As we move towards the end of 2017, with the entrepreneur wondering what the future holds for the Nigerian economy, questions like ‘how long it will take for the current economic recession to end?’ come to mind.
Below we have put together at least three questions every entrepreneur should answer in the mist of uncertainties in 2017.
1. How is the current economic recession affecting your customers? This is assuming you the entrepreneur already know your customers. A strong knowledge of who your customers are is important if you must answer the question of how they are affected by the recession. What insights do you have on your customers? What are they buying? Is your product/service relevant to them? What do you know about their source of income?
If your customers are badly affected by the recession, it is most likely that your business will be affected too. Re-strategizing becomes a major determinant of future gains. Would you consider price reductions in the form of sales promotions? Work on getting better deals with suppliers and vendors to aid cost reduction?
Takeaway: Product Matching & Mapping: the vital ingredient for improvement in product, pricing and promotions comes into play if you are to take conversion seriously in this recession. Market research is relevant.
2. What do you know about your competitors? How well do you know your competition? As the saying goes, knowledge is power. A little knowledge about the direction your competitors are going in the mist of a crisis can result in sustainable competitive advantage. What are your weaknesses in relation to your competitors? Are there any areas where they are excelling better than you? or vice versa.
Takeaway: An in-depth SWOT analysis will allow for a better understanding of your competitors. This would further allow for better decision making. It can also help with shaping a stronger value preposition; one that would ensure you continue to grow your customer base going forward.
3. Do you have the capacity to deliver? How do you respond to gaps in the product/service delivery process? Having a better understanding of your target market works best for your brand when the brand has the capacity to meet consumer needs. Do you have the manpower, the aligning technology and ability to deliver quality products/services in the shortest time frame? It is not enough to understand your target market and the competition. There is a need for proper business analysis, re-strategizing and implementation of winning strategies. In football for example, a coach after a series of failed matches would reevaluate the team’s strengths and weaknesses, then take on measures to eliminate or minimize weaknesses. Example: when a coach decides to buy or bring in a new striker after playing 8 straight games with no goals scored.
Takeaway: Inability to deliver as expected by customers and on time can create avenues for cracks in relations. It is important that the product/service delivery process is maintained and improved on a continued basis. Lets say you discover a gap in product/service quality for example, it makes business sense to respond as quickly as possible to such a gap at a time like this.
Forget whatever you have been told in the past, if you are running a business this is the best time to reevaluate and re-strategize. This is the best time to invest more into your business whether financial, in market research, and/or otherwise. In Greek the word crisis is “to separate, to sift” meaning to pass judgement, to keep just what is worthwhile. Every crisis is an opportunity and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity.