How businesses can survive economic downturn
How businesses can survive economic downturn? Most businesses experiencing the adverse effect of economic downturn need to wait for this: literally wake up and smell the coffee!
That is the candid advise of Mr. Victor Eburajolo, who leads the Kewalram-Chanrai Group, the over 100 years old conglomerate with diverse interest in automobile, pharmaceuticals, agric and agro-allied sectors, to mention just a few.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, Eburajolo who is Group Deputy Managing Director, while recounting the experience at Kewalram-Chanrai Group during the period of recession, said, “What we do here is, we scan the business environment and we project for each and every business. If it’s going up, we’ll invest in that area. But then we’re very cautious and l think that’s the way to do business. You must continuously scan your environment and know what measures to take and what to do at every point in time.”
At the risk of sounding immodest, the Warri-born prince who said members of his team are not fly-by-night investors, unlike other crop of investing public who take flights, stressed that, “No, we’re not like that. We study the environment and we’re constantly studying the environment in each of our businesses and we take appropriate measures. Take for instance, when foreign exchange was becoming difficult, we had a way of cushioning it by getting our investors from abroad to help. So these are the things that we do. And of course, you can only do this if you’ve investors who’re prepared to help from abroad. We do that a lot. And then also, we don’t just go on spending. When we spend, we’re very careful. And I think that’s just been prudent. I’m aware that some companies when the going is good, they spend lavishly, they bloat their labour and all that.”
Pressed further, he said, “Here we joke and say; we’ve kicked out the box. We don’t have any stereotype in the way we do business. We’re constantly scanning the environment and keeping abreast if not the business will leave you behind. You know what they say, if you think you’re successful and you stay where you’re, other business will overrun you and before you know it, you’re a dinosaur. If these big stores don’t take into consideration online shopping and delivery, they’ll be run out of business. I was growing up when Kingsway stores went out of business in this country.”
While reiterating the fact that his company is a wholly own Nigerian company that has been there for almost 110 years, he noted that as a rule, the company is constantly looking for what they can do with the environment.
“We’re just coming out of recession, and we’re in very strong talk with the Kano state government. We’re looking for land in Kano, at least five hectares. How many companies would say they’re prospecting for land now? We want to use it as our sesame hub in Kano. And I met with the chairman of the Kano Investment Agency along with the Commissioner of Finance, a young dynamic gentle man, who is looking many years ahead. They know we’re serious about agric. Even in Ogun state here, we have 20 hectares of land. So unless you’re a company that is ready to stay, you don’t go looking for lands and spending billions investing in land.”