As at the time of this writing, it seems that Nigeria is going through one of her worst economic recessions ever. Salaries are being owed for months. Businesses are literally packing up. Contractors have abandoned their projects because of no funds to push the projects. The president of Nigeria, President Muhammedu Buhari, at some point said, “Nigeria is broke!”
I mean, the other day, I visited a friend of mine, one whose business acumen I have come to respect. His was a sorry state. He had sent all four of his employees packing. There was no salary to pay them. His equipment was down and he did not have resources to repair them. He didn’t have money to take care of his family. Things were tough.
Adesanya(Not his real name), my friend, is a web designer and programmer and his biggest client is the Government. So you can just imagine the trouble he is going through this economic down time.
When we discussed he said, “George, this recession period doesn’t seem to be troubling you. You seem fine. The last time I checked, your business is still running, your members of staff haven’t been owed. How are you doing it?”
“Two reasons”, I answered. “I will tell you the second reason later. But first the first reason is that I PICK MONEY FROM THE STREETS”
He asked, “How?”
“Adesanya,” I responded, “you are focusing on huge chunks of money. If I were to ask you what project you are working on and how much you are expecting, you will most likely tell me something in the tune of perhaps a million or so. Now that your big payers are broke, you are also broke. While it is true that I look out for the big bucks, I am also very interested in street money.”
“Street Money?” He asked surprised at the term.
“Yeah street money”.
“Let me tell you what street money is” I continued. “Street money is the money made from consumable products. Street money is money made from products or services that have high repeat order. Street money is money made from the common folk. Street money is money made from products and services we cannot do without. Let me give you an example, I have this poultry where I rear broilers. Every 8 weeks I sell them off and get money. And guess what? I sell them, not to the supermarkets but to the real actual local market traders during their market days.”
Adesanya looked at me weirdly. Local market?
“Yeah local market.Those products sell faster there, especially on their market days. Then I also have this brand of chin chin I distribute around to several shops. My wife makes them, I distribute them. Income from that is more regular than regular. Then there is a liquid soap I produce and supply to homes. That is street money, Ade. And it is always there!
“In business cash flow is king. So while my core businesses like my printing, training and media organization brings in the bulk money, my consumable, fast cash businesses bring in small but steady flow of income.”
I had gotten his attention.
“In the trying times of any economy, the street rules. The street smart business people make steady income. It is because their focus is on consumables. Everyone should have a consumable business as one of their streams of income. Look for a product you can sell or distribute that people have no choice but to use. Especially food business. Humans will always eat. They have to survive. You can even eventually take your consumable, street money business to the next level later.”
My words stirred his thinking. He stood and moved reflectively around. And then he turned to look at me and asked, “So how do I begin?”