Economic Lessons From COVID-19 And The Future
The COVID-I9 pandemic is a sign of things to come. The next decade is going to be characterised by being volatile, unstable, uncertain, constantly-changing, and advancing. Nothing is going to remain the same again for long.
Any little distortion in any corner of the globe can grossly affect and distort the whole world, simply because the world is now a global street. Communication advancement, ease of travel, globalisation, and inter-connectivity of institutions and businesses have made, and will make, it so.
Lessons I Learnt
1. Have financial reserves
Deliberately deprive yourself of some things so that you can have financial reserve. Nothing will ever be certain again. All my routine sources of income that looked like traditional and stable businesses were closed during the lockdown.
My school was closed, my lecturing and speaking engagements were closed.
Imagine how many transport companies, airlines, and factories were shut down.
2. Are your products and services relevant?
I found out that it is not how important you think your business is, but whether it is considered as relevant. Food, medical services, healthcare, and anything that ensures human survival was in great demand during the lockdown.
As pastors, many of us were shocked that markets were opened and churches were closed. The Catholic Church was not complaining because it was rendering other services that were relevant. Their 435 hospitals in Nigeria were still functional.
3. Hunger was the major cry during the lockdown
4 The future is in communication
Data and anything that has to do with communication is the future.
I was able to sell my chickens online during the lockdown. People ordered from London and Lagos, even though I was in Ughelli. A young man who had a fish pond was delivering his barbecue fish from online orders. He was making a lot of sales.
Flexibility and adaptability
Fashion companies were able to convert their companies from clothing lines to face mask and personal protective equipment companies. Alcohol companies quickly started producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
My young friend got a contract from his State Government to produce face masks.
6. Mobility of products and services
You don’t wait for customers in this generation, you create the customers and audience. The barrier of space and time has been broken.
7. You must create content
Odumejeje, Adeola, Pararan create content regularly, and they are able to get regular attention and patronage.
With the fall of the barrier of space and time, there will be more of linkage-services. There are companies that can arrange for food delivery to the doorsteps of your parents while you are far away in the Diaspora.
8. Micronisation and simplification
You must be able to target the Base of the Pyramid, where more people will be in the coming years.
People should be able to get things in small units like you see in detergents, toothpaste, etc. Also there should be the simplification of transferring and withdrawing money or doing any service.
9. Remote services
Rendering services from the comfort of your home will become prevalent.
As a young graduate, you can teach several students at the same time without renting an office space. They will hook up to you online, and you can teach hundreds of them at once, give them assignments while they pay you.
There were weddings that took place online and the choir sang from their homes. Gifts will be sent by courier and money by cash transfers; very simple.
10. Working from home is going to be the new reality
With 5G and ubiquity of internet-enabled devices, a lot of things will be done from a distance. Twitter has already told some of their staff that they can work from home for the rest of their lives if they choose to.
11. Population increase
The population of Nigeria and most African nations are going to explode; you know a lot of babies will be born one year from now. There was a joke that one year from now, the babies will be referred to as coronials.
Twenty years from now, the population of Nigeria will be close to 300 million people. Business will be good for real estate; there will be an increased need for homes.
12. Be prepared for dynamism, reinvention, and readjustment
There will be a lot of financial challenges for people in the immediate; properties will be available for sale because of business challenges. Anybody that has money should be in a position to buy cheap. It is not your fault; it is a win-win situation.
The virus will not suddenly disappear; it will remain with us for some time. The recovery rate might not be very fast. Learn to surf the wave; look for what is relevant, trending, and find how you can plug into it or them. Many people might not go back to their former jobs. Get set to learn new trades and new approaches to life and business.
Salaries might be owed or delayed. There might be retrenchment. So it will be wise not to acquire liabilities; scale down any expenditures; don’t spend speculatively.
Be ready to readjust.
Reinvent yourself and business; you might even need to relocate to recover.
God Bless You.
Read previous Lessons From COVID-19 here.