THERE is no doubt that Malawi is going through some economic tough times. The fact that even some countries in Europe are also going through challenging economic times does not make our own challenges any less painful.
Someone once observed that if you have a cut on your finger, and you go to the hospital where you find another person with a broken arm, that does not make your pain any less. How then does a business still make money in tough economic times?
There are some expenses that you did not mind when the econ¬omy was doing fine. However, the same costs now are seriously hurt¬ing your bottom line, your profit¬ability. Carefully analyze ALL your cost lines and ask yourself:
1. Do I really need to be spending on this?
2. Can the cost be reduced?
If you carefully review your costs, you will discover there are some expenses you can com¬pletely remove, while others can be reduced drastically. In tough economic times you need to care¬fully review every expense before making it. Aim to reduce your costs by not less than 30 percent. Watch your phone bills.
Don't just call people for the sake of it. Make sure each call is worth it.
Don't make unplanned trips. Before you drive out, ask if there are other things that need to be done in town, or at the bank. Don't make two trips to the bank; one to bank money, another to cash a cheque!
Low productivity in a busi¬ness is a cost. It is a loss. Review staff job allocations.
Ask yourself some questions:
1. Are we operating efficiently?
2. Is every staff member fully employed and engaged?
3. Can we enrich the current jobs?
4. Are there machines and equipment that are operating below capacity?
5. How can we optimise the use of every capital equipment?
Increasing efficiency, increases output can lead to increased sales while utilising the same workforce or costs. Aim to in¬crease your output by at least 20 percent while reducing your costs by 30 percent.
Reduce Credit Sales
If you produce goods and sell them on credit, it can drastically reduce your revenue if it takes long to collect.
With the current floatation of the Kwacha, if your production has some imported inputs, the lon¬ger you wait to collect your money from credit sales, the longer it los¬es value and the higher will your production costs be.
You may have used K100, 000 worth of raw materials. If you go back to buy the same raw materi¬als, you may discover the cost has gone up to K120, 000 after two weeks.
If it takes you four weeks to get paid by your creditors, it means your revenue will lose value so much that it may not buy the same quantity of raw materials as you did last time.
The coin in this picture is total¬ly worthless today. I don't think it can buy anything today. But in the year it was manufactured, which was the same year I was born, it was worth a lot! It had great value. The reason why today the same coin is worth-less is because the value of the money is lost. It has been devalued greatly. It can no longer buy what it could buy then.
Whatever you do in a business is a cost until you sale something. You can manufacture 100 water¬ing cans. Until any of them are sold, just know that all you have done is to incur costs. To make your business viable, SELL your manufactured products.
Sell the watering cans. Aim to sell more so that you have more money and less finished products in your show room or store. There are a number of strategies you can use to sell more in tough econom¬ic times, including:
1. Offer discounts for large purchases or cash sales.
2. Take the products to the customers. Don't wait for custom¬ers to come to you. Find creative ways of taking your products to the door step of the customer. This could mean physically tak¬ing the products or promoting it online, on your website, direct mailing via e-mail, or advertising on social media like Facebook.
3. Offer promotions: Create some competitions that encourage customers to buy your products.
4. Focus on new markets: When the economy gets tough, your traditional customers may not buy as much as they used to. This is the time to focus on expanding your market. Find new customers who were not in your original target market. This may even include exploring ex¬port markets. The fact that your customers at home are going through tough economic times does not mean everyone else is going through tough times. Just cross the borders and you will be shocked people are enjoying to the full. Go there, get the money... in US Dollars!
You are work in progress: do a good job on yourself
WHAT the world has seen today about your life is just a tip of the ice berg. There is so much that the world cannot comprehend about you. You have only allowed people to see what you have done. But what about things you have not yet done? There is a great potential lying undiscovered, unexploited, and underdeveloped in you.
When will the world get to see the hidden treasure in you?
What are you personally committed to do to develop yourself?
What are you willing to do to become all that you were designed to be?
Potential is dormant ability.
What you can become but have not yet. What you can do, but have not yet done. What you can have but do not yet have. You are work in progress.
Each day presents a great opportunity for you to become a better person, a more creative person, a more loving and caring person. What you have become, done and achieved pales insignificant when compared to what you can become.
As observed by many great speakers; the likes of Dr. Myles Munroe; Les Brown, the richest place on planet earth is the graveyard. Buried in the graveyard are dreams that were never acted upon.
Inventions that were never brought to life, music that was never produced.
Don't allow the graveyard to claim your treasure.
Aim to die empty after you allow the world to see all that you are capable of becoming. Each day ask yourself: What must I do today to become the person I am capable of becoming? What must I do to develop my full potential? What must I do to release the greatness that remains dormant and undeveloped inside of me? Remember: You are work in progress.