2020: The Year that Changed Everything
2020 is the year that changed the whole world. Everyone felt the effect of covid-19 in every aspect of their life. The pandemic made the world come to a standstill in many ways. This was the most difficult year for many businesses and individuals. Some businesses folded, many employees lost their incomes, and even worse their loved ones.
The fact that you have made it through to 2021 is a big deal and you should be thankful. The new year presents new opportunities and challenges that we should be bold enough to face.
My key takeaways from the year 2020 are summarized below;
- Effects of Covid-19
- Income and employment
- Side hustle
- Business and the Economy
- Family and friends
- The future
Effects of Covid-19
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed cases stand at 84 million while deaths have surpassed the 1.8 million mark. The pandemic brought many economies to their knees and also changed how we interact every day. Social gatherings became a thing of the past and in addition, we have to wear masks every day.
The hospitality, aviation, transportation, education, and entertainment industries were hard hit by the pandemic among others. The world faced a period of distress unequaled from the last century.
The key takeaway is that our lives can be changed in an instance by factors outside our control. How prepared are you for this kind of events?
Income and Employment
We have learned some hard lessons on income and employment in 2020. One of the key lessons is that nothing is permanent. Many employers announced pay cuts and layoffs during the covid-19 pandemic. This was due to constrained earnings occasioned by the measures taken by the government to control the spread.
Many industries shut down completely for a few months and others for the whole year. This meant that they could not support their payrolls and were forced to send employees packing.
The takeaway here is that everyone needs a second stream of income (side hustle).
A side hustle or side job is not a new terminology to many, it is basically finding another income stream apart from your main job.
Due to income from employment dwindling, people have to become creative. May started selling groceries from their cars and others invested their time in getting new skills. The pandemic made it clear that one source of income is not enough. It does not provide you with the long-term security that you and your family can bank on.
Have you found a side hustle? Look for One
Business and the Economy
Many businesses were affected by Covid. Case studies below are for businesses I have consulted for.
Botto Solar Ltd
Botto Solar is a leading manufacturer of energy-efficient appliances, renewable energy products and catering equipment.
Products include energy-saving stoves, boilers, vegetable cutters, baking equipment, kitchen appliances, solar panels, solar home systems like dlight, power back up, solar hot water heaters, pool tables, musical equipment, electronics among others.
Our main clientele is educational institutions, hotels, restaurants, and development agencies like the United Nations among others. When the pandemic started we saw income plumate since our main clientele were closed for business.
Those with outstanding debts also refused to pay due to constrained revenues. We had become creative and market new product lines to new industries that we were not focusing on before.
The key takeaway is that businesses should be flexible enough to change business models for future survival.
Bovic Holdings Limited
Bovic is a one-stop shop for all your electronics, gadgets, appliances, and smartphones. It is a top 500 site in Kenya in under 2 years and a leading player in the online retail sector. The company has plans of becoming one of the top 5 retailers in both the offline and online market in the next 5 years. Plans are also underway to scale out in the region.
Bovic has partnered with major brands on smartphones like samsung, huawei, oppo, apple, infinix, tecno, realme, redmi, oneplus. On laptops, we have hp, Lenovo, dell and NEC. On TVs and audio appliances; Samsung, sony, LG, Hisense, TCL, synix, vision+, skyworth among others. Check the selection here.
We saw a spike in orders when the pandemic started since most people were working from home. We had one of our best months this year since our inception. After a few months, sales leveled out as consumer spending power decreased. We had to restrategize and introduce new product lines.
We also shelved expansion plans for the year as we monitored the economy and cashflows.
The key takeaway away is that you need to observe market trends and be nimble.
Most world economies have struggled and even come to their knees due to the pandemic. Spending power has been low for many households. Corruption is still an issue for many countries like Kenya. Kenyans lost more than Kshs 2.3 billion (USD 20 million) in KEMSA scandal which involved the theft of money meant for providing protective gear for health workers.
Government interventions like reducing pay as you earn, VAT and stimulus programs have not worked since they are short-term solutions to long-term problems.
The key takeaway is that government does not have solutions for your future. You hold the key to your future
Having a good health regime is now more important than ever before. Our bodies are the only place we have to live in. You need good health to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Take time to come up with a plan that will work for you. Squeeze in time for the gym, walks, marathons and exercise. In addition, invest in a healthy diet that will serve you.
Moreover, you need to take care of your mental health. Read books, study, and be a student of life.
Remember without good health you cannot perform at your best
Trump lost the Election in the US to Joe Biden in a dramatic turn of events. Trump has been one of the most vocal US presidents. How he handled the corona pandemic might have been a key factor in the voting patterns in the US. The vote count shows that the US is a divided nation and a lot of work needs to be done to repair the nation.
In Kenya, we have the BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga. It seeks to amend the constitution. Some questions we might need to ask ourselves;
How will BBI benefit us?
Whose interest is it serving? The people or politicians
Is the cost of a referendum justified at this time?
Is it going to repair the Economy?
Will it solve future problems of free and fair elections?
Will every community play a role in the prosperity of the country?
Will it create jobs?
I am not a big fan of politics so I will leave it at that.
I am a Christian and this post would not be complete without touching on the spiritual.
The pandemic saw places of worship closed and people had to find alternatives like live streaming. It is human nature to turn to GOD when we are at our lowest and have no other hope. We need to strengthen our faith both in the good times and the bad. Our purpose in life is to live out our makers’ plan and to worship and serve him.
What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose your soul? (Mark 8:36)
Some questions to ponder;
Do you believe that God Exists?
Where do you stand with your maker?
Where will you spend eternity? Heaven or Hell
Is the church standing in the gap for the nation?
How do you strengthen your walk with God?
My mum and dad taught me to read my Bible and pray every day if I want to grow. This has served me well for over 30 years.
Family and friends
Family and friends are the most important fabric of society to keep you sane during a pandemic. Invest in your relationships and ensure they are nurturing you.
Resolve to keep good relationships and cut off the bad ones. When you are at your lowest your friends and family will pick you up. When you are in distress, speak out and get help from your close circles, and if need be see a specialist.
We have to be optimistic about the future. We have to believe that all things will work together for good. If you are alive, you have a fighting chance. Don’t waste the present opportunity dwelling in the past.
Live in the present as you design the future. Continue dreaming and taking action every day.
Get better, Get stronger, Get wiser.
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