2021 Prospects: How We Are Forging Ahead Amidst the COVID-19 Turbulence

If there is anything that 2020 has taught us, it is that businesses must always be willing to reinvent themselves. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have been enormous, more so on micro and small business that typically run on small budgets. We have seen the market for non-essential items shrink as many potential consumers lost jobs, took pay-cuts, and generally became more cautious about what they spent their money on. For most, basic needs took precedence.

But there is a silver lining. For starters, we have been challenged to rethink our businesses models in ways that we had never imagined possible. At Collage, we have had to migrate our training programme to Zoom-based classes. Zoom-classes, whereas they have their own shortfalls, they are capable of making training more affordable and content can be leveraged across digital platforms.

Despite all the 2020 gloom, we continued mentoring and handholding makers—driving process and product innovations. Targeted marketing strategies helped us to double our sales and to strengthen our brand visibility. We sold more than 1600 products, had more than 50 entrepreneurs benefit from our training and mentoring activities and kickstarted our reseller program which will see us expand the market reach of our products whilst boosting livelihoods for re-sellers and their families.

We recognize that there is more that we need to do to be able to realize the impact that we seek. For example, we must expand the reach of our credit facilities, especially now when micro and small businesses are fighting hard to bounce back. We need to bring on board more makers, and for the existing ones, we must continue to support them to improve their production processes and offerings. We are hopeful that through our 2021-2023 strategy, we will be able to lay a firm foundation that will enable us to address some of these gaps.

Our Ambitious Goals for 2021

The focus of our 2021-2023 strategy is to increase the company’s value through sustainable strategies that drive social impact as well as profitability. Through this period including 2021, we will work to realize three goals:

1. Strengthen internal systems/structures and the capacity of our team to deliver efficient service. This will include hiring one additional full-time staff, outsourcing book keeping functions and ensuring that our licenses and other legal paperwork are in order.

2. Expand sales through our innovative reseller program and further diversification of our product and service offerings. To realize this we will recruit, train and empower resellers with a range of tools to help them activate and drive demand for our products. We will also look into bringing new products to market through collaboration with our makers. We will leverage our training and mentorship program to design innovative and high-impact learning experiences. We recently started offering branding services to our makers, we hope to reach more makers with this service soon.

3. Grow our brand visibility and presence through our website and social media channels. For us to compete effectively, we must invest in brand visibility and presence. This will mean organizing and participating in activities that bring us closer to our potential customers. Importantly, it will be necessary to establish feedback loops to help us deliver better and efficient service.

We require a significant amount of resources to deliver on these goals and will need the support of our customers, makers, partners and shareholders, among others, to get to where we want to go.

Your support has already gotten us so far— it has enabled us to bounce back stronger and better. For this, we are eternally grateful.

We hope that 2021 brings you peace, joy and fulfilment.

Much love from all of us at Collage,

Happy New Year!

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