Episode 60 Transcript

Welcome to Episode 60 of the Business in
Morocco Podcast today we are going to
talk about the corona virus, the Moroccan
economy, the current economic situation,
what's happening with work what's
happening with businesses and we're
gonna give a little bit of feedback from
listeners regarding their individual
situation some folks who live in Rabat
Casablanca and Marrakech before we get to
that Ryan what's going on let's get an
update how are you hey Ryan good to see
you yeah it's it's going so this is week
three got all three kids at home working
on home schooling it's starting to get
better I think we're getting into a
better rhythm we've learned some things
with technology you know got different
different apps and platforms downloaded
onto various devices we've got a bit of
a schedule and a system in place so
things are improving that way it's been
a big adjustment for me workwise
so thankfully I have this small little
office which is very helpful that's
maybe a side tip for people is if you
are working from home and you have
family members especially young kids it
can be useful to have a little location
that you can get away to and not just to
have more focus but even for yourself
personally that you're communicating to
your brain okay now is the time to focus
now is the time to do work and to make
progress on my goals not just you know
scroll social media and relax so it has
been an adjustment though as I mentioned
in a previous episode all events and
trainings have been cancelled but
there's beginning to be more events
happening online
so I've done a few Instagram lives and a
webinar and producing a little bit of
content for my youtube channel I'm just
sharing what what's going on and writing
a couple articles but the detriment to
all this stuff is it's free right it's
hard to find ways
to earn income whereas a lot of events
and trainings that I would do would be
paid all these things are more attended
by individuals rather than companies and
that makes a big difference because a
company you can easily invoice and
collect payment individuals showing up
for a webinar is a whole different thing
so it's a it's a new era and trying to
adjust and find new income streams and
ways to offer value and get paid for it
it's a challenge so figuring it out
Schwing Schwing
what about you how are things going well
first I have to apologize to zubir
and Marwan and Mohammed I mean because
we actually had a listener videocast
yesterday where we invited folks to come
on and answer questions give us updates
on the personal situation but I fail to
record the video so still getting used
to the functionality of zoom and I just
didn't realize that the entire time we
were talking was not recording so
apologies we'll get them back on the on
the podcast because they had a lot of
wives insights and updates that I think
we're valuable for our listeners and our
viewers so we'll get them back on the
podcast at a later date and we'll do a
bit of summarizing today of what they
had to say for me yeah it's a complete
shutdown I don't have a single client
that's working right now so I'm doing a
lot of reflecting on how to position
myself for when this eventually resolves
itself I'm not going to call it going
back to normal I don't think
everything's going to be normal I think
there's going to be a new normal and I
think this is really a time to work on
and prepare your business for the future
someone shared in the whatsapp group
Rita actually shared in the whatsapp
our club a video by a gentleman and he
basically was saying he was calling
everyone out their excuses that we've
all had for years oh I don't have time I
can't do this I can't read this book or
take this class or learn this language
because I don't have time right and he's
basically like well what's your Excuse
now right and what are you gonna do are
you gonna watch every single thing
that's on Netflix like is that what
you're gonna accomplish during this
lockdown yeah it's really interesting
because I think entrepreneurs are
actually going to have an easier time
during the lockdown because we're used
to being self-motivated and I think
everyone now has become an entrepreneur
right if you're in lockdown
you basically have to motivate yourself
your boss is not there nobody's watching
over you you know I've actually read
articles about all these companies are
freaking out about their employees
working from home because they can't
monitor them right they can't see what
they're doing is they're trying to
install spyware on all their employees
to make sure they're actually working
well that's that's sad of course but
right now everything is self-motivated
you have got to be individually inspired
to do work that's necessary and and one
thing I really want to impress upon our
listeners is you should be expecting
this to be much worse than anyone is
talking about right now the the virus
and the fallout and the economic
implications you should just expect it
and prepare to be far worse than anyone
is talking about and the reason I say
that is you know everybody for the last
few weeks was like oh China's fixed
everything's great in China well they
just locked down another city because
they have an outbreak so we cannot
expect a quick recovery here everyone
should plan for this to be very bad and
if it's not then great you're a better
we all hope and pray that it goes away
quickly and we have a quick recovery but
you know what it might not so really we
take this time to really think about
what you're doing in your work and your
personal life what your priorities are
