In the concluding part of her two-part series, Africa’s Premier Wealth Coach and Investment Consultant. Omilola Oshikoya, explores the recent challenges in the Nigerian economy, and gives practical tips on how to make the best of these challenging times.
Reduce your transport costs
- Married couples, work colleagues or parents with kids in the same school could consider carpooling to reduce transportation costs.
- If you have a luxury car or a fuel guzzling SUV, this is a time to invest in or use a fuel efficient car such as a Toyota Corolla.
- Instead of holding meetings, host virtual meetings through skype, face time etc.
Create and stick to a budget
- It is important to live on a budget. A budget will help you determine areas where you can cut costs. Often times it is the little things that cause the biggest problems. You may realize that you spend too much money on eating out and may decide to start eating homemade meals at work.
- Spend on only things that matter. Avoid unnecessary expenses and focus on needs not wants.
Pay off your debt
- Pay off existing debt and avoid accumulating anymore debt. Carrying debt, is like going on a journey carrying a heavy luggage. If you don’t have the cash to pay for it then don’t buy it.
Reduce operating costs
- For entrepreneurs or business owners, consider the option of working from home to reduce operating costs such as diesel etc. We are in digital age therefore tasks can be done anywhere.
- If you don’t need a physical location for your business then don’t be ashamed to shut it down. We are in a digital age and so you can turn your business into an online business and supply your goods or service online.
- Improve on your product or service to make it more attractive or appealing to consumers. Consumers are likely to reduce spending during a recession and so you need to give more.
Diversify your income:
- Think multiple streams of income. I moved jobs from one financial institution to another at the peak of the 2008 economic crisis. The company I left, laid off almost 50% of their staff and have not recovered to this day. However the company I moved to were financially intelligent and during the periods of boom, they invested in assets and diversified their income. They sold sand from one of their assets which gave them revenue in hundreds of millions and the proceeds were used to pay salaries and to keep the business afloat. No staff was sacked neither did they miss a single salary throughout the period.
It is one thing to survive an economic crisis but it is another to thrive. A new set of millionaires will emerge as a result of the economic crisis. The likes of John D Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc made their money during the great depression. Now a depression is worse than a recession. If these men could become millionaires during a depression, you too can create wealth and thrive during this economic crisis.
Thriving in an Economic Crisis.
I’ve recently embarked on a spiritual retreat and was led to study the Eagle and I discovered something very inspiring.
The eagle is a phenomenal creature. It’s beautiful and also a symbol of strength. There are so many amazing things about the Eagle but I will focus on one profound feature.
First of all, I love the verse in my favourite book that says “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles”- Isaiah 40:31. Bible scholars will tell you that the Bible never uses metaphors, analogies or words loosely. Now what does this have to do with anything?
First of all the Eagle knows a storm is approaching long before it breaks. While other birds would fly away when a storm is approaching. The eagle will fly to a high place and wait for the winds to come. When the storms comes, it sets its wings and the winds pick it up and lifts the eagle above the storm. The eagle then soars at heights above the storm while the storm rages below and it reaches heights no other birds can reach. The eagle doesn’t run away or avoid the storm, it uses the storm to its advantage and lets it lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
Like the eagle we too can rise on the winds in this storm. We can use this storm to reach new heights and new levels of success. In every storm or crisis there is an opportunity. In this economic crisis there are opportunities.
This crisis is a blessing in disguise for Nigeria. It is an opportunity for Nigeria to diversify its economy. An opportunity to revive industries that have been neglected previously.
Now we are aware that a lot of working professionals have been laid off however this is an opportunity to create a new set of entrepreneurs. Small businesses and entrepreneurship is the engine or driver of any economy. This is what made America.
Where are these opportunities?
Made in Nigeria products:
- We import everything in Nigeria but now it is too expensive to import. For example when you walk through the aisles of most grocery stores, you will find that the shelves are empty. This is a great opportunity for made in Nigeria products. We no longer need to import everything. We can make everything in Nigeria such as clothes, furniture etc. Recently a major international retailer in Nigeria put out an advert for made in Nigeria products. This is a great opportunity.
Agriculture is the next frontier.
- The agricultural sector cannot meet the food needs of our growing population. For example we spend circa $500 million dollars annually importing tomato paste. Everything grows in Nigeria. Dangote has seen this opportunity and has recently set up a tomato processing plant. There are opportunities across the entire agriculture value chain from processing to transportation, storage, marketing etc.
- We are in a digital age and internet penetration is still quite low. This is a season for the tech entrepreneurs. You don’t even have to reinvent the wheel, you can take a business model that has worked in a developed economy and localize it to suit our environment.
- This is also a good opportunity for professionals and consultants in branding, public relations, marketing, accounting, legal etc. There is an influx of new entrepreneurs and they would need affordable services from experienced professionals.
- Take advantage of real estate investments as property owners are looking to sell their assets at discounted prices for liquidity.
- Invest in stocks as prices are falling and so you can get in at a low price. It is important to note that with stocks you must always think long-term and leverage on advice from a professional.
There are so many opportunities in this current climate and only those who choose to face the storm and rise on the winds of opportunities it brings will thrive. Most importantly keep investing in yourself and remember to be your brother’s keeper. More now than ever, there are people who need our help.
About Omilola Oshikoya
Omilola Oshikoya is Africa’s premier wealth coach with over 12 years’ experience in finance/investment banking. A columnist for the second most widely read newspaper in Nigeria and the creator of PocketFinance, a blog focused on providing information on personal finance & business for entrepreneurs, Omilola’s goal is to inspire this generation to live the “Richer Life” and to help eradicate poverty by teaching youths how to make money (business/entrepreneurship), how to manage it (personal finance), how to grow it (investment) and the purpose of wealth.
Omilola has a passion for coaching, inspiring, motivating, educating, informing and empowering. She has been invited to speak at companies such as Accenture, Total Nig, Plc etc. She has also been invited to speak at events such as the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2015 etc. She has been invited as a guest to speak on the radio several times as well as talk shows, family retreat, Churches, social events etc. speaking on topics such as wealth creation, financial management. She is also an inspirational speaker.