April 7, 2020

SUDHIR RUPARELIA: Thoughts on how to manage amid COVID-19 economic slowdown


We are entering into recession period globally and the exception is likely to be India and China with ~2% GDP growth in 2020 which is way below ~5 – 8% in the past several years.

For the benefit of all, I am sharing my perspective on such scenario on few aspects as below:

What will change during the slow down:

  1. Spend on luxury will come down drastically
  2. Long-term / Capital expenditure such as construction, technology will be almost cut to nil
  3. Lifestyle expenditure such as salary, rent, infrastructure, entertainment will be minimised
  4. Working capital will be under tremendous pressure. Businesses will go out of business especially those who are riding on borrowed working capital
  5. New innovative business models will evolve

What will NOT change during the slow down:

  1. People consumption on essentials will continue
  2. Rise in Investment on ideas/technology solutions that will improve efficiency
  3. Short-term trading businesses with healthy cash flow practices will thrive
  4. The rise in investment on spiritual / self-learning practices
  5. Value for money products/services will shine

What you should do as an individual:

  1. Hold back any luxury / high-risk investments where visibility of returns is difficult to predict
  2. Minimise expenditure on the routine stuff – keep a watch on your lifestyle spend – ask the question, is it really necessary!
  3. Develop yourself on improving competency and developing skills to become sharper and efficient
  4. Share the financial situation with your family members and educate them on the family financial position and the plans to improve
  5. Invest – yes invest in the right things. History repeats. Take risks based on thorough research. This is not the time to follow tips.

What you should do as an Entrepreneur:

  1. Take care of your employees – communicate more than ever. Be reasonable and transparent with them
  2. Use the slow down to improve your processes/people
  3. Invest in technology/systems that will accelerate your reach in adding value to your customers
  4. Be frugal in working capital decisions and operating expenditure
  5. Capital expenditure to be on hold unless there is clear visibility on the associated returns

Let us get smarter by helping ourselves and economy to bounce back stronger.

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia is a Ugandan business magnate, founder and Chairman of the Ruparelia Group, one of Uganda’s largest business conglomerates with over 28 companies in financial services, real estate, education services, hospitality, agriculture and media/broadcasting.

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