2017 has been a tough year for most businesses in Kenya marred with political uncertainties and low economic growth.
With the country deeply rooted into politics, in only four months, the private sector is said to have lost more than 700 billion shillings.
From the time the polls were held on 8th of August, then annulled by the Supreme Court of Kenya, the economy is said to have lost a whooping 1.4 trillion shillings.
The repeat polls were held on 26th of October but boycotted with the main opposition, National Super Alliance (NASA). The future for businesses still looks gloomy and the country is still guessing of what will take place on Monday with Raila Odinga’s announcement that he will be “giving the way forward to his supporters.”
The Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been caught in the middle of all these political fracas. Most SMEs have been on the receiving end with thousands of them having closed down already.
SMEs account for 90 percent of businesses in Kenya. They also provide employment to more than 80 percent of Kenyans. Unfortunately, statistics show that more than 400,000 of them are shutting their doors annually with more than 300,000 facing their demise before even their second birthday.
There is need for SMEs to be enlightened on how to survive in the wake of economic upheavals and political uncertainties. Here are some of the simple tips:
1. Do not put all your eggs in one basket
This is an old adage that still makes sense in today’s business world. We have had incidences where small businesses are attacked and destroyed by political fanatics leading to the loss and destruction. In most cases, the owners fail to rise again because everything they had goes down the drain.
2. Watch out the region you are investing in.
Although we are always encouraged to embrace diversity and invest anywhere in Kenya, there some regions in this country where your investment in a political year is ten time more at risk than an investment in Kismayu, Somalia. Avoid areas that are always prone to violence in a political year.
3. Avoid perishable goods
At time like now, where you have close your business from time to time, perishable goods will only give you losses. Have a stock that will stand the test of time.
These may seem like simple tips but trying them out will make you survive and wade through the current political and economic turmoil.