You might have heard the story of two English salesmen who were sent to pre colonial Africa to explore opportunities of shipping shoes to the continent. The first salesman came, did his survey and sent a telegraph back home, saying: situation hopeless, they don’t wear shoes. The second salesman came, did his own survey, sent a telegraph home, saying: boundless opportunities, they don’t have shoes yet. Investment is a matter of perspective; where others see hard work, an investor see opportunities.
Economic downturns are usually tough test for investors. Mostly because at this time, business news and analysis are awash with negative reports like, depreciation in value of landed properties, increase in unemployment, businesses going bankrupt, drop in consumer purchasing power, inflation, etc. These are enough to scare any lily-livered person away but great entrepreneurs are not just mere mortals. That’s why they tread where others dread.
There is no doubt that investing in hard economic time is a tough challenge but as other businesses are closing down or moving out of town, it presents an opportunity to cease the market share they must have left behind because the situation will not last forever. Business is about risk, right? Here is where you show the difference between a visionary entrepreneur and fair-weather investor. That’s why moving in when others are moving out will win you brand loyalty as locals will easily identify with your brand.
Being an astute business man doesn’t mean an exploitative CEO, but as businesses are downsizing or rightsizing their staff, unemployment naturally will be on the increase which for you would mean cheaper labour. Therefore, this is time to employ high quality staff, an expert who is looking for the next meal ticket would accept a reasonable offer; you hold the stakes, so you will determine what a reasonable offer is as long as you know your market.
As you are seeking new frontiers to conquer, don’t lose track of what you already have. Keep an eye on your business and make sure your team is comprised of those who will go the extra mile to deliver the needed results. This is not a time for luxuries but necessities only, and make sure your team understands that.
Investing in hard economic time requires hard work, but gold is not found on the surface of the earth; if you must have gold, you must dig deep. And if you want to be a champion, you must fight for something. Nigeria might be going through economic stress, but there is an opportunity to invest now.