and for business owners we really must
evaluate whether or not what we've been
doing in our business lives has been an
essential or non-essential activity and
it's very easy to identify that right
now because the only things that are
happening right now in the economy at
least in Morocco are essential things
like food water electricity housing
communication entertainment and
relationships and of course healthcare
medical care and you can throw in
transportation although that clearly has
become not as essential as it used to be
so for all of us who have businesses and
are thinking about the future we need to
move our products and services in the
direction of what is essential and one
of the things I've realized is that what
I've been doing is not essential because
my clients they've all shut down and
they don't need what I'm doing so that's
caused me to really think about how I've
been prioritizing my work yeah you think
about companies they're there wanting to
make profit they you know the only way
that they can stay in business that they
can function is if they're making money
and the further removed your product or
service is the the less directly linked
it is with how they generate income the
more at risk you are you know so we've
talked about this that you know the rule
that I have offering training and
coaching and consulting
that's a nice to have but it can be
difficult to build a case that it's
crucial or that it's necessary so
the more value you can offer and the
more directly you can illustrate or
demonstrate or prove that what you are
offering is impacting the bottom line
its increasing profits and the more
protected you are the more secure your
your business is but the more that
that's vague or blurry or tough to show
evidence for you're going to be cut
instantly and this isn't just true for
entrepreneurs and business owners even
for employees and I'm sure there's many
people that are at home right now who
are employees and they don't have a lot
to do and they're really not crucial to
keep the business running and there's a
lot of people that are probably thinking
wow I'm I'm not that important in this
company I have very much a support role
and I'm my work is very far removed from
the incan generating aspect of this
business and that is worrisome you know
so that's something to consider as we
think about coming out of this how do we
reposition ourselves both within our
company or within the entrepreneurial
space as well I wanted to just reference
this book a lot of you will have read
this before this is the e-myth it's
written by Michael Gerber and it's an
old book I mean I think I read this
thing like 15 years ago and it was
already a little bit old but it's a
classic and the basic summary the main
idea is that business owners need to
work on the business not just in the
business and this is a risk that a lot
of small business owners face is that
they just are busy doing work in the
business and they don't work on the
business and as you mentioned this has
given us a huge opportunity to to pause
the daily activities and to think
through the bigger picture of our
business and to get some things done
that will enhance the business that we
just normally don't have the time to do
when we're just juggling and trying to
keep all the balls in the air so that's
an opportunity that we have yeah you
mentioned employees one thing I was
thinking about is if you're an employee
and you're sitting home and you
doing nothing and you've been used to
just doing your job and doing the bare
minimum for CH initely it is seems to be
very common here Morocco is that people
they have a job description and then
that's all they do and they don't try to
do anymore they don't try and go above
and beyond and I understand the
mentality there's there's sort of the
mentality that even if I work hard it's
it's not going to be rewarded I'm not
going to get a pay raise I'm not going
to get a promotion you know all that
stuff's based on who you know it's not
necessarily based on how good a job you
do well if you're an employee right now
you're sitting home my recommendation my
advice to you is stay engaged with your
company with your boss be connecting
with them and offering assistance asking
them you know what can be done how can I
help because like you said there's going
to be some expense reduction here in the
next few months and typically what
happens is training and education gets
cut marketing gets cut and employees get
cut you know and maybe like conferences
and other events of course bonuses
salary bonuses stuff like that all that
stuff gets cut and if you're an employee
you want to keep your job you need to
show your boss why they need to keep you
and and not somebody else and stay
engaged staying positive offer value
even while you're stuck at home yeah
yeah so there's kind of two two main
thoughts that we have had especially
when we were talking yesterday with the
listeners one is what do I do now if I
have extra time in my schedule how is
that an opportunity how can I use this
time well and the second one which
guides the first one is coming out of
this what's going to be different and
how do I prepare for that and so
depending on your industry there may be
huge changes you know you talked about
companies that are trying to install
spyware you know I really think that
there's some companies who have been
advanced with remote working and
trusting their employees and also just
saying look we don't care when you work
we don't care how many hours you put in
we care about results and so we have
hired you to get results and if you're
getting those results doesn't really
