26/03/2018 01:14 SAST | Updated 26/03/2018 11:13 SAST

3 Practical Lessons From Nature - And Farmers - That Other Businesses Can Use To Flourish

Going through a drought in your business? Here are lessons from farmers who know what that feels like.


Drought in South Africa (according to AfricaCheck.org)


Here's what farmers could teach other businesses about emerging from the drought (or Economic Downturn):

Lesson 1: Those Who Hunt In Packs, Survive

It is difficult for a wildebeest to be attacked if it is within a pack. Singled it out, its chances of survival are slimmer.

"In 2016, livestock farmers came together to collectively buy grass and distribute, as a way to mitigate the effects of the drought. Farmers who farm alone were most affected by the drought."Ntuthuko Shezi, CEO of Livestock Wealth (a crowd-farming investment technology platform)​​​​​​


​​​​​​What business can learn: Businesses who choose to collaborate, may find that they could use the same resources (such as financial systems, HR etc) to reduce the risk of spending on these things individually. They may find there is potential to access more budget/ business as a collective versus working individually.

Lesson 2: The Future Comes One Day At A Time

"During the drought, crop farmers managed risk by using conservation cultivation practices, crop varieties that are adapted to their specific areas and kept up to date with new technology that helped minimise the risk of lower yields; as well as surrounding themselves with excellent advisors."Dr Koos Coetzee, Agricultural Economist at Milk Producers Organisation​​​​​


What business can learn: "Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative!", said HG Wells. Technology can help your business stay on top of global trends in the business environment. Companies who make good use of technology and innovation can minimise the impact of the economic downturn on their business.

Lesson 3: Root For Each Other And Watch The Growth

"During the drought, farmers were in a tight corner and government was relatively responsive in some areas of knowledge and resources, helping farmers to make it through the difficult time. Government departments (including Rural Development and Land Reform, Industrial Development Corporation and Land Bank) contributed over R1 Billion in support of livestock farmers, which improved confidence and enthusiasm of farmers to overcome the circumstance."Wandile Sihlobo, Agricultural Economist


What business can learn: Public-private partnerships can work if the government recognises the role the private sector can play. We did see some platforms, such as the one initiated by former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan in 2016, in a bid to ease the strained relationship between corporate SA and government. Businesses need confidence and security to be able to carry through the ongoing decline in SA's economy.

Need help getting your business out of a 'drought'. Speak to a growth expert at Nedbank about their #WholeView Banking solutions.