Coronavirus pandemic has no doubt affected economies and businesses all over the globe, which has brought unprecedented challenges to the well-established firms and start-up businesses as well. It has become more difficult for businesses to keep afloat during this period due to a decrease in revenue and general financial crisis in the business environment.
The effect of this present crisis on startup or small businesses especially is more brutal as they have less cash reserves and low margin for meeting up with the sudden global economy fall. Speaking to a leading startup business owner in Sokoto, Olatunde Mustapha gave an account on how the pandemic has affected his Event Planning business and other of its kind.
He also gave an insight on how businesses, most importantly, startups can survive during this period and as well appeals to government to create soft loans for businesses after things might have returned to normal.
“This lockdown has made many of my live events and keynotes to be canceled, not even rescheduled, for you to just know how bad it has been for me event planner. The Academy which I also run concurrently can not go on as usual due to the maximum numbers of people needed to be present at a spot. It is no just an easy moment for me and other businesses that entail coming together of people.
Despite that, as an entrepreneur who ventured into this business with problem-solving ideology, I have been able to devise means which will enable me to keep my business alive while this pandemic lasts.
The means I am talking about isn’t rocket science, it is something that many people have been buying into since the start of this pandemic. It’s just going digital. It is not going to be meeting companies to hire me to plan their events but rather, bringing the idea of how creating a virtual experience with them could help the company revived some of its lost revenue. And as usual it is going to be a win-win situation for both of us. I am well versed on the fact that not every event can be featured online, but that type of event which will appeal to the audience digitally is what is to be explored.
Responding to the ways in which event can be held virtually he said: It is something that has been ongoing for a while, thanks to the pandemic for making many to realize the necessity in carrying out live events online. All these live activities you see celebrities, influencers, and all the likes doing are simply virtual events. It might be just for fun to mere users, but believe me, they are making a good fortune off that. So to carry out virtual event, you need to sit down and create good content, after that you meet an organization, like some sort of brand, to partner with you or you go on with what you have, in the process of executing the plan, you will be bringing your business to wider folds and as well getting some capital.
On what the Pandemic has come to teach; I think what I’ve realized is that we have this opportunity to make the world a more empathetic place. It makes us realize we’re much more alike than we are different. If we can remember this, maybe we can all be a bit less divisive and a little bit more positive.
Advising other business owners during this period, Olatunde said “ the biggest lesson we can have right now is we shouldn’t be selling or marketing to anyone, we should be reassuring people and building trust and relationships, and figuring out how we can work together to solve problems. We also need to understand that uncertainty exists for everyone and that we have to approach things with empathy for how we connect with people and also how we present opportunities.
If you’re a professional event planner or brand marketer, and all of your events are being canceled, it may feel like the end of the world, but don’t let your spirit down. However, I think we need to look at what is possible and to reinvent what live events might look like. Obviously, you can’t replicate the feeling of being in the same room as people, of feeling each other’s energy, but what you can do is have to have another plan, which is to get involved in virtual events.
He also calls for government intervention by saying: “The government in all levels should assist by making available soft loans or intervention packages to support struggling businesses or other supportive policy as incentive for investment which will in turn has a positive impact on the economy of the country”.
Mustapha Olatunde is a graduate of sociology, one of Nigeria’s leading certified business, an entrepreneurship coach, and trainer with over 7 years of professional experience. His experience spans across brand and event management, who owns 4M Global Concept in Sokoto.
Written by; Hassan Temitope (@hatdapoet)