The 2017 Business Quandary

Running business in Kenya in 2017 has been to say the least, exhausting!! The last 18 months have been some of the most exciting but turbulent times to run a business. If you have sat with me, you have heard me say that end of 2016 and all of 2017 have not been the most appropriate times to open a business. Well, save for media, printers, hecklers and anyone who aligned themselves to politics, for the rest of us, it has been an uphill task.

Somehow Politics makes especially developing countries unstable; in more ways than one but I choose to focus on Economically. It is in this political year that we have watched buyer behavior change drastically.

With the increase in cost of basic consumer goods, people like me who sell a luxury have had to take a very uncomfortable back seat. Anyone I have told this tells me, “What do you mean, but ladies have to make their hair?”. Yes, they do. However, they do not have to do hair in upmarket suburbs like they ordinarily do. When unga, milk and sugar become so expensive, the estate salon or at home dos become quite appealing. Eating out is subconsciously replaced by very tasty home cooked meals. End month splurges of four new pairs of shoes become an unfamiliar phenomenon. Overseas holidays and Tembea Kenya, oh! Absolute wishful thinking.

I am writing this from a personal point of view to encourage anyone who has seen a negative shift in business this year – it happens in every other country every political year and the problem is not permanent. The beauty of being pulled down is that you have a chance to get up. So be encouraged, 2018 is coming. All the plans you were to launch in quarter four of 2017 that have stalled thanks to an unending political disruption; you will launch in quarter one of 2018.

Banks haven’t lent, corporations have laid off, conglomerates have shut down, but your small business is still standing because of your resilience. Because it is your life. How about starting next year on that high that you will have to challenge yourself to keep up and outdo yourself, huh? The time to re-strategize is now, you have two months.



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