Small Enterprise

How businesses can overcome poll uncertainty

Prolonged political tension is hurting businesses. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Prolonged political tension is hurting businesses. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenyan economy is ailing and nearly all businesses are in state of panic and paralysis.

If the events that followed last week’s repeat presidential votes that were boycotted by the Opposition Nasa are anything to go by there are no signs that political temperatures will die down soon.

With Nasa vowing to press on with clamour for political reforms such as protests, economic boycotts against regime-friendly companies and civil disobedience, the only thing that is certain in near future is businesses will continue hurting.

As the business owners and managers we are worried that things may get worse. That profits may be further eroded, jobs lost and even businesses shut down unless peace and tranquility is restored fast.

In the midst of all the gloom it is possible to feel hopeless, yet there is something you can do. You can make your situation better or worse depending on how you react. Your reaction to whatever is happening or may happen to you and your business is more important than the event itself.

In his classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie gives a timeless advice on how to confront seemingly insurmountable life and business problems.

The book was actually written mainly for the American firms emerging from the devastating effects of the two world wars and the great American depression.

This situation may be, though to a lesser extent be compared to what most business people are experiencing today, making it a good read. The book discusses at length the futility of worry in whatever situation you may find yourself in and how to find peace in a chaotic world.

One remarkable lesson is the practical way to deal with any problem or challenging situation you may find yourself in. Carnegie points out that there are three practical steps of dealing with any problem.

First is to analyse the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out what is the worst that could possibly happen as a result of it.

Secondly, reconcile yourself to accept it, if necessary. For example you have to accept that some of the problems we are experiencing today are beyond your control. You may have lost your business, revenue and other valuables. This is a fact and you cannot change it. It is spilt milk.

Thirdly, calmly devote your time energy and all your resources to try and improve upon the worst which you have already accepted mentally. Do not give in to hopelessness.

It is good to understand that a challenge, no matter how big it is, is a localised event that impedes a particular part rather than the whole.