by Impact Hub
An entrepreneur looking at Nigeria’s current economic situation may not feel very hopeful. The country is expected to face the worst economic recession since the 1980s, according to the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update. While this sounds like bad news for businesses, there is definitely hope!
The key to your business thriving even in this situation is innovation. Businesses need to find creative ways to offer value to their consumers, communicate clearly to current and potential customers, partner with other businesses to grow, and find new sources for funding.
The current economic situation has significantly reduced the average Nigerian’s purchasing power, especially because the collapse of oil prices has led to inflation. The same amount of money now purchases fewer goods. This situation is worse when you consider the millions who lost their jobs or received pay cuts. As a result, people are focused on spending on necessities and things perceived to give real value.
Step one in making sure your business succeeds post-COVID is ensuring your business is still relevant to customers. This might require a significant change in your business model or only a small shift or addition. Take Flying Doctors Nigeria, a company that works to provide emergency evacuation services across the country. In response to the pandemic, FDN pivoted to mobile testing labs that increased the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of COVID-19 testing.
Businesses must also find creative ways to market their goods/services and expand their customer base. Once you have clearly outlined your new and/or improved value proposition, you need to communicate this to existing and prospective customers. While a decent marketing plan will require some spending, you don’t need to break the bank. Think of creative ways to capture your audience’s attention, like coming up with a catchy name or catchphrase for your new offering.
A brilliant example is a recent flyer from Price Pointe, a wholesale store. The flyer, which was left on cars, had the following words printed to look like handwriting: ‘I’m sorry, about your car. Call me now!’. People who saw the messages assumed that someone had hit their car, only to open them to see news about a Lekki pop-up. Price Pointe did not spend any extra money on advertising than they already would have. They simply came up with a creative way to utilise an available advertising option successfully.
As companies look to innovate, strategic partnerships can not only help this happen faster, but can also increase the reach of both brands and ultimately help drive sales. Complementary businesses can partner to create new packages and market to each other’s demographics. Kewa’s Kitchen, a popular food company, struggled to make a profit at the start of the pandemic due to reduced catering orders. So the company had to get creative to increase sales from other avenues.
They had many fun initiatives including a partnership with Anoela cards, a small greeting card company. Customers could send food to their loved ones on special days, as they could not meet in person, and include a card with a personal message . Both parties came together to creatively add value to customers, while increasing their visibility among each other’s consumer base. The result was a win-win situation for all.
Finally, entrepreneurs should direct more resources to accessing funding. It might be useful to have a dedicated member of the team commit more of their time and energy towards this. Finding funding can be very stressful if you run an SME. However, the pandemic has actually increased the amount of funding available to businesses as NGOs, governments and other funding bodies are looking to support post-COVID recovery. Figuring out how to carry out all these changes can be overwhelming to do on your own.
If you find that you need some support, consider applying for Impact Hub Lagos’ New Economy Booster program. The programme was launched on 28 August. The deadline for applications, however, is on 17 September.
The New Economy Booster offers participants access to over $300,000 worth of resources including business coaching, platform development support, partnerships, meetings with potential investors and expert advisory services. The focus of the program is on businesses, ventures, and non-profits trying to create impact in the Trade, Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, and the Creative & Culture industries. Visit www.impacthublagos.com to learn more.
The pandemic and the events of the past few months have made entrepreneurship more difficult than ever. However, even now there are opportunities for businesses that recognize them. The businesses that survive this period, and even grow, will be ones that do the work in ensuring that their business continues to find fresh, new ways to add value to customers, partner with other businesses, clearly communicate their value proposition and aggressively go after funding. The New Economy Booster programme can help with all of these.