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THE TOP 10 PRACTICAL THINGS TO DO TO SURVIVE AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN.

1. Downsize quickly
2. Take responsibility
3. Forgive yourself, forgive others.
4. Give yourself time to recover
5. Back to the drawing board
6. Implement your next plan in spite of your fears
7. Go slow but steady
8. Ditch the naysayers
9. Believe in yourself , fail forward
10. Stay positive in a negative world

If you are an entrepreneur like me, you own businesses, you have employees and you live in Nigeria then you are worried. Really worried!

Maybe not so much about the corona virus because we seem to be doing quite ok from all the stats coming in.

All the expert predictions about the coming gloom doesn’t seem to be adding up. The infection numbers are low and the deaths even lower. The discharged numbers are promising.

Maybe it’s a little early to gloat but I’ll take the risk, I like optimism. Positive works! I’ll go with it.

So if not the virus what’s to worry about? A lot!

Running a business in Nigeria is hard enough on a good day now add Corona and I really don’t know how it’s going to look a few weeks and months from now.

Many factors to consider; oil prices, global economy. What concrete plans does the Nigerian government have for entrepreneurs. They’ve said a few things already but if I go by the way food is being shared now I’m wondering what the hope is?

Other countries have started outlining their interventions and how to go about it, what’s our own story.

On a good day the multiple taxation going on doesn’t encourage entrepreneurship or innovation.

Parastatals like Smedan set up for days like this are near comatose.

I love surprises so I hope I’m wrong but right now I’m left with no choice but to conclude you are ‘ON YOUR OWN’ (OYO).

Brace up because the days ahead maybe tough.

Get all the rest you need during this lockdown but while at it get some Corona sense, you might need it going forward.

Read, study, learn, plan and don’t be afraid to execute.

Your next move after Corona would be make or break, think well, plan well and fear not.

Ask the hard questions, get the honest answers and don’t be afraid to do the needful.

I did this article during the last recession in Nigeria, little did I know that the mother of all recessions was looming round the corner.

Was that just dress rehearsal? I hope not! 

But if you plan to still be around when all is said and done then you must plan.

Like it’s been hilariously said on social media 2020 is for survival, getting rich has been postponed to 2021.

Again I hope I’m wrong!

But even the experts right now are confused. So I’ll just see how it goes.

But do the needful.

So after the lockdown if your business needs to downsize or right size then do it quickly. Tough way to go I know!

It’s a good time to look at past mistakes, personal, professional, financial etc(you know them)take responsibility quickly and move on.

Forgive yourself, forgive others. Forgive our leaders! Very hard to do! A country raped by the leaders over and over again! Forgive! If we can’t get it together collectively do the next best thing, get your own act together!

We all need time to recover from this Corona virus pandemic! How long? Who knows? No point of reference! But 9/11 took 57 days for the economy in the states to bounce back. The 2008 recession took about a year and half.

Waste no time, get back to the drawing board, plan again!

At the right time implement your plans in spite of your fears. Do it afraid!

But hold it! Not so fast remember slow but steady is the new normal.

Ditch the naysayers. Fire them!

The road to success is usually lonely but believe in yourself. You’ve  failed before? So what? It’s a brand new you. You’ve got corona virus sense now!

Stay positive.

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1.DOWNSIZE QUICKLY


This is a major key to survival in the business world. Why owe workers for months on end? This is wrong at every level.

Optimism is always good in business but reality is king. If the business isn’t working like you had hoped, the cash flow is just not flowing then by all means do the needful.

Downsize! Rightsize! Do something. Workers can always be recalled, new workers can be employed and trained when things pickup. It’s painful and uncomfortable but the right way to go. That’s what I did when I needed to. The idea is to keep your overhead at its lowest and just survive. Closing down your business and trying to start later is a lot harder than just surviving. Sticking it out!
Downsizing your lifestyle is also key, this is where it gets really tricky and annoying.

Cutting back on the those expensive holidays abroad, first or business class travel, the shopping, those super amazing 5 star hotels, the peeks, the toys, the weaves…. etc. The idea is to survive.

For that to happen you must do the needful. Stop trying to keep up with the joneses and I know by now you are probably the jones others are trying to keep up with.

