Nigeria is currently going through an economic downturn and whenever there’s an economic crisis, many businesses shot down. This is because of low patronage and reduced orders. For most people, the gut reaction is to get rid of employees and close shop. While downsizing might be a good idea so you can cope with the current realities, you should read these economic downturn business tips before you decide to close your shop.
Don’t Close the doors
It might get to the point where all your employees have either been let go or have quit because they are not receiving salaries. When it gets to that point, the temptation is to close your shop or office and stop going to work. Don’t.
If you are renting your office space, you might not have much choice on whether or not to keep it open, but that isn’t what we’re talking about anyway. It is important that those who do business with you know that you are still ‘open’ to doing business. Whether you are operating from your garage, your kitchen or your Facebook page, let people know that you are not closed for business.
This was the case with Terry and Regina Locklear of Alabama. They had started a mill where they produced socks and ran it for more than 20 years. But with the global economic crisis, orders dried up and they had to let go of all their staff, but one. However, they did not close up because they knew that if they had taken that final step of closing the mill and turning off the power, they would never start back up.
Do not close the doors because when you do that, it is often very difficult to start back up again.
Do something new with something old
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The best illustration of this point is the Locklears’ daughter. With the mill almost shutting down and orders all but dried up, the Locklears did not know where next to go. That was when their daughter approached them with a plan to produce organic multi-coloured socks.
They were already in the business of producing socks but they were not getting orders. The answer to that was to change gears. Gina Locklear listened to the buzz and realised that people were going after organic. She found a new way to do an old business.
When the economic situation changes, you also need to change. Leveraging on what you already know is a good way to go.
Find new ways and platforms
The old way of doing business might not work. The truth is that when people are going through an economic crunch, their habits will change. For instance, in Nigeria, the cost of petrol has gone up by up to 60%. Those who used to drive all the way across town to get your product might not be so willing to do so anymore. How do you reach your target audience?
For Gina Locklear, the answer was the internet. Then after establishing a market there, she decided to see if stores will stock her product, which was a marked difference from the old method of waiting for orders. Check your options…do you need to open an e-store on Konga? Can you rent a sales kiosk in a popular mall? Find new ways, new platforms and new outlets.
During an economic downturn, you cannot afford to be reactive. Be proactive about keeping your business afloat.
Doing business when times are hard is not easy, but with determination and resilience, you can make it work.
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