It is no news that Covid 19 has dealt and is still dealing a monumental blow to the global economy, we are living in it and no one knows when this will end. A conservative estimate of the cost of the outbreak by United Nations Trade and Investment Agency is about 2trillion dollars. Nigeria is still a mono-product economy with oil as the mainstay, as at today price of a barrel of oil is below $27, and the budget is predicated on $57 per barrel. The decline in oil demand is estimated to surpass one million barrels per day. The sad thing is that there are no buffers, we are in the second month of lockdown and apart from sectors like food, healthcare and logistics, so many businesses are hemorrhaging, some have disappeared and SMEs that make up to above 48% of the GDP are on life support. The Naira has lost substantial value and is on a downward spiral with no end in sight. I am a promotional solution Specialist and my company Dugo Ltd provides total creative solution in the management and service of promotional merchandise, recognition products and souvenirs using various customization processes. We also manufacture bags locally but whether you produce or import almost everything directly or indirectly are made in China except human beings. Local production enables us to empower more Nigerians because of the multiplier effect coupled with reduction in foreign currency requirement.
In the past few weeks I have attended many on line capacity building programs, prayer meetings, staff meetings, birthday party and even funeral. Everything is virtual including hugs, kisses and birthday cakes!
Everything we knew post Covid has changed and our new normal is very abnormal. As we return to work what should Entrepreneurs like me who still want to be in business and thrive against all odds do!
It is the time to press the reset button so that you can reinvent your business and Re-emerge. Before you press that reset button, the following must be done in order to set the tone for success:
SELF AUDIT: What is your state of mind? Pump up with enthusiasm, optimism, nature abhors vacuum so saturate your mind with motivation and inspirational content. The holy bible is a timeless and priceless resource. Quit worrying because according to Tony Robbins “Worrying is like sitting on a rocking horse, it gives you something to do but you don’t get anywhere doing it” Get busy and do what makes you happy. Spend quality time with your loved ones.
Keep a positive attitude, empower and motivate yourself via different digital platforms as well as read books, seek knowledge with a vengeance. Listen to both local and international news, information is key, the world is a global village, you need to be informed and build competence. You might have to change your business model or even exit in case your business does not exist anymore! Watch out for new policies that are coming out from the government, will they affect your business negatively? Take care of your health, only the living can run a business. Ask yourself why you are in this business, is the passion strong enough to weather the storm ahead, remember passion will not pay your bills.
CLIENT AUDIT: I hope you are in touch with your clients via different media just to show that you care. This is the time to profile your clients find out who are the 20% that give you 80% of your business, Pareto Principles of 80 /20 rule works in every human endeavor, shower them with good service, as a matter of fact cash is king so customer-centric service should be in your DNA at this time. You have to feel the heartbeat of the client and find out what they need and not what you have which you think they need.
Find out their budget because prudence and cost sensitivity is the way to go, every business is cutting down on cost. Profiling helps to know if you need to diversify your customer base, it is risky to put all your eggs in one basket, so that if one sector is in trouble your whole business is not challenged. Research the different sectors and decide the type of customers you want to focus on.
STAFF AUDIT: This time calls for a clear cut Job description and key performance indicators (KPI) well spelt out. No business in this dispensation can afford to carry excess luggage. We need staff that are skilled and competent and not just because of the certificates they claim to have. We need team members with entrepreneurial mindset who can multitask! There is nowhere for any idle hands to hide because performance must be appraised which is why your staff are referred to as human capital. Try outsourcing areas that are not core to the business. Every core staff must be technologically competent, staying at home for 6week has shown that almost everything can be done online. keep and motivate competent, committed and loyal staff, they are critical to survival in every business post Covid:19 so there is urgent need to train and retrain your team for relevant skill. The brutal truth is innovating or die
EXPENDITURE AUDIT: This is the time for detailed analysis of your expenditure, cut and prune, dispassionately look at what you are spending money on, what are cheaper alternatives? outsourcing instead of purchasing, ask for credit from your vendors and advance payment from your clients. Renegotiate where there is foreign exchange exposure for commitments made before Covid 19. This is the time for profitability analysis, is your business really profitable or you are confusing activity with profitability.
What products or service make up your cash cow, face the cash because cash is king. If your business is import based with substantial foreign exchange requirement this is the time to rethink your business model. After this audit, next is the moment of truth and that is do you still have a business or is it time to learn, unlearn and relearn. The audit is like looking at the mirror, from what you see you will know if you still have a business or not According to Albert Einstein ‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’. One of my favorite quotes is by Abraham Lincoln ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it ‘
In part 2 of this article, I will conclude with ‘Innovate, Reinvent and Re-emerge’.