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Night, day: Making an economic comeback

By Debbie Ogunjobi
A NEW world order is always established after a seismic economic meltdown of the kind that the planet has just experienced. Our new reality is that life as we knew it has changed. Change has been rammed down our throats. If we survive it, we’ll need new skills to forge ahead, to recover and rebound.

It is not as herculean as it sounds and the truth is that more than half of those who are declining now will come back bigger and better. A note to those who are gloating over the misfortunes of those in jail, poverty stricken or facing bankruptcy; thread very carefully and watch what you say, most of the people in trouble now will recover, rebound and revenge. Most champions are galvanized by adversity so beware of kicking giants when they are down, they will crush you when they rise.

The situation at hand is, however, not admonitions, history lessons or regrets, the matter of urgency is survival and how to do it as painlessly as possible. I will break it into steps that should point and hopefully lead into the right direction.

Take stock: From this very point, this instant, not yesterday or last year. Begin a detailed inventory of all that you have, all that you owe, and all that you are owed, all that you can raise. This is not a mental task, get a book and start writing, you need to know your absolute worth to the last kobo. People often find that they are worth a lot more than they think when they take the time to go through their stores, old papers and documents.

When you are going down the  list, you need to account also for goodwill, your list should include people and companies who can help by giving you money, loans or extending to you lines of credit to keep you afloat; they can make the difference between survival and annihilation!!

Begin a postmortem: I am not in any way asking you to embrace the past or regrets, what you need is a careful analysis of your business practices that led to this point. At this point you will benefit from an outsider’s opinion that will not be politically correct or emotionally attached. Some of the stuff you hear can bring a grown man to tears but it’s very necessary.

The recession has been terrible but some companies are surviving unscathed. If you are not, you were already in trouble before the recession; your downtown was just accelerated and exposed faster than you could cover up.

A majority of the companies that have gone down have just been tiding themselves over with loan after loan for appearance’s sake for years. The banks recalling the said loans and refusing to offer any more is why they can’t function anymore.

So the tough question is this? Were you a viable entity without the loans and handouts pre-recession?

Regroup and restructure: In any enterprise, the most important factor is the heart of it! The heartbeat of any enterprise is the entrepreneur. So is yours still beating or are you for all intents and purposes economically dead? If you are in some sort of coma (discouraged and depressed), you can still be brought back to life but there is not much anyone can do for you if you have given up and turned your back!!

To be of any good to your business, you have to come back fighting! This is the time to be encouraged and start self affirming your survival.

Whatever faith you confess, now is the time to hold on and be energized from inside out. I personally ask God for the anointing of Joseph so that I am able to prosper even in the middle of a famine!

Get back to work: By this time, the self pity and ‘woe is me’ attitude should be a thing of the past. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and become the cleaner, accountant, sales girl and managing director. Whatever size your business is, in a recession you have to be everything, every time and everywhere.

Where previously you used to delegate and not supervise, you now have to be breathing down everyone’s neck; failure is simply not an option as your new lease of life is dependent on your last card or even credit facility and goodwill!

You have to put in the time, effort, sweat and everything you have; remember you are starting again! Go after all that you are owed and where people are unable to pay immediately, draw up a payment plan and collect in installments, do it peacefully; going to court will cost time and money.

In the same vein approach your creditors and make efforts to pay back in installments, it will increase your good will and protect your integrity.
Finally remember, that storms come and go, a recession is one.

There are many trees more beautiful, enormous and majestic than the palm tree. It is not always the most attractive or even fruitful of trees but when the hurricane; the mother of all storms hit, the oak tree will fall, the iroko will be up rooted.

The dear old palm tree will be bent in two such that its head is in the sand, almost at its roots but give it a few days and it emerges, taller and stronger than before the storm. An entrepreneur is a palm tree, built through hardship to be a survivor!! Keep that mental image and alive and you will survive this!!!


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