Surviving Recession For Business Owners
By Uma Nnenna, Abuja.
For a while, at the beginning, we attributed it to the change in administration until the experts gave us the diagnosis; Nigeria is experiencing an economic recession.
It doesn’t take an expert to explain what this term means though, as even the young ones who ran errands at home are themselves shocked at the hike in prices from the likes noodles to eggs, hilariously even oranges got affected.
We all feel the impact everyday, educated or the uneducated.
Transportation cost is higher, food prices have doubled and if like me you had bills in dollars pending paying them now is a nightmare, you pray the recession ends quickly before the police appears on your front door. Domestic goods offer no solace as everyone hopes to make some kind of profit from the hikes, and in all of these income did not increase even by 0.1%.
The big question is ” How Do We Survive Recession?”
Without the end in view how do live through this, pay the bills, feed the household and have extra for day to day expenses?
Many answers will readily come to mind: save more, spend less, avoid wants and concentrate on needs, forget luxuries and remove liabilities plus more and they can help but as a business not selling enough to keep afloat what can you do?
Reduction in demand has led many businesses to shut down and its understandable. I say ‘shut down than incur debt!’
But, there is a way to thrive as a business even in such times and today I’ll share with you a few that worked, and works:
Diversification: Businesses that thrive at such times diversified their products and service offerings. Usually I never advice a business or an entrepreneur to have a business built around one product, or a certain kind only. Its an ingredient for not lasting. You will notice that in times like this certain things still sell no matter how expensive it gets. This kinds of products/services are what I called renovative products, and every business should have them, but if you are struggling now I guess you don’t and my advice is to find them and buy into them. Find new streams of income and dump for now all liabilities.
Be Adaptive: Like the human body every business needs to be adaptive in nature and that would be in its openness to try new cost effective methods. If you’ve always sold iced products for example, and it now costs a ton to fuel your power generators, now is the time to find out how to sell the same products in another way. Have you tried dried, Have you tried changing working hours to daylight only, have you tried switching to laptops from PCs and introduce a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? Any business can be adaptive, you just need to figure it out.
Be Resilient: No matter the changes you effect in your business, if you lack resilience I am sorry to say that my point one and two or any other wouldn’t make a difference for you. How badly you want to survive the recession counts, your willpower also counts. As a business man or woman you’ve always lived by faith, can you not do that now?. The same way you woke daily in good times believing sales will come, you need to be that way now too. But to be resilient, ensure you are not shooting your business in the leg by still keeping expenditures you need to do away with or adapt into something else. Ensure that if you have 10 products, at least 8 still sell, and at least 4 still sell daily.
It has never been a good idea to have so many employees as a small business, I daresay even as a large business because now you have to lay-off which makes the impact of recession even worse. The best win-win I propose is to covert them to part-time or contract basis; you pay less for the same job and they have extra time to earn extra.
Maybe a walk down business history will encourage you. This is not the first nor will it be the last economic recession around the world. Businesses like yours not only survived with lesser tools, but some even thrived in times past. Also when others were shutting down, new ones were emerging and taking advantage of the numerous problems associated with economic recession. Recession can be turned into a blessing, you can have it work for you, and if others did then your can.
Go back to your drawing board, and remodel that business for success. You can, and have a great week!