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 ;-)
Innovate like this: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Distributed_Autonomous_Community_/_Decentralized_Application
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.
The thing about political-economical influences is that they lie just below daily business practices and they block all the consumer feedback & feel-for-market. You'll be sailing blind into financially troubled waters. If you also eat from the same plate, later on, the revolution will turn against you. The best way to survive is to go non-electronic, disposable, pre-owned. I have a short free e-guide: http://www.lulu.com/shop/c-k-yap/1-million-business-ideas/ebook/product-21920607.html
You are not alone - we have rampant corruption and unemployment, business and consumer confidence is shot, and and and. Nevertheless, there is always a silver lining to a cloud - just gotta look for it. Best Wishes from a sunny but wintery South Africa
Dear Karin, the political and economical scennarios in Brazil is not so good for many businesses. My suggestion is to take a time to review your business model in order to work on making more, charging less. In your perspective, think in how you can deliver your services with low cost, and with a long term vision.
I don't know the size of your business, but try to measure the results of your actions. It is very import to know what results your actions are bringing.
Hello KARIN , Awful Political - Economical environment in any country effecs the whole situation , It effects the customers thinking of purchasing , then the people starts changing their priorties , In such environment you have to change your plans a ccording to situation in order to be able to take certain decisions to suit the new situation - taking into consideration your products quality & quantity , quality by asking your self -for how long it can last , will it gets effected by the date expiry , How much quantity you have in stores , according study your margin of profit then make new marketing plan in order not to be forced to sell at any price . increase your discounts for your distributers to sell as much as you can .
In a global world, to be successful you have to look beyond the politics and the economy. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what is your value proposition. How do I standout so that people want to do business with me. I will say this; I have clients who come to me because I keep my rates low. In some cases, they need help because they thought they were saving money by having done offshore and they did not get what they spent in return.
Hi Karin, I hear you. I know how this can affect business owners and especially the mindset and emotions of how you feel and operate day to day. This belief affects your mood, your decisions and your effectiveness.
There are 3 ways to thrive in any political and economic environment.
1. Find the opportunities in your industry and be willing to change and adapt to the current market in your industry.
On 9-11-2001 I owned a special events company in Beverly Hills, CA. We worked with a lot of movie studios, celebrities and corporate clients. We specialized in providing entertainment for their events from name acts to lighting, sound and production all the way to catering. After 9-11 most of our events got cancelled. Not a lot of parties and celebrations happening. I watched companies that had been in business for 10 years or more go out of business. I thought to myself, "Where is the opportunity here?" For me it was weddings. People began to realize that life is short and the wedding industry took off. That was a new but huge part of our business. When the entertainment and corporate business came back, we grew even bigger and had a whole new division of our company.
2. Re-focus in on your current and pst customers.
This is the easiest way to find new business, referrals and repeat customers. When the economy is down, we tend to shy away from trying new companies and taking risks. We go back to what we know and feel comfortable with. Go through your database and reconnect with past clients and focus on customer service, follow-up and going above and beyond for your customers. That's exactly what Zappos did in 2008 and now they are the benchmark for amazing customer service and company culture. Your clients will be so thrilled with your level of service, they will refer new clients to you, buy more often from you and oddly enough spend more money with you.
3. Change your mindset and view on your market.
This is probably the most difficult part but the most important. Ask yourself, how do you feel when you have this belief about your market and environment? What if this belief did not exist? How would you feel? As a business owner, you need to assess where you are now, and look into the future of where you are going. All amidst the things you cannot control, like the marketplace and the environment. Change the meaning you are associating to your beliefs by playing with you mind and believing the opposite of what you perceive now. In order for you to be effective as a leader to have to be optimistic about the "other side" of the challenge. That you are going to thrive during the current time and burst through the other side better than you are now. It is hard to do but effective, "Whether you believe you can or you can't, you"re right." - Henry Ford
Most of the biggest and most successful companies in business today started in a recession or depression. They were optimistic and saw the future of their businesses.