Time to get real, wake up and smell the coffee. You’ve got to sit, think and strategize your way out of your current dilemma.

If you have to change the expensive schools your kids attend, DO! The ones abroad, by all means bring them back. Most of us schooled in Nigeria and we are good, really good.

A lot of businesses also bleed internally from bad business practices, lack of proper accounting, incompetent staff and sheer mismanagement.

When it’s all said and done, anyone that has been there, done that and spent the night would tell you a little bit of trouble makes you a very smart person. It did for me!

2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.


This sounds so simplistic sometimes to the point of becoming a cliche.

Almost everyone would own up with little or no resistance to the idea they have or are taking responsibility about where they are, but the reality is that the concept has lost so much ground to the point of becoming trite.

Bottom line is, it’s easier to say and think, than to actually take responsibility for one’s actions.

In taking responsibility, your actions are usually louder than your words.

For me that’s how I know when I’m in pity party mood or taking responsibility mood.

So much has been said about how bad sulking, pity parties are. Infact they’ve been downright demonized. But for me a little sulking and pity party isn’t all that bad as long as you don’t build a monument for the occasion. It’s called being human. So if you ask me enjoy your pity party while it lasts but don’t spend the night there. A little misery and a good plan thereafter is a good idea.

Deciding to take full responsibility is a sign you have learnt your lessons, answered the tough questions and ready to move.

The most important activity in taking responsibility is the ability to think, ask yourself the painful, honest questions and the will to own up, take the blame and have a “do better” plan for the future.

Anything short of this is going round in circles or the proverbial “Israeli journey”.

Some of the painful, honest questions should include, why did I do it? Did I do my due diligence? What red flags did I ignore, why did I compromise like I did?

Next, the will to own up means you say, it was me, not the government, not mum or dad or hubby or wifey, NO! It was all ME! Own up and own it! This is a painful place to be. It’s certainly no walk in the park but damn good medicine. Once you own up and own it the healing process begins.

Finally you are liberated and freed from the blame game prison and life takes on a whole new meaning. Amazing ideas and “do better” plans begin to flood your soul. Alas the baby is ready to be born, the womb has become small, the birth canal is itching and waiting to make the transition, labour is sure but short, a new world full of hope, opportunity and possibilities await.

It’s so true there is light at the end of the tunnel. I always heard it but never knew it. Now I do!

3. FORGIVE YOURSELF, FORGIVE OTHERS.


The danger with unforgiveness is how subtly debilitating and damaging it is with time.


The danger with unforgiveness is how subtly debilitating and damaging it is with time.

All happening without symptoms or even drama.

More worrisome is self unforgiveness and it’s hidden co travelers. All evasive by most accounts.

With few exceptions to the rule most people know when they are holding a grudge against someone, or when they are upset or feel offended by another. That’s easy.

The anger, the disappointment, the feelings of betrayal, the rush of emotions. Most can relate, right?

But when the painful trigger is you, it’s a different ball game entirely. You did the wrong, disappointed yourself, betrayed yourself and the list goes on and on.

It’s truly a tough place to be because all of the war, the anger, the name calling, the judging is all going on in your head.

Sitting at work looking good and talking nice but all the while your thoughts are at war. The name calling, the blame game is so loud it’s almost deafening. Painfully,  it’s a private war.

The very dangerous type, all the weapons of war are innate. With no ceasefire in view defeat is looming. It’s not looking good! Its time to call a truce. This isn’t a “go hard or go home” type of truce, no! It’s a “do or die”type. It’s time to do the needful.

Forgive yourself! After all who doesn’t do wrong every now and then. Maybe you were not all that after all. A good dose of humility is great for the psyche.

The shedding of unreasonable, unrealistic, annoying optimism would always pave the way to good old common sense.

Forgive! Don’t forget! But foresee the future. It’s time to learn and leverage. Once you pass the test of forgiving yourself then it becomes easier to forgive others.

Our shared humanity becomes more apparent than ever before. It’s time to walk on by, a whole new high is at the other side of forgiveness. This is how I go high when it’s so low.

4. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO RECOVER.

Recovery time is never wasted time.

