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No matter how great your business idea seems on paper, its viability will only be proven when it’s an actual enterprise operating in the real world. If it’s going to succeed in Nigeria’s challenging commercial environment, it’ll need all the smarts you can muster, plus a spine of steel.

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Your business has to be resilient. It has to be capable of withstanding the contrary storms of an unstable environment. This requires that you and your team be competent, innovative, and courageous. Without these qualities, your startup risks failing at its mission and closing shop.

Here, we’ll talk about the steps you can take to build a business that survives and thrives in adversity.

Strengthen Your Internal Expertise

As we’ve already noted, it certainly helps to have a competent team. When everyone knows their job and does it well, you’ll stand a chance againstthe crunch. This won’t always be enough, but it’s a much better bet than battling through trying times with a mediocre workforce. A good team will anticipate at least some challenges, and fix a lot of them.

You can strengthen your employees’ expertise by encouraging them to sharpen their existing skills and acquire new, relevant ones. Have them attend courses, and apply their learning at work. Your aim should be to have staff thatthoroughly understand your industry and market, and can help your business successfully navigate its terrain.

Master Key Risk Areas

Know where challenges are most likely to come from—whether that’s from the economy, competitors, your specific market, or even cybersecurity. Gain a mastery of these things, so you’ll be better able to tell when risks could materialize. And when this happens, your familiarity with these areas will enable your business to get through the tough times.

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If you have a firm grasp of the key risk factors that could affect your business, you’ll know what risk mitigation plans you should have in place. For example, if there’s a chance that you’ll be hit by a major disruption to your IT resources, you could prepare a disaster recovery plan. This will ensure that your business gets back to work soon after such disruptions happen.

Diversify Your Revenue Sources

It’s always better to not have all your eggs in one basket. If all you have is one revenue source, your startup could be severely threatened if that source fails for some reason. Do what you can to diversify the channels through which you earn. When you do this, you’ll reduce the risk that comes with depending on a single channel.

One way to expand your revenue sources is to add new products to your existing offerings. Ideally, you’ll want the new products to target a market that isn’t identical to the one you’re currently selling to, so you won’t suffer if your first market weakens. You can also introduce related services; an instance would be teaching basic programming in addition to building software products for client businesses.

Be Flexible And Adaptable

Your startup needs to be flexible and quick on its feet if it’s going to survive unstable markets. In reality, this will mean softening rigid hierarchies at your organization, so that your staff doesn’t need multiple permissions to respond to ongoing challenges.

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Structure your team so that it’s able to function dynamically and quickly move in tandem with rapid economic, industrial, and market changes. Encourage creative thinking and brainstorming sessions. Get everyone to contribute their ideas to improving on the business’s current position.

Communicate Honestly

You may want to project strength in uncertain times. That’s understandable. But you will also need to be honest with your team about where your company is at. Your aim should be to earn and retain the trust of your employees, and make them see themselves as stakeholders in the success of the business.

Ultimately, your transparency will make it easier for each member of your team to take up their responsibility and do their part to steer your organization forward. And with all hands on deck, you’ll have a fighting chance against the difficulties your startup faces.

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This article was first published on 24th October 2022


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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