matter to us how you're doing it or you
know when you're doing it that's not the
main issue and I think a lot of
companies will start to adopt that
mentality if somebody can hammer out in
three hours from 9:00 till midnight at
their home desk what someone else was
doing from 9:00 to 5:00 in an office
then it's really no difference to the
company if the results are there then
wonderful you're paid for those results
and I think a lot of companies will
shift that way we talked to dr. Ben
Makhlouf about the huge changes that
will go forth in education particularly
in the public schools where they haven't
been using a lot of online platforms
that's going to be a huge shift which is
going to create a lot of redundancy
businesses that are doing delivery or
e-commerce they're gonna increase and
businesses that are providing services
that could be offered online so things
like bank tellers there's gonna be a
huge shift in that people have had the
option in Morocco for many years of
doing a lot of transactions online
paying your rent paying your li deck
paying your phone and internet and
travel and these kinds of things and
this will be a catalyst that pushes a
lot of people to do that which means
those physical branches will be used far
less often and people will will lose
their jobs yeah we we talked yesterday
about what to do with yourself how to
spend your time self-improvement online
courses reading books developing a new
skill or proficiency one of the things I
want to talk about right now is is what
can businesses be doing I take a piece
of advice from radar
one of our listeners who we found in the
podcast he's expanding his base of
clients coaching clients right now and I
think that he's building his brand and I
think companies really need to be
thinking about building your brand and
making impressions on people for the
future and stayed engaged staying in
people's minds and really people are
still at home and they're on the phones
you know that people are at home they're
on their phones they're on the computers
or watching TV now is an opportunity to
make impressions on new potential
clients and if you're a business and you
have every intention and hope of
continuing after this lockdown then now
can be an opportunity to to you know
promote your brand and make impressions
and set yourself up to have new clients
once we get out of this this lock now
and you don't need to charge you can
build a base by offering things for free
you know we're continuing to do this
podcast social media posts and I'm sure
we're going to think about some some
more ideas to try to offer value to
people so that we can have new customer
relationships on the other side of this
yeah and we've all seen this taking
place here's a famous Moroccan artist
rebel spirit he's got a very distinct
style you've probably seen his work
around and he released some of his
pictures on his website you know in
black and white for people to color you
know just as a form of entertainment and
and as a gift from him for people that
are locked at home and looking for
something to do and I thought that was a
brilliant move on his part
brilliant marketing move that people are
gonna share his work and they'll tag him
on social media they'll color color his
pictures and it's just very very smart
and it doesn't really cost him that much
and going back to what you said about
reyda coaching people you know he's
offering a lot of value
former clients and then new clients who
are calling him and he's not as
concerned at this stage about the
payment process but he's offering a ton
of value and when things get back on
line and people need help and they need
coaching they're gonna think of him
because he was there for them in a time
when they really needed him yeah
absolutely and you know just to give
some some more feedback on what some of
our listeners had to say in general
people are at home they just say you
know we're not going to work we're doing
only essential tasks going to the
grocery you know maybe buying Gouda gas
going to the doctor or the pharmacy but
that's about it everyone's staying home
and that includes zubir who's one of our
listeners he's the founder of
international Morocco comm and he
basically said he's not doing any more
client work on site he does teaching for
language proficiency tests and visa
applications and he teaches English at
corporations he's not doing any of that
anymore so he's focusing on building his
brand international Morocco comm and
writing content for that sort of
building his audience you know I have
some ideas in terms of new partnerships
and new relationships I think this is a
great opportunity to reach out to people
who in the past have not wanted to
partner and do business and really try
to talk to them about having a
collaboration having a a partnership or
a cooperative relationship because I
think people are afraid right now and
they may be open to new ideas that can
help their business grow or survive on
the other side and if you offer service
and value and you don't necessarily ask
for a payment but you may be asked for
exchange in kind meaning you do a
service for me I do a service for you we
don't have to pay each other but maybe
we get some value and together
we can provide something that other
people are willing to pay for and so I
think people should really be thinking
about that doing new partnerships and
reaching out to people on by a whatsapp
or a phone or videoconference like zoom
and at the same time really be thinking
about what we talked about which is what
is essential what is essential and is
