How can I run and grow a business in an awful political/economical environment?
I want ideas or suggestions of how to grow and a run a business while fighting against these terrible political and economical times in Brazil, mostly in the Oil and Gas industry. Have any other business owners had to overcome challenges like this?
A good start is to recognize that the politicians are a stakeholder in the community that your business serves. Somehow you need to interview them to understand what kind of infrastructure they plan to provide to support businesses like yours. Add them to your stakeholder list which includes yourself, your customers, suppliers and employees.
You need a good statement of vision, mission and values to guide your strategic planning. Also, a business risk assessment so that you can plan mitigation actions should any of the major risks materialize.
My company provides a service for the latter. We are able to perform these in cooperation with you from our remote location over the Internet. A study typically takes about 1 month.
After the risk assessment is done, the next step is your strategic plan. We can also help with this.
A good template for a business plan can be found at www.growthink.com.
Generally in any country there are those who are either:
a) capable of and/or not interested in or bothered by any political/economic climate and can continue chugging along focusing on their business as the society around them unravels (and/or their industry gets strangled by policy change).
b) care about certain way-of-life and/or industry principles/issues and choose to push back against the harmful political/economic.
Time for a 'big-picture- reminder: Besides time, tide & taxes being inevitable, so too (in recorded history) is the rise and fall of civilizations. Ignorance of this reality can be bliss while awareness of this can be fatiguing.
Some are comfortable throwing their hands up, basically saying there's-nothing-that-can-be-done, just ignoring the political and adapting to the declining economic realities. Alternatively, my impression from your question is that besides working on finding a way to navigate the political/economic troubles, you are a informed, thoughtful, caring citizen who has the DNA to stand up to and push back against the bad political/ economic. You are to be commended for having this fortitude.
Your question is complex and profound. Political policy helps or harms a economic environment, plus of course political corruption (intra-government and/or inter-government & business) also harms the economic environment.
To truly answer this question ...in terms of what is best for you ...only you can answer whether the declining situation where you are is fixable or beyond hope. This answer will vary by person as we are all different. Are there issues that could be fought back against with a well orchestrated and determined effort ...or are there mega-trends that are fundamentally changing the realities that are most important to you? In the interim during your fight, are the adjustments necessary to your business to adjust to the political/ economic acceptable to you/ your values?
If the mega-trends suggest a future that is incompatible with you, consider voting with your feet and moving to another country where you can find the principles and values that matter most to you (vs. staying where you are as if you are committed to spend you life on a certain chunk of real estate called a country regardless of how that country changes). Economic opportunity and/or political climate-change are factors that have caused countless millions throughout recorded history to move ...to either neighboring countries or as far away as the other side of the world.
There is already amble advice from others in this discussion about how to stay and cope, but only you can decide if you can proceed in the changed climate where you are. Some can cope with anything ...while others need a lobotomy ;-)
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I don't know about the business climate in Brazil, but I would assume you have small businesses fighting for market share, customers and profitability. These small businesses need marketing services, if they are online at all. I work with small businesses here in the US, as well as UK, and the challenges are quite similar. If they need online presence, reputation management, social media marketing and all of those types of things relative to marketing, there are affordable solutions to provide.
If you wish to hear more, contact me
It would help, if you stated your specific business interest. Every business sector has its peculiar problems aside from the operational problems that all businesses are subjected to. The oil and gas industry is in turmoil all over the world. Notwithstanding, you need to stay compliant with all government regulations. Focus on areas of competitive advantage and network (play Golf because most oil & gas executives play Golf)
I don't believe in problems of those type Affecting a Business. As A Business Person, do you Enable Your Customers to Make Money, Save Money, or address Government Regulation? If you do it is about: Forming Relationships with Customers and Partners, Setting a course to Revenue, and Customer Success. If you have a Product or Service that does that, you can be Successful, no matter the climate.
Just don't do it. If you feel week now you never adapt to challenging conditions. By doing business in unfair environment you confirm that it's ok to do business with corupt people etc. Escape or it will destroy you.
Every one is an expert when the playing field is level as per the text book, when the terrain is different it is only those in the core of it who would know how to navigate.
My suggestion would be for you to look at others who have been able to make it in that environment then find a way to learn from them after which you can customise the lessons to come up with your own solutions and strategy.
I am in Kenya a place that is said to be difficult to do business but that is the view of those who are looking in from outside. We believe it is easy to do business in Kenya but impossible to do any business in Somalia, but that was until I met a group of businessmen from Somalia.
They run large businesses with the same ease as a banker in Switzerland, they have adopted to their environment so well that what I might call a hurdle they call a lever.
First of all, congratulations on starting your own business.
Many of the most successful businesses in the world have been started in the depths of serious economic downturns. Ford Motor Co., General Electric and so on.
My advice, based on experiences from starting 5 web-based businesses, would be to select, court and secure mentors as early as possible.
I've been lucky enough to not need them to survive, but fortunate enough to realize that they can make a big difference in the growth rate of your business(es), by facilitating access to finance, access to markets and so on.
When the environment become challenging, pull yourself out of where you are and look at the environment again. Look in between to see the opportunity within the challenges.
As I don't know your challenges in your country, I would illustrate one down here in Singapore where we are facing shortage of manpower due to very stringent control of foreign labours. While people are complaining of shooting high foreign labour recruitment requirements and levies payable and trying to reduce the commitment of getting more, the opportunity of outsourcing jobs for works unwilling to perform by local work forces increases. I advised my clients to increase foreign labours instead of reduce them, and it turns out that they doubled or tripled their profits.
It is workable as my clients are flexible and willing to take some calculated risks to react to tough situations.