I hope this helps set you in the right direction. If you would like more clarity or specific tools to help you thrive in these times, drop me a line here or visit David Brownlee dot com and we will do a complimentary strategy session together.
Coach David Brownlee
The most important difference between successful entrepreneurs and those who try but fail is that successful entrepreneurs know they are the creators of their reality, while the others get distracted by the "news" (which is just socially accepted, commercially manipulated gossip and seldom relevant to them). When you take full responsibility for your outcomes, and see the outcomes you're getting as reflective of your own beliefs (e.g. the news is truth), then progressively let go of those beliefs that don't serve you, you will get closer and closer to your goals, or discover even better opportunities as your inner filter clears.
Bottom line, your mindset is key. Feeling like a victim of circumstances will deliver that experience. Seeing all change as creating opportunity will help reveal the opportunities the current politics/environment is offering those with an optimistic outlook.
Our mind works best as our servant not our master.
I assume you have a small business and have no political connections that could shield you from disruption. Here are a few rules for operating in a volatile environment:
-- Have a low-overhead operation, so that you limit exposure of your assets, and you can more easily weather economic ups and downs.
-- Have a high-margin business that throws off steady cash flow.
-- Have a fast payback business, so that you can get in and out rapidly if need be
-- You may want to hold your profits in non-cash assets, or in US dollars, so that it can't be devalued or expropriated away from you.
Hi Karin- you don't indicate what your business is or who your target customers are..but if you follow a basic strategy: 'Fish Where The Fish Are'...TARGET and POSITION your messaging/advertising/marketing and social media content organically to those most apt to have interest in your product and services. Who are your customers and where are they on the web (or are they on the web?). How do they find out about services and product like yours? Word of mouth? If so, go to where they are and give them a 'taste' of what you're about, what your product or services are about- instead of the traditional wait for the customer to come to you...GO WHERE THEY ARE. We live in a world that the consumer has more choices and options than ever and they are constantly bombarded with marketing messages everywhere they turn. Most are ignored, UNLESS the message is of interest- which is why you want to define who your target audience is, and then identify where they are- and then position your messaging directly to them using social media and whatever resources are available to engage them. Hope this helps you and finds you well...best- Greg Lee ImagineNation Los Angeles
firstly, think outside of regional and/or national boundaries. Think in terms of; I can compete with anyone, even the big guys because they get one website and i get one website. The big guys have huge overhead, staff, committees, they are slow, you are nimble, you can charge less by keeping your overhead low. Invest in a well made website, analyze your audience and their needs. Think about marketing, there is no point having a great product and a great website if people do not know about it so marketing is key. Educate your self about marketing, look into x-marketing using traditional media, not just web based media to draw customers to your web site. Look in the mechanics and practice of SEO, search engine optimization. Do not fall for scams in that area, lots of companies with send you dubious emails on the subject but what i recommend is that you do a google search for the term SEO, for example, google SEO in your relevant market, for example SEO in Houston, Texas; the ones at the top of the rankings really know what they are doing. Do this for a period of one month and see who consistently remains at the top of the top 10 in google. Also check in Bing and Yahoo Search. Use maps.google.com to create your own google map. Put information on it which will aid your customers in finding you online. Google loves original content so write extensively about your product or service and add original images which are unique to your web site; add "alt tags" relevant to your product or service on the images, upload them also to google images using your google plus account. Your competition only gets one google plus account, so do you so that levels the playing field. Think deeply on these issues and consult with seasoned professionals in marketing and online strategy. Examine your competition, see what they do well and see what you could do better than they. You will be able to implement that faster than they will because of less bureaucracy in your system. Your regional economy may be slow but globally there are many rapidly expanding markets. There is much more that i could say but no time to write an essay on the topic this morning. You can contact me however if you wish a consult, i've been building businesses and helping them with their websites, graphics, photography and video for more than 20 years. Best of luck with your new venture, sincerely, Kenneth Fersht of Salt Spring Design