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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Columnist: Jesse Agyepong

Work out for fresh start: Post coronavirus business nuggets from Jesse Agyepong

Jesse Agyepong Jesse Agyepong

On a usual browse through Facebook, I chanced upon this piece written by Jesse Agyepong the managing partner of Afiba Consulting (a peer-leading marketing and brand consultancy) and the Vice-Chair for Ghana premier league board.

The lessons shared in the piece are instructive and a needful for young businesspeople in Ghana, hence we decided to share.

He wrote, ”March/April - Arguably the most hectic months for many entrepreneurs. A period in which motivational speakers and change-makers even run for cover. We all hit ground zero, waiting to get ahead of the situation in order to build our personal narrative and actions

Everybody’s monkey was definitely different. However, the greatest motivation came from the man in the mirror

As a small business owner with 13 full-time employees, 3 contract staff in Accra, and 10 regional reps, the Corona Virus came at a bloody bad time. 2020 was supposed to damn good year.

The promise took off very well. October 2019 was the launch pad. It was sealed off in December 2019 and celebrated on the 31st night of the same month.

The shouting, the praise, the faith, and the seed sowing. God! I was ready for everything. I actually thought I heard him say “you are ready my son” or did he ask “are you ready, my son?”. Ready for what was about to come. I guess we all did not hear right or maybe we did

Everything went great. Truth is by the end of Feb 2020, we could project hitting our 2020 numbers by the end of Q1. Damn, we were on fire.

Boom. Corvid-19 comes in... What the hell is wrong with you. How dare you show up in an election year when all the lines seemed dotted.

Many businesses like mine have been badly hit. Sales funnel run out, revenues tanked, cash flow depleted, expenses seemed bigger and irritating no matter the value. The business case was out of the window.

As I shared on a program organized by Chairman Essien, Corona Virus has taken us back to the Basic Needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Two weeks to the lockdown, emails came in from clients putting contracts, planned events, and BTLs on hold. I asked all employees to go home and work remotely. My partner and I were torn between terminating all contracts and re-engaging when all the ”drama” was over.

It seemed like a very good idea. But on second thought we could not imagine these young people going home to stay “hungry”.

They had given a lot to the company. It did not make sense sacrificing them at this stage when we could accommodate for a period. We agreed to accommodate Month 1 payment for both critical and non-essential employees

Month 2 payment was difficult but necessary. Only possible through an adjusted remuneration.

I listened to the President announce the injection for small business. (That is a subject matter for another time). If I ever meet the minister for business development or the NBSSI boss...I will ask them 6 questions and share them with you.

President has also announced the lifting of the lockdown with a caveat for us to wear Facemask. I have my own views on the decision (That is for another time). For now, the phone is ringing and business is picking up. ????

On the home front, we’ve all gone through our moments of excitement and moments of challenge. Tik Tok is a classical example of what many decided to do. Some of us just kept our cool... ????

I picked up a hobby during this entire period. Gardening! The process teaches you the essence of patience and waiting for things to take their natural course or growth.

The period also enforced that generally held belief that truth is a defense. Be truthful to your employees, partners, creditors, and anyone you deal with.

Repeated lies might sound true at some point. Especially when it’s told with a pinch of emotions. Everyone loves drama. You might get away with fooling people but it will only be for a while until the truth catches up with you.

Be truthful in your dealings and have the patience of a Gardner/Farmer as you work towards “bringing back your business”

All the best as we restart 2020

God bless our struggle”