On the contrary this is your defining moment.

Success they say is when preparation meets opportunity.

Well, recovery time is preparation time. When it’s properly done success is imminent.

When it’s hastily done, usually it’s back to the grind. Let’s look at some words that capture best what it means to recover.

Return to a normal state of health, mind or strength, recuperate, get better, get well, get back on ones feet, feel one’s self again, get back, win back, take back, retrieve etc.

What most of these words presupposes is that something was lost that needs to be recovered.

With few exceptions to the rule anytime a form of failure occurs something had gone wrong ab initio.

Truth be told nothing just happens. Some wrong words, thoughts or actions got you to where you are.

Trying to get back on the right track with the same state of mind that got you in the wrong track is a colossal waste of time.

It’s not going to happen.

Recovery time means getting new facts and information that would change your world view.

A mind they say is a terrible thing to waste.

A changed mind is success going somewhere to happen.

Good news and bad news!

The good news is anybody can turn a bad situation around, if they are willing to do the hard work.

Read the books, get the counseling from the mentors, learn the skill, plan to never give up.

The bad news is, it’s hard, it takes a great deal of time to have a changed mind and life and most would either not do it or start and stop when the kitchen gets too hot.

These same principles apply to most things in life.

Marriage, weight loss, good health, finances etc. My question to you is what would you decide to do today? To give up or recover?

Whatever you decide, remember that life is generally hard. To be wealthy, healthy and successful is hard, to be poor, broke, busted and disgusted is also hard. You choose your HARD!

I chose the painful, hard, uncertain road to recovery.

My mantra; DIE TRYING.

5. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Once you are half way into anything you are already in a good place.

You’ve obviously put in the necessary commitment, the hard work and the perseverance.

Mo is about to kick in at this point.

Incase you’ve not met Mo, it’s that good friend that accelerates your positive efforts.

Momentum is the full name but I like Mo for short.

So you’ve downsized, taken responsibility, forgiven yourself and others and you are in full recovery mode.

A little celebration is not a bad idea at this point. You’ve done what others wouldn’t do and you are about to have what most wouldn’t have.

A whole new world is opening and you are at the centre of it all.

You are about to TRY AGAIN!

It’s back to the drawing board.

This is where new life is brought to an idea, new ideas are born, new information is brought to make a scheme work, more intelligence is used.

Bottom line is, it’s a new day full of hope for the future.

What you do here would determine how the future would look. Information is critical, planning is key and execution is power.

Your journey has proved that when the student is ready the teacher would appear. You have learnt, you are good to go.

With a friend like Mo on your side you are sure to succeed massively.

Get ready, set, TRIGGER!

6. IMPLEMENT YOUR NEXT PLAN IN SPITE OF YOUR FEARS.

Implementation time is always certainly a mix of emotions, excitement and fear.

It could be a bittersweet blend of heart racing excitement and at the same time, heart wrenching trepidation.

While some are able to balance out in spite of these two emotional activities going on simultaneously, some are not so lucky.

They tend to find themselves at one end of two extremes.

Very dicey scenario.

While most would say fear is the evil that needs to be avoided at all cost, after all its often said and most agree that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.

It’s perceived as having the power to kill dreams even before it gets off the ground or worse still power to take on “ Mo” my dear friend, just when things are beginning to catch on.

While these notions about fear are true I have another type of FEAR I work with. It’s facts engineered as reality. When you have all your facts, figures, i’s dotted and t’s crossed you automatically reduce your risks.

This puts you in a position of power instead of fear because you’ve done all your due diligence.

All facts check out. With this type of fear at hand you are in a good place.

If there’s anything to worry about now it’s the excitement. I love optimism. But be weary of too much optimism.

A little caution is always the wise way to go. I love the stories about burning your bridges so you are inspired to win the war but if you might need to jump off the plane please have your parachute.

Have a plan B or C. Good and successful leaders always have a contingency plan, you should too.

Your greatest weapon for success at this stage would be your emotional intelligence. The emotionally intelligent man would always beat the best skilled, most talented or highly endowed man hands down, any day.

Certain emotional skills will always win the race, like working hard even when efforts are not appreciated or recognized. Doing the right thing without supervision.

