloud.

Lesson: Save some files offline, or use online and offline tools that can enable you to access your files even when you do not have internet access. This can enable you to finish your work and sync files when the internet is restored. Dropbox and Google Drive Stream are some of the popular Apps you might need to check out.

Reach out to friends, family, and clients in crisis times

Many people resorted to SMS, and phone calls to reach out to friends, family, and loved ones. These are always a good time to reconnect to people we care about, to our clients, partners to keep them updated and show empathy. Just like during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown, we were in this together! 🙂


Are you looking for business support and guidance? Do not hesitate to reach out to us for support.

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