Since the squeeze on forex started,I will be stating the obvious,if I state that different companies have adopted different strategies to cope with this economic strain.Reason:Most of the companies import goods into the country from overseas and rely on forex for their transactions.
Some of the temporary measures adopted is laying off workers or pruning down their workforce while others are adopting salary reduction,increased work load through multiple shifts,abolition of overtime pay, extended closing time, casualization of labour ,among many other strategies,as coping mechanism.
Suddenly,the companies are shedding their weights and it’s like nothing bad is happening.But,truth be told:Something is happening. It’s an admixture of both good and bad,depending on where you place yourself in this present economic reality.
The three questions you should be asking is:
1 Which company is the next to fire its employees?
2.Why are they laying off workers and
3. Where do these laid-off workers go (or are not going)?
Finding answers to these three questions represent a goldmine of opportunities and every entrepreneur should show interest.
For example,I found out that the recent increase in inflation to 11.4% by February, 2016,is largely due to increase in the cost of food(the food sub-index increased to 11.3 percent,up by 0.71 basis point from that of January,2016),yet this rise coincided with the time of forex squeeze.
If food prices are increasing, one of the major reasons can be low local production of food and/or low utilization of agriculture produce.An indication that the laid off workers are definitely not going into agriculture!
To a discerning entrepreneur,it means the amazing opportunities available in agriculture and food business, even amidst increasing prices of food,is yet to be taken.
When I conducted a research and made enquiries from players across the food and agribusiness,the verdict is the same. This is a period of boom in that sector.
As I write this post,plantain supply from plantain farms is “on booked down”,same applies to eggs,cashew nuts,bread, etc. My field research was further confirmed by numerous posts available online such as this one below :
“Hello house, I need a reliable suppliers of plantain in large quantities precisely from Osun,Ondo,Ekiti, Ogun and Edo states.interested to supply the company needed them should contact me on 07036427775.”
Also, I have overwhelming evidence that most companies now resort to local suppliers for products and raw materials they once import from overseas.It is interesting to note that some of these materials these companies now import, are not among the 44 items on the CBN prohibition list I wrote about on 10 July, 2015.
How about the agric produce processing business?Despite a huge market of almost 170million people to feed,that sector is almost non existent.
While a company like Fumann Plc(presently in receivership owing to its indebtedness to UBA Plc.) failed in the juice business due to poor strategy (they were out-competed by a stronger competitor who buys off all the packaging from the the company monopolising the production of the juice packaging ) and most probably poor finance management,other companies are beating competition by focussing on producing fruit concentrates in powdered form.
Apart from this currently existing opportunities, there are still other business ideas that have not been tried in the country at all.For example,production of dried mango fruits among many others listed in my book, ‘1000+ Practical Business Ideas and Directory of Money Sources’ are yet to take off in Nigeria!
Finally,as you ponder on these opportunities listed above,I will leave you with a broadcast message I received from a friend working with an agroallied company,just two days ago!
It’s yours for the taking :
“Hello ma(sic) people, do you know my company buys about 15, 000 – 20, 000 metric tons of maize every year and soya of about 15, 000 tons? Some of these are sourced locally and abroad, but with the high (foreign) exchange rate these agro allied companies are forced to source locally.
This year maize has been very scarce and expensive compared to previous years. I want to challenge many of you to go into planting of these two essential commodities especially now that crude oil is failing us. If you have av got 50trailer(of 30tons capacity) loads of maize today, I promise it will be cleared by my company. Dare to go into farming?”
If you are interested in this offer, please kindly get in touch.
Sunkanmi Vaughan is the host of ‘Bizlifelines With Sunkanmi Vaughan’ on radio and author of the most comprehensive business opportunity handbook; ‘1000+ Practical Business Ideas and Directory of Money Sources