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Hard lessons from the coronavirus pandemic

Access to the internet and trust among business colleagues are the main keys to success online

 

When the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm towards the close of 2019, not many business people world-wide envisioned how it would completely alter the logistics of business ventures or the way and manner businesses were conducted across the globe. But here we are, faced with the challenges of doing post Covid ’19 business effectively in the midst of the greatest level of insecurity the country has ever known since its independence some 60 years ago.

To effectively deal with these challenges of post Covid ’19 business transactions in Eastern Nigeria, business men and women in the East must react in smart and decisive ways that are bound to bring decorum and a greater sense of belonging together into the business community. As business moves on to the next stage, the time has become ripe for Eastern Nigerian businesses both at home and in Diaspora to seek out and seize all those opportunities that emerged during the Covid ’19 recovery process.

This might involve conducting a review and the collection of data and insights into lessons learned from the pandemic, and then using these to prioritize actions not only to enhance the moment’s business delivery values, but also to build strategic resilience for tomorrow. Businesses that take these steps now will be well-placed to capitalize more effectively on the opportunities that might arise from the post-COVID-19 recovery process as they continue to expand their market-base, getting new customers and as certainty and stability return to the society.

But perhaps, understanding the main challenges Eastern Nigerian business men and women face today will place them in a better position to know how to tackle those challenges, avoiding risks that are normally associated with such businesses.

The first and obviously the most important is trust. The entire online business transactions, from correspondences between seller and buyer to actual delivery and payment are based on trust. Where that trust is lacking or in short demand or supply, online business can never thrive. So, for anybody who is associated with Imo State Business Link Magazine, trust is a foremost priority.

 

Sometime ago, this company was duped N52, 250 by a man from Kogi State who claimed he had Kalahari goats for sale. He was paid upfront but never delivered. That was a case of breach of trust, something we don’t ever tolerate in Imo State Business Link Magazine.  But we never allowed that ugly experience to diminish our public esteem. We rose up to the challenge by evolving a policy whereby all businesses advertised on our social media forums must first be duly verified and then listed on our website . That policy has come to stay.

Another major problem business men and women face in the East is official corruption and its consequences. As a result of the high-level corruption in many government offices and institutions, costs of projects are unduly inflated which has a spiraling effect. There is also bureaucratic bottleneck that makes communication between the buyer and the seller extremely difficult. In addition, infrastructure is either obsolete or simply not available. For instance, there is a near-absence of electricity supply in most villages, towns and cities in Nigeria. Most businesses need electricity to operate and survive.

Without a constant supply of electricity, even small scale or medium scale manufacturers would be unable to produce to their maximum capacity and thereby reduce the high cost of purchases.

The roads are not even so smooth enough for farmers to comfortably evacuate foodstuff from the rural producing to the urban consuming areas, added to kidnappers and highway robbers attacking commuters at will, killing some of them who might want to resist them.

All these pointed the business community in Eastern Nigeria to one way – a greater use of online facilities to achieve the import of demand and supply within the business community of Eastern Nigerians and their business associates. And like our policy on using our preferred social media forum to advertise goods and services, the trend has come to stay.

Unfortunately, many of our business associates at Imo State Business Link Magazine are yet to rise to these challenges. Some have no access to the internet because their mobile phones don’t browse. Those who do have access to the internet don’t make use of it daily.

The internet is like the “holy book” of the modern business man and woman because in it you find the answer to your many questions about just anything under the sky.

I am, therefore, encouraging business men and women from Eastern Nigeria to ensure they come along with us to rise to this challenge of doing business online. If you claim to be superior to someone, you must show him how. We should work hand in gloves in TRUST to tell the world we have arrived. Yes. We have arrived in deed, emerging from the hard lessons we learnt from the pandemic. And all network members should please key in the importance of trust in doing online business. It is the best we can do for us.

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