by Wellington Muzengeza
Master multitasking and multi skilling
Rather than employ many people for work that the business owner(s) can do themselves. One must build capacity in themselves to multitask and multi skill therefore significantly reducing their wage bill and other overheads resulting in maximising profit returns for themselves.
Adopt remote working tools
Incessant electrical power losses, a key element of most fledgling economic environments result in reduced employee productivity time. Rather than install alternative power solutions at both home and the work places. It is vital to empower your teams/employees with remote working tools that ensure work continuity from home or in transit or wherever the power is available.
Recurrent petroleum shortages have also resulted in employees/teams spending more idle time in fuel queues therefore low productivity time and creating employee anxiety i.e. concern over travel to work, school-runs, other travel related tasks for the workplace and home. The outbreak of pandemics e.g. (COVID-19), labour strikes, political unrest and the associated lockdowns a have disrupted business operations. With an intimate knowledge and understanding of remote working tools for business, one is able to continue working, communicate and liaising with their teams/employees from wherever they are.
Increased private car ownership with a less expanded road network results in traffic congestion during peak working hours inevitably culminates in less employee productive time during peak commuting times obviously affecting workplace productivity, however with the adoption of remote working tools and skills, the show goes on.
“Patient Capital” key to start-up financing
When start-up financing is not readily available from traditional sources like banks, micro financiers etc. It is important to leverage on “patient capital” i.e. borrowings from a spouse, parents, family or friends which does not come with short term obligations for debt recovery or excessive interest.
Create local sources of raw materials and procure supplies in bulk
Unstable economic environments are inundated by high inflation rates and the resultant regular and unpredictable price hikes. It is wise for one to be always on the lookout for best deals and to procure business supplies in bulk.
Importing goods from abroad is expensive particularly with the associated increased transport costs, import duties and other related import costs. A business operator in a depressed economic environment should endeavour to use only locally procured raw materials as they tend to be much cheaper and readily available in local currency.
Business to the business person and politics to the politician
Volatile policy and political environments are characteristic of depressed or fragile economies. This makes it difficult for small start-up businesses to survive. One must refrain from active involvement in partisan politics and focus their energies on growing their business to endure this capriciousness and uncertainty, however, they must follow proceedings from a distance as the results of the politics inevitably affects their business.
“Refrain from active political engagement but don’t ignore it”
Engage in production and supply of basic edible consumables and supplies
Depressed economies tend to have poorly performing manufacturing and production sectors of the economy but with a high demand for food consumables. In an environment of extreme lack of financial incomes and resources, demand for luxury goods falls while that of essential goods like foodstuffs increases. A business engaged in the supply and logistics of food consumables generally tend to thrive.
Work from a home office
Traditionally it is sexy and “professional” to operate your business from plush offices complete with a huge corner office for the boss. However, such opulence comes with huge costs for the business. When one works from home they save on various home and office overheads through shared internet, lighting and heating bills, kitchen supplies etc. Unnecessary travel is immediately curtailed as business travel is restricted to just “need basis”