Ability to take control of emotions in spite of external factors.

Ability to keep going long after others have quit.

Diligence, persistence, tenacity, integrity.

The more you develop these emotional skills the better you get at it. With that you are ready to implement your plan. Success is never magic. Clearly, well articulated, defined steps must be taken to win. Are you ready?

7. GO SLOW BUT STEADY!

Unhurried, leisurely, measured, deliberate, moderate and relaxed have always been some of my all time favorite definitions of the word slow.

Personally, by nature and nurture a few years ago I really didn’t want to have much to do with the word slow.

It never held any attraction for me. In fact to be honest I probably downright demonized this word and all it entailed.

Why slow? For what? I was too busy, I got it going on, too many ideas to execute. No time to waste. As it stood then, even 24 hours was too short!

Oh! The beauty of growing up. Life happens and suddenly slow becomes sacred. Slow becomes survival, sweet and at its peak sensational!

Almost an oxymoron in comparison to today’s fast paced, instant gratification, microwave, now or never world.

Talk about the height of seduction. It’s all there. I’ve got to have it now by hook or by crook world, my way or the highway, go hard or go home world.

Sleazy seduction holds nothing on this one.

While most people worry and are horrified about downtimes, when properly investigated they are the best of times.

These are the learning times, the growth curves, the setting of priority times and overall the really good times.

It’s time to join the sacred slow band wagon. Here, decisions are well thought out and taken properly with the use of facts, ingenuity, intuition and finesse.

This wagon is for the mature at heart.

They know every good decision takes them a mighty long way ahead of others.

They know that though success is sure it’s never fast, it’s not a problem, they can wait things out.

They know majority doesn’t always carry the vote.

If the majority are wrong then it’s wrong.

Stay in your right minority.

They don’t jump ship at every opportunity. They ride out the storm. Storms come and go but the good guys last.

They are never in any instant gratification, now or never game.

They know the patient dog always eats the fattest bone.

So if I were you as I implement my next level I would do it absolutely unhurriedly, I would take time to enjoy the ride, it’s called leisure.

After all success isn’t a destination but a journey and in any case the race isn’t to the swift.

This time around I would be deliberate and of course moderate.

Remember the battle is not to the strong so why not relax and arrive in style.

Of course you are not me so I wonder what you would do?

Whatever you decide just make sure you ROCK STEADY… it’s an all night ball!

8. DITCH THE NAYSAYERS.

This is the part I love so much.

Of course you should ditch the naysayers.

They never have anything positive to offer.

Why bother?

For the most part naysayers tend to do their job amazingly well.

That’s why they bother you so much.

They do their research, do their homework, get all the stats possibly available on you, then swing into action.

Not ordinary action though, below the belt type of action.

You are left standing in the dumps wondering what happened, where did it all go wrong?

Hard to say and harder to receive but it all went wrong with you.

Who? Yes YOU!

Bad but not bust!

It’s time to pick up the pieces.

Thanks to all the naysayers, you did an amazing job but it’s game over, there’s a new boss in town.

The story is about to change, all because the narrative is changing… you’ve got to ditch the negative players for good and start believing the positives in your head and your heart.

Remember the naysayers have been in charge for a while, so give yourself time to get used to being in charge, believing in your dreams, getting your confidence back, beefing up your self esteem.

It’s a lot of work but worth it at the end.

A few practical tips to ditching naysayers;

a. Change your circle of friends
b. Change the conversation going on in your head
c. Read books that inspire
d. Make consistent, personal growth a major part of your life
e. Success they say is the best revenge, so what are you waiting for? Ditch the naysayers and succeed massively.

9. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, FAIL FORWARD


Believing in self has everything to do with the mind.

So the big question is what exactly is the quality of your mind and what is consistently going on there?

So much has been said and done on the issue of believing in self, the importance of self confidence and why a failure isn’t the end of the road. Mostly amazing stuff.

With all that encouraging information out there one wonders why the depression stats seems to keep going higher and higher each year.

Also as Nigerians we are known to be generally happy people, so what went wrong? What changed? Who sold us a lie?

