4 ways to earn and save money during a recession

7460432758_3beda3064f_oThe sheer ingenuity of how some people seem to be smiling to the bank in this recession while others seem to be falling into depression, compelled me to share these 4 tips that have helped me make money in the current economic condition in Nigeria. I hope that these tips help you also to make some big bucks in this recession.

1. Trim your expenses by trimming your personal staff

My Indian friend and I always make fun of how we live like queens in a third world country. However, at one point, I realised that I had several people in my house on my payroll, people who contributed to the reduction I noticed in my monthly income.

I had a security guard, a gardener, a house help, a nanny, a personal trainer and a driver. I soon discovered that not only were this people contributing nothing to my household income, they were in fact contributing to my weight gain. Therefore, I decided that I needed to review the functions and usefulness of my domestic staff.

So the first thing I did was to let my driver and personal trainer go. I started driving myself and spending more time playing with my children as a form of exercise. I downloaded Google map and joined a car pool. As a result, I was able to cut down my car expense by about 60%. My need to meet up activity time with my children made me realise that doing some activities added more value to my weight loss plan than the bi-weekly kick-boxing I spent my hard-earned money on. Therefore, up next was my house help and gardener. Thereafter, the security guard had to add gardening and car wash to his duties to remain on my payroll.Needless to say, I have not been this trim financially in years.

As a business, there are several things and people on your payroll that are not needed especially for a small business. Why would you have an office assistant as one position and a cleaner as another position? Why have an employee as a permanent staff that you only need at certain times in the month or year? It would save you a lot in staff costs if there is a review of your business payroll to determine who to retain and who to let go. In the end, your business will either sink or swim in a recession depending on the actions you take.

2. Put down the Internet

The cell phone has become a major expense for most people. The money you spend on airtime and data would make sense if it improved your business in some way. I as an individual decided that I would research and do mobile packages that gave me the best in terms of airtime and data at the lowest cost. Then I prepared a schedule of how I would spend my time on the phone. So I not only have more time to focus and to do things that brings me better return on my investment, I also save money.

For a business, all telephone service provider have a cheaper plan for businesses that you can take advantage of. Also, evaluate if you need a 30G monthly data for all members of staff in your company if you are not an e-commerce company. Would it perhaps be better to have individual Wi-Fi for each staff member? It may help to monitor how much data and airtime each person uses.

3. Say No to that equipment

Most start-ups in Nigeria start out by buying all sort of things they do not need. Such items like renting an office space, buying furniture and electronics. Why do you need an office space for a two-man company when you have a 3-bedroom apartment with only you as the occupant? Why does your company have an office car if your company is an IT company? Do you really need a 20kg packaging machine that costs thrice as much as the 5kg machine?

If you would just say “no” to the cravings of shiny new items at the start of your business and focus on growing the business, you will reap the benefits. Therefore, you should be focused on putting your profit back into your business at least for the first three years.

4. Backward integration cannot be over-emphasised

Backward integration is a business model whereby a company takes direct control of how its products are supplied. For example, a company may buy another company that previously supplied its raw material. That is, a butcher may own a ranch so that he does not have to buy slaughtered animals from an outside ranch. Another example is a bakery business having a wheat farm where it uses the wheat to make the flour for the products in the bakery.

Most businesses in Nigeria need to start exploring the possibilities of backward integration. There is so much cost savings potential here. For example, producing the raw materials you use in your business instead of importing them will save you import duties and the associated costs and also spare you the head ache of looking for foreign exchange. Patronising local producers in Nigeria is also another option to explore.

In summary, as a business you must be aware of your business operations and processes to enable you to spot opportunities for cost cutting in this recession. Also, recognise when to invest more money into your business and when to hold back. This would save you and your business a lot in the future.


3 Quick Tips to Measure ROI (Return on Investments) on Marketing Campaigns

These are quick tips to ensuring the money spent marketing your product translates to profit. After doing your homework expending time and detail to your design, using iconic graphics and styles, designing eye-catching suite of marketing materials, including advertising, direct marketing, and state of the art embellishments on branding, how you measure the effect of your hard work to your profits is key to making any progress related to your marketing expertise. How do you measure where each of your marketing Naira should be optimally spent to realize the highest return on investment from any given budget?

“Hilton Worldwide relies on technology to support its most critical marketing spend decisions across brands, portfolio and media types”

Martin Stolfa VP, Commercial Services Analytics Hilton Worldwide

Optimizing your marketing mix requires a predictive, dynamic and holistic approach to planning with analytics. However, if you are an SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and don’t have money to purchase elaborate analytics platforms, what you need to do is devise a full proof strategy that-

· Mirror real life scenarios and answer your ‘what if’ questions.

· Maximize your marketing budget to better invest every Naira.

· Eliminate cumbersome guesswork to connect marketing spend to revenue.

To achieve this, these tips are keys to ensuring the job is well done.

1. Social Media– Use social media platforms to deduce your brand perception metrics including awareness, familiarity, favorability and purchase intent. Social media gives you the platform to immediately measure, it gives you real-time reporting and flexibility in selecting KPIs {Key Performance Indicators}, provides a custom view to evaluate and optimize results at each phase of the campaign.

Example-you can set up a short survey on product awareness on your product on twitter for free. Google analytics can also help and it is free to a measure.

2. Codes- Include codes that define the specific medium so you can actually measure the specific channel the campaign was received.

Example- For each promo advert you post on any medium, say a BRT bus, or UNILAG Cafetaria, ask that customers reference that to get some discount or voucher, etc.

3. Improve engagement through Play : Games, Trivias, etc- Find fun ways to engage your target audience outside of selling products to them, then get the opportunity to use survey monkey to get your analysis on engagement.