what I do essential can I convince
people that it's directly beneficial to
them what I'm offering either I'm
offering something essential or you
engage someone else who is offering
something essential and you show them
how what you could do for them will
directly benefit their customers and
result in more sales you know this this
is a very very difficult time for sales
sales people are going to be in a world
of hurt because everyone is scared and
there's great uncertainty going forward
so if you have the ability to produce
sales you will be in very high demand
yeah yeah that's good
one of our other listeners that was on
the call yesterday is Marwan who's based
in Rabat and he has a business called
college assist and basically helps
Moroccan students who want to study
overseas they have a large focus on
America but other countries as well and
so the services that they offer are
preparing students to be accepted by
helping them prepare to write the SATs
which is an entrance exam for American
universities and also just their whole
application process so even starting
with students that are in the middle of
high school doing volunteer work getting
their grades up improving their English
language things like this to present
their best foot forward to those that
will be processing their application and
it's a successful business they've been
been running classes in Rabat they're
expanding into Casablanca
but previously they've been really
focused on in-person classes and
one-on-one coaching it's all been face
to face and this has really forced them
to think through okay how can we offer
our services online we can do one-on-one
coaching over the over zoom or Skype or
FaceTime no problem and we can now have
clients in Agadir or in Dhokla or in
lyon or in osha all across the country
no problem and so it's forced them to to
do what they knew was already an option
and which was to expand online and to be
able to offer their services to a wider
market and the other thing that's come
out of it is trying and experimenting
with new forms of marketing so he
mentioned that they've been doing
Instagram lives with some of their
students who have succeeded through the
program and are now studying abroad so
they're on lockdown or whatever over in
America or up in Europe and they do an
Instagram live and just hear from that
student kind of interview them ask them
about their experience studying how
things are going and what their
experience was with college assist and
so again these this is a new idea that
came out of just thinking outside the
box and taking time to work on the
business rather than just in the
business so he's really recognizing
opportunities that are coming from this
challenging situation and positioning
himself to come out of this stronger
than he went in yeah and that's a that's
a common theme if there is a trends a
macroeconomic trend or a cultural trend
that we are seeing it is the physical
world moving online now this has has
already happened in the in the West in
the United States and Canada and in
Europe this is already rather mature
industry is still growing but it's
rather mature here Morocco it is very
young for a variety of reasons one of
them being online payments but we're
seeing that growing
one of the members of our club Mohammed
is a sales agent for Sammy which is the
credit card payment processor that you
probably see a car for Marjan and they
also do online payments but this trend
is also true of zubir there you go see
Emmy this trend is also true of zubir
who's now thinking about doing his
English training and his visa
application preparation moving that
online as well one of other listeners
who was on the call was Mohammed Amin
he owns the song for Massey owned in
there she'd that physically location is
completely shut down and so he's
thinking well I guess if I had an online
school that could still be functioning
right now right but he doesn't so he
needs to build it yeah
so if we that's definitely a macro trend
is things moving online you can scale it
Ryan you and I have been talking about
this for a while doing online trainings
and doing online payments as well but so
that's a macro trend some of the other
macro trends that I think are are very
clear that are going to come out of this
is delivery delivery of everything
groceries medicine furniture takeout
food you know everything you can imagine
that you go to a store I think the trend
is going to be getting it delivered yeah
and doing that through online payments
so increasingly the use of bank cards
you know one of the things that hasn't
really been talked about much yet
but I think it's true is that is that
the use of cash is a health hazard
because this virus can live on money and
then it's exchanged in between people
you know I think they show that the
virus can live on these coins for like
four or five days
I mean even the like the the automatic
payment machines you know we have the
technology to have just touch payments
you know contact lists but often the
machines don't work or people don't use
them and they they force you to
physically enter your PIN and again
everyone's fingers are touching that
same keypad over and over all day long
and it's a health hazard and so I think
there'll be a push to accelerate
adopting these new technologies we're
not creating these new technologies
they're already there there's just been
a real slow adoption process I remember
a few years ago I taught a class at
university here called work experience
and I showed a video from an American
company that was all about remote work
and very few employees had a permanent
desk and you know they had all the
digital tools they needed and it was
kind of an older video you know it was
from you know 2010 kind of a thing and
so it was very advanced at that time but
even the students looking at it they
they laughed and said yeah that won't
work in Morocco you know we don't we
like to monitor everybody's actions we
like you know we don't trust our
employees you got to be in the office
and all this kind of stuff but this this
season this coronavirus season is going
to accelerate that process it's gonna
force people to adopt the technology
that's available and a lot of companies
are going to make that transition
because of this so it's a huge catalyst
for change yeah one of the things we
talked about yesterday was social
distancing and all of our Moroccan
listeners they basically disagreed with
me I said well is social distancing
going to be a new thing in society
meaning you know we're not going to give
everyone hugs and kisses when we see
them we are not going to pack a hundred
people into a small cafe is this going
to become the new normal and they
disagree they said one month of lockdown
and you know this virus is not going to
change the social habits of the Moroccan
culture which have been developed
over centuries you know that remains to
be seen I've seen a lot of behavioral
change just since this lockdown
and I was shocked with the with the
degree to which people were you know
washing hands and using sanitizer and
you know in the hold my own building
here in the office people had taped like
tissue boxes to the elevator to each
floor so that people didn't have to
touch the buttons like they could grab a
tissue so you know people distancing
themselves and the markets standing in
line six feet apart I mean that change
happen almost overnight and I do not see
you know April 20th is supposedly when
this this lockdown is going to be lifted
I do not see it going back to normal
right away I would be shocked if we see
these cafes packed with people and you
know everybody like rubbing shoulder to
shoulder and getting in people's faces I
I don't see that happening I mean I
could be wrong but if that does happen
then Morocco is gonna have another
outbreak of this virus I mean we cannot
go back to the way that that society's
been functioning you know with buses
that are overflowing with people you
know that they'll spread the virus right
away yeah like you said it remains to be
seen it's hundreds of years of culture
and behavior and depending on how long
this goes for six weeks to a few months
of lockdown tough to say tough to say I
think people will think twice and and in
general there will be some adjustments
but I definitely don't think we're gonna
be you know standing six feet apart in
lines for the indefinite future there's
there's gonna be some swing back but
probably not fully you know you may not
see the the shared cup in the doctor's
office anymore that that might be an
adjustment that's that's made
permanently but we'll see yeah and as
I've been thinking about this one of the
things I've been reading is that if
we're gonna get out of this lockdown
what's eventually going to happen is
there that the people who are not
vulnerable you know middle aged people
younger people who are healthy
non-smokers they are going to be the
first ones back into society and the
last ones back are going to be people
are older people with health problems
respiratory problems diabetes obesity
asthma people who are vulnerable to this
disease and dying from this disease
those people are going to be the last
ones to come back out and society if
they come back at all normally so one of
the things we could be thinking about as
entrepreneurs as small business owners
is how can we serve those people and
what new businesses can emerge out of
the fact that people who are vulnerable
to this virus are need to stay home and
some of the media things are you know
start a business doing services for
people you know if I'm if I'm locked
down in a neighborhood I can serve my
community and start a business at the
same time by doing the tests that are
allowed to be done I can go around ask
my neighbors do you want me to go to the
grocery for you do you want me to go to
the pharmacy for you do you want me to
go pay your leeteuk bill do you want me
to I don't know take a package to a
family member who's in need right just
go and and you know you don't need to
talk to them face to face but you could
call neighbors or you can talk to them
through their doors this is a way to
start a business and this is an
opportunity to you know take advantage
of the situation and help people at the
same time yeah one of the metaphors we
discussed that's really helpful visually
is this idea of catching a wave so you
even if you're not a surfer you've seen
the surfers out in the water and they're
standing up on their board they're
looking out to the ocean to see the
waves and it's just a little bump that's
rolling and then as it gets closer to
shore it starts to jack up and turn it
to turn into a wave break and before
that happens the surfer needs to
self and start to paddle furiously they
need to gain speed going in the same
direction toward shore so that when the
wave comes they can catch it and ride
the momentum of that wave and enjoy it
if you're not moving fast enough or if
you're not properly positioned the wave
will just roll right under you and
proceed to shore without you or if
you're in the wrong position it will
pick you up and bring you to the top of
the wave and crash you down and so you
need to be thinking about that in terms
of this coronavirus how do i position
myself to be able to catch these coming
trends economically that will come out
of this Eastin and also how do I prepare
myself you know I need to be paddling I
need to have strong enough arms I need
to kick my feet I need to have momentum
so that I'm prepared when that wave
comes I'm already there I'm already
ready because if it comes and I haven't
started yet it's too late it's gonna
roll right under me and I'm gonna miss
it yeah just to recap you know I'm not
certain of any of this this is just my
my best guess and and my interpretation
of the events that are going but the
waves that I see are ecommerce delivery
of everything online education online
commerce cashless payments meaning we're
gonna move slowly but surely from a cash
based society to bank cards and mobile
payments that is going to be a wave
we're in the very beginning of it of
course but that's going to continue and
sort of a reversion to the essential
what is essential food clothing housing
education relationship health these are
the waves and you know I think another
wave is we're gonna have a reversion
back to more production within a society
and the pace of globalization is going
to slow down
and countries are really going to take a
look at whether or not they want to be
dependent on foreigners for essential
I'm already reading articles that
countries that produce things like rice
and wheat and corn like Vietnam produces
a lot of rice they have banned exports
of rice Russia produces a lot of wheat
they have banned the export of wheat so
you know countries like Morocco has
entered the global market slowly but I
think you're going to see a trend
towards internal production of what used
to be imported you know for for me I
have no idea why Morocco does not
produce clothing
why does Morocco need to import clothing
from Turkey that doesn't make any sense
to me
why can't Morocco be a producer of
clothing maybe you know one of our
listeners can send me a message and let
me know what am I missing why why isn't
rocco Cruz close I think a lot of times
there's countries they have the capacity
to enter an industry and to supply then
their national needs themselves but
because of years of experience or you
know first mover advantages or economies
of scale other countries are ahead and
so the price difference it's like well
we can just import these products and
we'll focus on developing other
industries we'll choose sort of you know
things like the auto sector or aerospace
Morocco's poured a lot into those but I
think you're right that this this crisis
will help countries think more about
well we need to be cautious that we
don't become too dependent on other
countries we want to be independent we
want to be able to survive even if our
borders are closed so we can't rely
solely on importing or even on one
supplier one nation in case something
like this happens again and I think the
same thing is going to happen
individually so when you have your your
income source dry
it forces you to think about expanding
your sources of income so for
individuals that have had an employer
and now their business is shut down and
their their salary has stopped they're
gonna start thinking I need to have
multiple sources of income I need to
diversify myself so there's going to be
a lot more side hustles a lot a lot of a
move into the gig economy where you
might still be a salaried employee but
you also have a bit of a side business
that you keep which you could focus on
more if the time if it came to a time
like this again so there's going to be a
lot more of that happening as well yeah
one less thing I think subject I want to
touch on is again just to emphasize that
that this crisis it could last a long
time and I really encourage people to
take steps now to prepare for the worst
we all hope and pray it's not going to
be the worst but it really could and
you're already storing starting to see
ruptures of stock so for example the kid
the cereal that my kids love comes from
Poland and you know we eat tortilla
chips well you know what that stuff has
disappeared at least at our local
Carrefour and bhim it's gone and you can
see the stuff that comes from Europe the
food items especially they're not
getting replaced on the shelves hmm you
know and so I think so why does why do
we need to import cereal from Poland
why can't Morocco produce cereal that
seems like something that could be done
here but just so everyone understands
the politicians they're always going to
tell you what they want to tell you so
that you don't panic
and that's good they shouldn't try to
create panic but everyone should take
steps to be prepared for a bad outcome
and it's better to be prepared and not
need it than to not be prepared
and be find yourself in a bad situation
so that's my advice yeah that's good all
right any final thoughts on this week or
no again just wanted to finish
apologizing to her our listeners who did
join us
I would hopefully we've been able to
summarize well what you shared and all
of us can be thinking about using this
time to upskill to work on our business
and prepare to come out of this stronger
and to catch those waves those new
economic trends that will come out of
this so will will be ready we'll be in
position to ride that wave to shore yeah
and again we ask if you have questions
or comments please send them to us Ryan
I'm Rocco podcast calm or you can leave
comments in the notes on YouTube we're
happy we're always looking for new
content and new questions new topics so
we welcome your comments and your advice
and yeah until next time

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