I’m not sure anyone has all the answers but one thing I do know for sure is if you are going to succeed in any endeavor then you’ve got to be your own biggest and best cheerleader.

You’ve got to be conscious of your self talk and it’s got to be positive most of the time.

While it’s good to be hard on yourself sometimes it’s also important to balance things out by putting every situation in proper perspective. Consistent wrong perception and you are miles off track.

Over the years the one thing that has helped me stay on track, keep my mind positive and in top shape is my reading culture.

Always worked magic for me, still does.

Just when I’m losing it I get an amazing book and suddenly I can see the light even while in the tunnel.

What kind of books?

All! Name it! Bible, motivational, instructional, fiction, autobiographies, even my kid’s books. I just can’t seem to go wrong with reading and you wouldn’t too.

I worry about this internet generation. Besides school books they hate to read anyways, would they read at all? What quality of mind would Facebook, insta, Snapchat etc ( you know them all) produce ten years from now?

Just wondering aloud! I’m also particular about the quality of people I surround myself with.

I’m a big advocate of ( quality people only) (QPO). For me I’ve never really needed a big circle anyways so it’s easy to get the best.

Once your company drains my energy I’m out! I don’t tell you to go. Heck no! I check out! I’m too scarce a commodity to let negative people drain me out.

It’s not happening.

Yes I hear what you are saying loud and clear. You messed up, you missed it, you failed miserably, how could you have done that? How? I hear you, I feel you and I truly empathize, but it’s time to move on.

Get over it.

Others made the same mistakes and still got up.

Failure might actually be a better friend than you think. ( I’m not talking about naija police is your friend kinda friend though) but I’m sure you get the drift.

Nothing resets your brain like failure.

Now you have little or nothing to work with so you’ve got to work smart or you are out and all of the humbling that comes with the process can’t be that bad.

Now you know what it feels like to be down in the dumps.

Suddenly you are healed of your narcissistic tendencies.

That’s not bad!

In any case failure isn’t the end of the road.

If success isn’t a destination but a journey then failure is nothing except you give up.

Why would you do that? You’ve come this far. It’s time to believe in yourself again, it’s time to move forward in spite of the failure, it’s time to rebrand.

It’s time to reach for gold, cause that’s what you are!

10. STAY POSITIVE IN A NEGATIVE WORLD

How does one really stay positive in a negative world?

Truth be told the world has been negative for a very long time!

Even God at some point when he checked the headlines and saw the happenings was weak. He immediately did a quick data reset using the flood and decided to start over with Noah and his family, the only data that didn’t have a virus at the time. Talk about quick thinking and powerful execution!

Painfully many years later it’s back to business as usual!

Only now crazy has taken on a whole new flavor. It’s cool, it’s classy. Crazy is the new normal!

How does one insulate from all that craziness without relocating permanently out of this world?

Not many options if you ask me but a good one is to create your own world.

Define your normal, take control of your filters.

Determine and truthfully so that you don’t need every information out there all the time.

It’s much and it’s mind boggling!

Use your NO button like your life depends on it because, maybe it does.

Hit delete like you are upset because, maybe you should be.

Turn the other way not because you don’t care but because you do care.

Maintain your equilibrium, your sanity, your peace and your innocence.

They are yours don’t give them up and don’t give them away!

Stay grounded, stay balanced.

Deciphering between good and evil isn’t that hard if you really are set on doing right.

Own your space and control the energy around you.

It’s your power!

Negative would always trend but intentionally plan to remain positive.

Personal story; On a business trip recently( before Coro of course) I boarded a train to get to a particular destination. I had never been there or taken that route so I kept asking for directions. They didn’t speak English so communication was difficult. Not surprisingly I missed my way. But by the time I realized i was on the wrong track I had gone far. Well over fifteen stops. I knew I had to get off and get back to the right direction. I was off track by a really long shot! Painful, because it took so much of my time but I had to do the needful. Get off the wrong train, find out the right way and get on it. I did! You can’t get to your desired destination going the wrong way! Heck no!! Maybe your getting on the wrong train wasn’t all your fault, I get that, but you still need to get off that wrong train and get in the right one. When you do, it’s called HOPE!

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Lara B. Fatunbi

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