By Abubakar Suleiman (MD/CEO, Sterling Bank)
I will skip all the analysis and tell you what you could do about what is coming, and what is already here.
First you must conserve, be it energy, resources, food .. there’s less room for waste. Time to shrink your spending because the pie (GDP) is shrinking, the time to be expansive will come.
Buy only what you really need. All the extras can wait, save your gun powder.. We can’t spend our way out of this, we will have to produce our way out.
Buy local. The true cost of the oil gloom is less foreign currency to import things. Start by cancelling foreign vacations, non essential dollar (or any foreign currency) subscriptions, those online purchases you can live without.
Same as 2 but harder. If you have FX commitments such as kids schooling abroad and you only earn Naira, time to think rationally about it. Unless you have serious savings, your earnings could come under pressure. Be realistic.
Rethink your business – if people are cutting luxuries, is that what you are selling? Move toward essentials, things people can’t live without. Beware of the risk of currency volatility, don’t be caught exposed. Source locally.
If you are in employment, how can you do more remotely rather than less? Employers don’t want to shrink, if you can keep the business healthy, they will keep you. Think inside your isolation box, you may be surprised at what is possible.
Hold the cash you need but no more. If you have anything to spare, buy earning assets(speak to your financial adviser). If and when inflation escalates, some assets still retain their value. And give what you can, it is good for our mental health to help others.
Stay healthy. Cut out excessive focus on CoVid19 infection data & get fit. Leave what you can’t control for what you can. Change your diet if necessary – cut out processed sugar, and if you are ambitious, meat.
Stay engaged. With family, friends, work. If you serve customers, engage them. Find out how their needs are changing and if you can, serve them remotely. It will earn you goodwill post CoVid19.
Plan for the long haul. This is not going away ‘just like that’ – it will take time. Even if the virus is defeated, our ways won’t return to what it used to be. Add digital blackout to your calendar, the risk of being over-wired is real.
Stay ambitious and plan for life after CoVid19 – like all plagues, this too is headed for the history books. Start educating yourself for the life after – understand the application of technology (and yes, data) for operations, marketing, fulfillment, logistics & customer care. These are the new (required) skills for entrepreneurs & employees alike.