As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect Nigeria and the rest of the world, albeit negatively, it has become essential for companies and employees to re-strategize in order to survive. This is the advice that was given by Nairametrics’ Founder (Ugodre Obi-Chukwu) who spoke, yesterday, during a live webinar by FCMB Nigeria on the topic “COVID-19 & Economy Downturn Response”.
Unprecedented changes require adjustments
According to Ugodre, the pandemic has completely altered the normal ways of doing things. Therefore, it has become imperative for everyone to adapt by adjusting to the current realities before it becomes too late for them to do so.
To this end, therefore, he recommended some steps that employers and employees may consider right away. Chief among these recommendations is the need to cut down on operating costs; especially the non-essential ones. This is a no-brainer, by the way, bearing in mind that the global economy has taken a serious beat by the pandemic, even as Nigeria is now said to be heading towards what could easily become its worst recession in years.
Below are the actions to take now
- Ugodre advised companies to consider cutting down on non-essential fixed and recurring costs.
- He also advised on the need for companies to secure their existing assets (property and equipment), in view of the unfavourable economic situation which the oandemic has wrought.
- Companies should also become cash-flow-positive and desist from purchasing fixed assets and illiquid investments in the meantime.
- In the same vein, it has become imperative for companies to quickly review their 2020 budget and any multi-budget strategic plans.
- They should front-load essential costs in order to avoid the impact of devaluation.
- They should review all variable cost lines and consider reducing unit costs.
- Now is also the right time for companies to explore e-commerce to increase their sales.
- Companies should also review existing contract commitments and consider activating force majeure clauses.
- They should also ensure to actively engage their shareholders, investors, and other critical stakeholders during this difficult period.
- This is also a good time for companies to renegotiate their loan terms and seek moratorium on principal repayments.
- Nigerian companies should consider applying for concessionary loans and grants.
- They should also ensure to buy loyalty by contacting existing customers and offering loyalty programs.
- A good way to retain customers during this time is by sending frequent messages about new deals.
- In the same vein, companies should improve on their public perception by channeling CSR activities towards COVID-19. A lot of companies are already doing this, by the way.
- Companies should encourage virtual workspace and utilize work from home tools. They should also reduce non-essential third-party employee-related contracts.
- Meanwhile, this is a good time for companies to consider pivoting to newer business ventures in order to diversify.
- In all, companies must rejig their entire business operational models to conform with the new norm.
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What employees should do to survive
Meanwhile, Ugodre also recommended a number of actionable plans that Nigerian employees should consider doing in order to survive the looming economic disaster that is facing Nigeria. These recommendations range from the need to improve on one’s professional skills, to the importance of imbibing basic financial literacy skills. See below:
- Learn new professional and soft skills.
- Attend online courses, webinars to broaden knowledge.
- Accept unpaid leave if offered and use the opportunity to learn new things.
- Cut out non-essential living expenses.
- Suspend non-committal travel plans and social obligations.
- Support dependent family and friends if possible.
- Hold more of cash and invest in liquid assets.
- Access existing investing and sell of low yield investments.
- Hold cash electronically and avoid sharing personal banking details.
- Draw up personal budget and review periodically.
- Create joint expense account with spouse/partner.
- Be accountable and have a mentor to guide you.
- Utilize Financial Mobile Apps to save towards a project.
- Refinance existing personal loans. Hold cash.
- Explore short term borrowings but payback if debt-free.
- Subscribe to mutual funds.
- Read up on personal finance and listen to podcasts.
- Join investment clubs, online communities, money fellowships.
- Have a diverse portfolio – forex, real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds.