For many Micro, Small and Medium Scale trade owners in Nigeria, the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow on their businesses, especially with the lockdown that characterised the period.
But for physically challenged hair stylist, Bature Hanatu Gyang, it was a blessing in disguise.
Gyang, a native of Barin Ladi Local Government in Plateau State, Nigeria, who trades in wigs (head fitting caps), in a recent interview with FaeCareFoundation, said although her business was hit by the pandemic, she found a way to reach her customers, while observing the health protocols.
“At a point cash flow and customers to the business stopped, as you all know that the business is more of fashion and the clients are woman who buy the wigs for occasions and offices and also to other places they feel they need to use the caps.
“But I utilised digital marketing to communicate with my customers by the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. I advertise my product that I make at home by keeping social distance and following the regulation of this pandemic,” the Accounting graduate from the Plateau State Polytechnic said.
According to her, social media presently the best tool for business owners to reach their customers, especially with the restrictions occasioned by Covid-19.
“It is fast and reaches thousands of people at a time when displaying my product. So my thought is to learn more about social media for me to reach more people with my products,” she added.
Speaking on the challenges of running a business as a physically challenged person, Gyang said it comes with both positive and negative effects.
“The negative effect has been the issue of mobility, the inability to move from place to places to sell my products. You know the structure of buildings in our country are generally not suitable for Persons with Disability.
Most buildings are very inaccessible and transportation to move from place to place is very discouraging. In all these, there have been positives; I have found that the ability to work on my own makes me innovative and creative. I am able to create beautiful styles that fit every woman. The core values of my business are truth, fairness and transparency.”
Advising young ladies with disabilities who intend to go into business especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, urged them to brace up for good and bad times, noting that succeeding in any business requires patience, sincerity and honesty.
“I encourage you to start and believe in yourself. You know nothing good comes easy; it takes strength, patience and hard work to achieve your goals. Use your ability and start up a business.
“To those already doing business, I encourage you to please never give up or be discouraged when you found yourself in hard times, such as these times. Accept risk as art of the business, be sincere and patient with people and most of all fear God, and you shall be blessed,” she said.