HOW YOUR BUSINESS WILL SURVIVE THE SLOW-DOWN DURING THE LONG ELECTION PERIOD


Elections in the country are synonymous with jobs cuts and closure of businesses, especially those in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) category. This basically results from reduced expenditure by potential customers who adopt a wait-and-see position. Nobody wants to invest in a scenario where the government policies are not clear and the possibility of political instability is high.

Using the experience from 2007/08 elections, many businesses were prepared for a slowdown in business in May, June and August ahead of the August 8 elections in Kenya,  East Africa’s richest per capita,  but very few were purposefully prepared for the slow-down to last up to November and possibly December. That’s 8 months of bad business. If this doesn’t leave many businesses dead, they will definitely be on their knees.

The big question on many entrepreneurs’ minds is one? Is it possible to adequately prepare for a similar slow- market in future? Whatever the cause? Here are a few lessons smart entrepreneurs can practice in order to adequately prepare for such or a similar slow-down:

  1. Raise money in advance and keep it liquid

Examples of liquid assets include, but are not limited to, savings accounts, treasury bills and money market accounts. These are accounts or low risk investments that can be converted into cash without delay and without (or with little) penalties or losses. Liquid cash is a life-saver during business slow-down, until the economy recovers. The amount of liquid cash depends on the size of the company, the nature of business and the operating expenditure of the company.

  1. Diversify your business

Depending on the cause of the slow-down, different businesses are affected differently. During election period such as  this, the real estate and tourism  industries have been hit hardest while the agriculture sectors have experienced zero or little effects. If anything, food prices increase to the advantage of the farmer. Diversification helps your business stay afloat when one department is not doing well, it is supported by another arm that counteracts the effects of the slow business.

  1. Prepare your self mentally.

Although mental preparedness can be underestimated, many entrepreneurs have confessed that it helps them to stay focused and to see opportunities during the slow-down, when many others are panicking. The best entrepreneurs meditate to help them relax and reduce anxiety.

  1. Network

Last but not least, network and share.  During slow markets, networking is to an entrepreneur what Alcohol-Anonymous is to recovering addicts. As an entrepreneur you can’t figure everything out by yourself, you need fellow entrepreneurs to help you navigate and avoid the potholes.

By Samuel Gitari

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