Growing up in Nigeria, I was told that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But I discovered later in life that the tough cannot get going because it will get lost!. Doing business in Nigeria is tough, characterized by lots of challenges and every informed entrepreneur operates with caution. Besides, the havoc caused by the outbreak of novel COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and its attendant difficulties have left tones of entrepreneurs asking the same question thus “what is the way forward now”. Therefore, business operations henceforth require different kind of thinking and the applications of credit facility is more like handling a double-edged sword which requires great diligence in order not make losses financially and otherwise.
Entrepreneurs have to actively put up some decisive measures in place for effective and efficient business operations in a new world of post-COVID-19. These are the things to do:
UNDERSTANDING THE PLACE OF TECHNOLOGY
It is more like a “sin” now for an entrepreneur to say I am not a techy person. Technology is not just what you use to deliver products or services. It is what you have to become in order to be in the marketplace. Technology is the number one instrument for business operations. For example, having an active online presence, setting up your Paystack payment page, and sharing the URL to your customers or clients for payment, etc.
Yes, get insurance. An average Nigerian entrepreneur believes that insurance does not see the need for insurance in normal business operations. This is a new world, you need protection (assurance) for your life or insurance for the business against loss or both if you can afford them. But as a matter of urgency and necessity start with insurance of business to minimize the rate of business risks.
STUDY THE NEW BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
There is no assumption henceforth about any business operation. You have to go out there to get the empirical evidence (the information received by means of observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation) in that line of business you want to start or expand. This helps you to test the viability of the business before you put money into it.
KEEP PROPER BOOKS OF ACCOUNT
Accounting is the language of business and there is no accounting without proper books of records of transactions kept over a period of time. This helps you to set credit limits for customers/clients, block leakages in capturing of value(receiving payment), track credit history of every customer/client, and most importantly know your financial position in the business.
In case you are finding bookkeeping of transactions difficult on notebooks because of your tight business operations. There is online accounting software that you can use even in your Smartphone at ease.
Budget is a list of estimated income and expenses over a stated period of time usually one year. This helps in preventing overspending because every naira and kobo in the business is set for a purpose that is no idle fund to waste. Please, there is no specialized way of preparing a budget, just list in a tabular form expected income and expenses nothing more!
INVEST IN BUSINESS YOU UNDERSTAND
The rate at which businesses are closing down is a call for every entrepreneur to put funds where he or she can explain how income is generated and expenses are made on a daily basis. Remember, every business failure is a financial pressure on someone’s head coupled with the tough business terrain. This a double jeopardy!
SET COST CUTTING MEASURES
As long as your business is in operation. There are various ways you can proactively reduce the cost of business operations. For example, instead of hiring a full-time accountant as a small business owner you can arrange for part-time, outsource jobs if it is cheaper than you producing it, hold a meeting online with your team instead of physical meetings to cut entertainment expenses, having a certain percentage of the workforce on basis of part-time, reducing transport fare by encouraging your customers/clients in online meetings as a strategy to solve their business problems.
In conclusion, post-COVID-19 is a new world in which every entrepreneur needs to understand that application of funds to business is an art that requires great discipline to master otherwise the loss becomes another economic pandemic which affects the entire family with no option for isolation for treatment let alone recovery and discharging of the sufferer economically speaking.