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Mass sack in banks could be the breakthrough opportunity for many

By Okechukwu Onwuka
Many individuals, families and companies are still struggling to recover from the effects of the economic crisis that hit many parts of the world last year. Although a number of European and Asian economies are showing positive signs of recovery, the situation in Nigeria cannot be said to be on a definite recovery path.

In a desperate measure to reduce operating costs and overheads, the banks in recent times have had to lay off thousands of workers.

In a number of banks, the remaining employees who escaped the drop have had to take pay cuts. For those who lost their jobs, the impact can be very devastating. Even for the very optimistic ones, the sudden loss of a guaranteed income will not be seen as an immediate cause for celebrations. Given the scarcity of jobs in Nigeria, we all know how many people are dependent on the income of the few bread winners. There are some who have aged parents with significant medical bills. Some others have huge school fees to pay for their children in expensive schools.

Even if they can afford to pay the fees for this term, there’ll be the fear on how to generate income to pay the fees for the next term. What_If the house rents are due for renewal? There is no exhausting the list of issues that will be thrown up by the job loss.

Adaptability: I have always believed that man has been created with a deep ability to adapt and survive even the most difficult conditions.  Of course there are the pessimists who are convinced that the sack is the end of the road.

For this group of people, it is either another job comes fast or they might just “pack up”.  There are also the optimists who are more ready to embrace the new challenge to forge ahead. Irrespective of which personality type is affected, I’m so sure that the set-back resulting from the termination is not only temporary but will actually represent a stepping stone to greater heights and success for many.

All it takes is to face the new challenge with a brave heart and believe that the future holds a lot of opportunities. Although the economy is still far from recovery, like I stated in previous articles, there are many opportunities for willing and gifted individuals to pursue.

On the side of caution, I’ll advice that anyone affected should not be misled into investing in projects or businesses in a random or careless manner. There may not be a faster way to lose whatever cash is still in your possession. Con men are constantly on the lookout for such vulnerable people to fleece. As a golden rule, beware of projects or schemes that appear either too easy to implement or highly profitable with little or no effort.

Matching skills & experience with opportunity
To facilitate your success in identifying the best business opportunity that is suited to your gifts, talents, skills and experience, follow tips given below.

Start by listing your clearly identifiable talents, abilities, and expertise. Take special note of those things that you do so well that you always get complimented doing them. Conduct a mind search and recall some of the things you really love to do but never really had the opportunity to practice them because of your job.

Identify those things that give you so much joy doing them that you can even do them without being paid. Maybe you always loved to teach, dance, research or read.

List those specialist training and courses you have attended while working. Take note of those trainings  you received in your interest or talent area.

Identify those things that you feel you can do better than most people. You have to realize that there may be some things you do better than many but these may not be in a field that you love. People might say you teach very well but you may have no deep interest in any form of teaching as a profession.

Look around your community or city to identify needs that may be filled using your talents and abilities. These areas represent potential business opportunities for you.

For each identified business op portunity, analyze for risks and  pitfalls.

Discard opportunities where the associated risks are too high or may be very difficult for you to control or manage.
Identify the smallest way you can initiate the business or project without exposing your resources beyond your control. Identify who your competitors are. Develop a strategy to provide a unique selling proposition.
Use a strategy that involves small start-up capital but high operating cash reserve.

Document your thoughts, analysis and strategies in a business plan. It does not have to be bulky. A few pages are better than none at all.

Resist the temptation to hire any offices, shops or business outlet until you have concluded a thorough business/project analysis to establish viability.

Decide to operate from home as the default scenario unless overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise
Resist the branding fad that will mislead you into spending inordinately on advertising but at a minimum get a website and customized email address. This can be done for less than N20, 000 these days.

Attend seminars, training classes, meet people. Commit to aggressive learning. Maintain a positive disposition and never attempt to make people feel sorry for you. Show positive attitude that attracts people to you. Nobody likes to do business with people who are sad, always complaining or irritable.

Be willing to go the extra mile. Enjoy the process. Take every challenge in your stride. My guess is that sometime in the near future, you’ll bless the day your job was terminated.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.