Surviving tough times

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 9:54 AM

Challenges can come anytime and that too without warning — but those who always have an escape plan ready are sure to survive. We have witnessed how the Covid-19 pandemic ruined two valuable years of our life. Many small and medium businesses were forced to shut down. Now the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic but the dark clouds of another disaster are on the horizon. As the prices of crude oil have soared in recent times, so have the prices of other commodities. We must have a survival plan. It is equally applicable to every nation as the economies of many nations are suffocating due to inflation.



Recently, one of my friends from India called and told me that he was closing his food catering business forever. Due to prolonged lockdowns he had lost his customer base and was left with no alternative but to halt operations. I suggested him to not retire from business so quickly, but instead switch over to another business. He got the message and reversed his style. He hired a food truck and started doorstep delivery of his food items as per customer’s requirement, and thus survived.

A decade ago, I had used the same strategy to survive from the global recession. Many businesses, including ours, were facing a shortage in demand. I did not change my business but instead changed my business style. I concentrated on prudent financial management and cost-cutting. I appealed to my family and employees to adopt a frugal lifestyle. My wife implemented a strict policy to curb unnecessary and wasteful expenditures. I avoided unviable deals. All these efforts resulted in our survival in tough times. Creativity or alertness also helps you to survive a disaster. I have read an inspiring story. In the times of the Second World War, a German platoon was stationed at a military post in an African country. Since the war had not reached there, the platoon was engaged only in guarding the post. At that time, an unexpected locust swarm hit the region. The locusts began eating the crops and the farmers became helpless. Food shortage in the future was inevitable.

The commander of the platoon came to know about the locust swarm. He carefully observed the locusts and found that they were oily in nature. He remembered that the oil extracted from these locusts was used as the best lubricant for minute parts of watches. He ordered his soldiers to collect the locusts. They packed the locusts in bags and the consignment was sent to Germany for further processing. There was a triple benefit of this decision. The platoon, along with the locals, saved the crops and kept themselves safe from the food shortage. Second, the commander engaged his manpower for a useful cause and lastly, he helped his country earn a valuable income.

Patience, positive thinking, and preparedness are the virtues necessary to overcome any challenge.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading.


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