Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh’s thoughts … Are we ready? Preparing for opportunities in challenging moments


COVID-19 has changed the way business is done, even fashion. We have realigned our priorities and are paying more attention to certain sectors of economy, lives and work that we should have considered earlier. This is because when you change a person’s state you actually give them a new desire and lifestyle.

A woman in pregnant condition behaves in a different way and craves for unique things.  Students set to write their final exams now begin to value time and learn with a new attitude. The posture of a doctor is markedly different when performing a surgery.

The state you find or put yourself in impacts on your attitude, commitment and results. One of the lessons we can learn from this pandemic is not to wait to be put in such a position before we get ready as individuals, a people and a nation. We need to pay attention to our fundamentals, prioritise our frontlines every day, save and invest and leverage on the opportunities of new media.

What lessons can you gather even as we are put in such a situation? What can you do better or differently, going forward? Here is the rhetoric:

Value people

If there was any time you could not tolerate a close family member, COVID-19 has surely taught you to love and perhaps stay with everyone…no matter how you perceive them. Why? We were recently in lockdown whereby we had to stay indoors, or risk our lives coming out. Of course, we had our close family members’ faces looking at us all throughout the lockdown morning, afternoon, evening.

You were forced to learn to live with people; and whether you liked it or not, you needed some peace of mind to process all that was going on – so you had no choice but to love them. However, we do not have to wait for perilous times before learning how to stay in harmony with others; no matter how they are, there’s a certain good in everyone. Thanks to COVID-19, some relationships have been patched-up and, subtly, love has been reignited.

Then again, the season of global crisis has taught us that we need each other more than the work and money we had replaced relationships with. When all else caved in – jobs, economies, cars, trains and airplanes could not move – it was our family that stuck with us. If we come out of this pandemic alive, let us take a look again at how we treat those who never left us in our time of need, and treasure them. Let us not wait to lose loved ones and live with regrets of what we could have done that we did not.

Work is very important, we need the money to take care of ourselves and loved ones. However, we should not be carried away in pursuing these things at the detriment of spending time and showing love to those who need it. We need to create a balance. What can you do to give your best to family and still be resourceful in your business?

Be ‘ant-wise’

If not anything else, this pandemic has taught everyone the importance of having enough to live on in the lean season. Has history ever recorded a time when humans literally scrambled for tissue paper? Well, this is not to suggest that you save or hoard tissue paper.

The wisdom of the ant, which I allude to as being ‘ant-wise’, implores us to gather enough during the time of abundance. It suggests that during peak times of your business, you need to have a ratio of allocations for savings. You don’t have to wait till you have so much; let saving be a culture.

At any point in time, don’t spend all you earn. Save part of it and don’t be caught up in the trap of having enough before you put some aside. The time to save is now; “time and tide waits for no man”. There are times called the ‘evil day’ or ‘night when no man can work’, so start now. What percentage of your earnings will you save?

Summer and Winter

The idea of seasons is another lesson closely related to the study of ants. Indeed, COVID-19 has taught us that times and seasons are for real. The average market person who barely made sales, quickly recorded a rapid demand for their products and services as people began to buy out of panic.

There was an unanticipated turnaround for some businesses and products which we barely considered, and for others which had a normal cycle of ‘business as usual’. Summer and Winter happen; no situation remains perpetually. Some giant companies collapsed while some start-ups employed more hands!

A single government decision can create jobs for so many people. In 2008, when the monopoly of Ghana Telecom was disenfranchised, several business owners and investors were launched into their season. There came ‘space to space’ and many related telco businesses.

Around 2004 and 2007, oil discovery, production and exploration in large quantities in the Western Region of Ghana thrust the country into becoming a commercial oil and gas producer, creating several related businesses.

A relief can be a boost to set an individual or family on course, a fund booster may come your way to turn things around for your business. When things are going well for you, be ‘ant-wise’; save and keep some for tomorrow.

Certainly, lend support as often as you are able; and know that the person who is down or in low times at one moment will be a major tycoon at another time. Planes were grounded, but vehicles were moving! The sanitiser business has responded to times and seasons. It’s a major lesson, but have we learnt it well?

Wear your lipstick

Lipstick may not be out of fashion, but certainly face masks are in their season. That, certainly, no one can dispute; we are all witnesses. The fashionable use and display of face masks highlights our creativity and innovation.

We have produced face masks out of necessity, and this suggests to us that if we pay close attention to the many problems in our country and continent we could be more innovative. Successful entrepreneurs teach that as we create more solutions to the problems around us, we maximise wealth and opportunities.

When we changed our taste and preference, manufacturers responded to it. Iced-water has moved from being served in cups by hawkers and vendors to being tied in rubbers, to now being packaged in neatly sealed bottles and sachets. We need the right innovations and technology to respond to the unique demands of each situation or challenge.

Hitherto, you bought a cup of iced-water, stood at the spot to consume it – and the cup could be used to serve the next person. Education on the health implications perhaps put us in the right state of mind to make a demand for something better. Even local foods are being canned now; it started with palm oil, then fufu powder and the like, and most recently beans and plantain, popularly called ‘red-red’. We have a few more in this list, which ones can you think of? What lessons do they draw your attention to?

Do ‘Kpa kpa kpa’

The directive to stay at home ignited the need to have extra ‘vessels and oils’, money and other resources. How long your resources last is more critical now than ever. Now, we all know that keeping one stream of income is suicidal. We certainly need to identify and tap into multiple streams of income. We can diversity our resources and start related businesses, have a side-gig and – very importantly – invest in secured investment instruments, including your profitable businesses.

Scientists and psychologists suggest that several ideas flow through our minds daily, and we are only able to pay attention to a few. Will you consider writing out the new ideas that come to mind, even the ones that look like junk? Zoomlion is a product of an idea. Which of your business ideas has long passed the test of incubation?

Keep a social distance and stay safe.

>>>The writer is a corporate trainer and professional ghost-writer assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness, and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via: [email protected] or [email protected]

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