- 11/3/2014 <--Prev : Next-->
I know I am going to alienate a lot of people but I have to have my say.
The general consensus is that Zimbabwe and Bulawayo business in particular, is slowly closing down, coming to a halt, dying in fact!!
Less goods in the shops, less business being undertaken, businesses closing down, companies going into liquidation or under judicial management. In fact a general steady downward slide towards the way things were in 2008.
Many people are now reverting to cross border shopping as goods in Zimbabwe are becoming just too expensive. Indeed they are, but it is a vicious circle, buy outside the country and the local traders will suffer and this will ultimately result in them increasing their prices even more as they try to survive. The question is, are they being too greedy? Are the prices unrealistic, too high, reflecting a degree of profiteering? Or is it a genuine reflection of expensive duties, tariffs and import costs?
I am not an economist but even as a blond housewife I can see there is a gigantic problem here.
What I do feel however is that when it comes down to entrepreneurial drive we have tended to become lazy and moribund as a country. We cannot and should not just be "lying down and accepting it"!!
Last week I had an eye appointment in Johannesburg and my appointment with the surgeon was scheduled for six am!! And I was not the first person there!!
Now I know for a fact that many businesses in Bulawayo only open at ten am!! Shops, coffee shops, breakfast facilities too, it is most strange. Surely if your business is suffering, you need to work longer hours, you need to be open to attract the shopper or the customer? However there are some shops that open much longer hours and full credit to them for this.
The successful people I know work long, arduous hours, and reap the benefits.
In vibrant economies, shops are open twelve hours a day, and some even twenty four hours a day. Businesses need to reduce costs, work longer hours and keep customers from heading to Bots to do their monthly shopping?
In some cases the prices are exorbitant; very few places in the world would accept the high mark-ups that many of our shopkeepers put on the goods!! Make a profit, but not at the expense of putting your company out of business!!
It sounds simplistic, but I seriously think we are becoming a nation that is forgetting the meaning of hard work?
I associate with people who are driven, always have been. No nine to fivers here!!
Let our shop-keepers, business community and service providers get together and realistically assess their prices. It will be worth it in the long run. We are used to making giant entrepreneurial profits from those crazy days gone by, but now we have dollarised, we need to get into the real world and make a living, the hard way, like they do in other successful countries.
And it's not only the shop keepers that are over charging, anything that is service driven is crazily expensive. Gone are the days when we can charge what we like for a visit from an electrician, plumber or mechanic.
We recently contracted someone to fix our gate and when we objected to his bill, lets say five hundred dollars, he calmly suggested we pay five hundred Rands instead!!
It's often a complete thumb suck what one gets charged for services these days.