COVID-19 Lockdown taught me business lessons
The novel coronavirus outbreak will be forever remembered by people around the world for the untold hardships it has brought and which continue to bring businesses around the world to life. To UK-based Nigerian entrepreneur and shop owner Anne Namgbeh aka Anne ATS, the lockdown declared by governments to curb the spread of the deadly disease, also known as COVID-19, has really affected its two businesses, ATS Hair and Boutique ATS, as sales fell massively during the lockdown period.
“My worst moment as an entrepreneur was experiencing the pandemic. The hardest thing any business can go through is not making sales so it was hard, very hard. This experience made me stronger and I’m confident now that I can go through anything and get out of it.
“Since last year, the fashion and accessories sub-sector like other businesses has been severely disrupted by COVID-19. My businesses have been particularly affected by this pandemic because I sell clothes, hair extensions and accessories and we were in containment.
“People won’t buy clothes to stay indoors, so 2020 was terrible for me because no sales were coming. As soon as the lockdown was relaxed we created a massive discount for almost all of our products so we could get rid of the old stock and it worked well for the company.
“Business is slowly returning to normal as we have been stranded due to the pandemic. As you know, the UK has been affected a lot by COVID, but sales are starting to come back and business is doing well, ”said Anne ATS, an entrepreneur born in Edo State, who studied business administration at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.
Speaking on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the UK, Anne ATS said: “First of all, being an entrepreneur in general is a challenge. It doesn’t matter where you are. The initial challenge I encountered in my business was to make a profit. I didn’t make a profit for the first six months and it was very difficult for me.
“It wasn’t because I was doing something wrong, it was a new business and needed publicity. At the time I did not have a website. So I started selling on Facebook. I also drove to universities and shared my business cards.
“I used to tell students that they would get a special discount if they sponsored one person and would get more discounts if they sponsored two or more people. This strategy worked for me until I created my website. I always sell my products on Facebook marketplace, Instagram, my website as well as on dogebay.
“The main lesson I learned about doing business in Nigeria and the UK is that you can’t predict the future. We had planned to launch new products and work with some big celebrities last year, but the pandemic had a different plan, ”added Anne ATS.