Economic recession has always been an unwanted guest in the business environment. It sneaks up on you with no warning, and you can never know when it’ll pack its bags and leave. A recession is the time when profits take a nose dive, millions lose their jobs and the prices of products and services soar.
This may sound like a shock, but just the way you have businesses that go bankrupt or struggle to break even, there are businesses that make millions during the recession. Companies like Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, Netflix and a host of others defied the hopeless norm of economic recession and thrived through it and are still going strong.
What makes them different from the businesses that fail during a recession is that they viewed the scenario with a different perspective. When you capitalize on these differences, you too will also be able to not only survive but thrive through the recession.
1. Leverage an urgent consumer need.
“Recession does not mean that the people suddenly stop spending money,” said Will Rees, director of Worktop Express. “Price comparison certainly becomes higher up the agenda, but people don’t buy on price alone. In my opinion, there is a real shift in priority towards value, during a recession. The consumer will carry out a fair degree of research — and will usually choose to purchase the item that represents the best compromise between price and quality.”
For instance, plastic credit cards were created to deal with the problem of fading cardboard credit cards. Airbnb came about as a new way to face the issue of expensive lodging, and it’s still doing well. For similar reasons, companies like PayPal, 2Checkout and TransferGo are also still thriving: they solve the funds-transfer problem.
2. Source capital from investors.
If you have a promising project or business model, pitch your business idea to an investor. The objective is to solicit enough funds to get the business up and running and unleash its full potential to hit it big in the market.
In the words of Matthew Tagliavia of Fund an Idea, “Angel Investors and venture capitalists are always on the look-out for promising businesses that have the potential to give high returns on investment.
3. Invest in personal and business development.
When facing past recessions, the difference between those who stayed afloat and those who soared was usually in how open they were to new innovations or new ways of thinking. Reading books and going for seminars or trainings are non-negotiable factors for running successful businesses. One characteristic most successful entrepreneurs have in common is that they are voracious learners.
Recession is never an excuse to allow the quality of your business to wane. Developing yourself and your business makes you stand out from your competitors.
4. Find creative alternatives.
During the 2008 recession, companies were closing down their branches due to the cash crunch. Macy’s took a different path — it took to creating virtual stores on the internet where customers could buy products from the convenience of their homes. Other companies, like Ford, Alaska Air and VW, also found creative alternatives.
Coming up with convenient, innovative and cost-effective alternatives will make your business more attractive to consumers. This is because during a recession, consumers look out for better deals.
5. Don’t slow down on advertising.
As funds start dwindling, companies start reducing advertising budgets. Although this helps them cut costs in the short run, in the long run they start losing relevance in the eyes of the public and are soon forgotten.
More customers patronize the heavier advertisers because that advertising builds trust in the minds of their customers that those businesses are stable.
Flux Panda Brings Live Stream Shopping to MENA Region
Flux Panda Founder, Alexander Rauser
In response to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Flux Panda was created to encourage businesses in the Middle East and North African region to utilize live streaming platforms to sell their products. The App combines the functionalities of an eCommerce website and live streaming app. Merchants upload the products they want to sell during the live stream, connect Flux Panda to multiple social media platforms with live streaming like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and their customers can buy the products by clicking the buy button and entering their payment details.
“Our goal is to make the selling and buying process on live streams much easier and enable any business to own the experience. While many small and large businesses are already selling live on social networks, our solution fixes some key problems such as order management, real-time inventory, and customization capabilities. You could say we are similar to a platform like Shopify, but focused on live commerce.” says Alexander Rauser, Founder and CEO of Flux Panda.
The App offers a flexible pricing model to cater to small businesses, eCommerce companies, and even large retail brands. Currently, the Flux Panda partner network covers South East Asia, Central America, Africa and the Middle East with further expansion plans in 2021.
According to research by Coresight, live selling generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and expectedly doubled in 2020 to $129 billion. Live selling has been popular in Asia for many years, even before the pandemic hit. The largest western fashion brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have already tried live stream eCommerce through China’s biggest marketplaces like Tmall and Little Red Book.
About Flux Panda
Flux Panda is a live selling solution established in 2020. It combines the functionalities of a multi-platform live streaming tool and an eCommerce website so viewers can view the details, add to cart, and pay for the items being demonstrated. It is the only solution where merchants can sign up and go live without any assistance or setup fees. It can be used by merchants with or without their own eCommerce site.
aYo Uganda delivers value through pandemic
Microinsurer aYo Uganda has underlined its commitment to the economic wellbeing of its customers in the country by paying out more than UGX 760 Million Shillings in 2020, through the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company offers Hospitalisation and Life Insurance Cover through its two insurance products, ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’. Commenting on the company’s performance, the CEO of aYo Uganda, Allan Lwanga, said consumer anxieties around Covid and its related economic challenges had heightened awareness of the need for protection and help in the event of either loss of life or hospitalisation.
“Despite the challenges brought about by the containment measures and an uncertain pathway of the pandemic including over three months of lockdown, the company was able to onboard up to 1 million new customers for the Recharge with Care product, and over 200 000 new customers for Send with Care products,” said Mr Lwanga.
Microinsurance is seen as a powerful enabler of financial inclusion in African markets, providing a much-needed social safety net that helps vulnerable people and particularly people with low incomes to stay afloat when the unexpected happens. This is particularly important in a developing country such as Uganda, where lower income households and informal traders have been hard-hit by the pandemic, as it has reduced their ability to generate an income.
aYo Uganda’s ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’ products cater for all MTN subscribers. aYo Recharge with Care offers life and hospital insurance cover every time customers recharge their MTN airtime. Subscribers can sign up by dialling *296# on their mobile phones, and use the same process for filing claims. Valid claims are paid directly to the claimant’s mobile money wallet without any hassle. With Send with Care, aYo provides up to triple the amounts that customers have sent via MTN Mobile Money over the previous four months. Life cover pays out to their family in the event of their passing, and hospital cover pays straight into their MTN Mobile Money account if they spend one night or more in hospital due to an accident or illness. When customers send money, they simply select aYo Send with Care when prompted*, or dial *165*1*4#.
African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO
African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)
African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.
Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.
Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).
Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.
As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.