The Middle East Is Going Through a Recession, Here’s How to Keep Your Business Afloat
It seems like businesses in the Middle East can’t catch a break, from global recessions crippling the markets, to Arab springs rocking the region and sending investors running for the hills and the continuing below average oil prices; anyone in their right mind would tell you not to start your own business, some would even push you to close up shop and search for greener pastures.
I on the other hand ask you to soldier through, having launched our companies at the height of Egypt’s revolution, we were able to not only find ways to stay afloat, but grow in ways that many would’ve thought impossible.
Yes, this came with many sleepless nights, extreme levels of stress, but my partners and myself wouldn’t have it any other way. There is a silver-lining, just by going back and looking at economic slowdowns throughout time, most recessions after World War II lasted an average of 10 months, followed by growth cycles upwards of 50 months. So just hold tight, it will get better!
Opportunity still knocks for those who know how to take advantage of it; here are 5 ways to keep your business afloat:
- Minimize your full time staff and invest in worthy employees who can take on the tasks that were previously allocated to two or three staff members. During downturns bigger firms and companies lay off more experienced employees who would not be available for hire in an upmarket, thus leaving your office doors wide open for them to come strolling through.
- Be malleable, smaller boutique agencies and companies are more agile and can move faster at cutting their costs and switching strategies based on what the market needs, leaving the client pool much bigger than you think.
- Focus on giving your clients quality work. In a market where there are a million yous and mes, it is only during a recession when everyone is hit hard that you can shine. By giving your clients the quality and dedication they need, while your competitors are scrambling to take on anyone and everyone to cover their costs, your reputation will continue to help you succeed.
- Concentrate on survivability. Do not be reactive to the market and what is happening around you, but rather be responsive. Meaning do not focus on the problem (the economy plummeting and the political turmoil surrounding you daily) but on finding new solutions for your business. Don’t concentrate on the short-term losses, but rather the long term prospects and growth you can create for your company. Always think long-term and set your goals early on for your business.
- Position yourself ahead of your competition. During times of recession most companies go on the defensive, by slashing their marketing efforts and minimizing their services to the most necessary to stay afloat. A company that wants to continue to grow and shine, should do just the opposite, by continuing their marketing efforts, making their promotions more evident, and continue to introduce new products. The name of the game is maintaining a visible profile that stays relevant in people’s minds.
WE SAID THIS: The above might be easier said than done, but with the right positive and steadfast attitude and a mind that is open to unlikely opportunities, I’ll be seeing you on the other side! For more advice on how to build and run your start ups, check out our Business & Entrepreneurship section here.