Chamas are formed as an avenue to pool money and invest or as a social vehicle. So, we save religiously every month and when the time is right, we invest in something lucrative, set to give handsome returns. Then we sit with bated breath and well, the investment delivers. It’s a good one and the returns are coming in. This becomes our big investment.
But, it’s important to remember, that in your career as chama investors one thing you can be sure of is that at some point, you may lose the big investment you are so excited about. It could happen for many reasons, some reasonable and expected like when an area where you’ve bought property slowly degrades and the value of the property continues to plummet instead of rising. Regardless of the reason, losing a major investment can be an anxiety-producing event for both the chama leader and the members alike, and managing the loss can be tricky, if not downright terrifying. So, what to do when it happens to your chama?
Have multiple investments
What brings more anxiety is when one investment becomes too important to your chama. An investment’s size can actually creep up on your chama. If you let it go unchecked, you may find yourselves looking up a year later, and only to realise that you have only one investment that the chama is depending on. As your investment grows, it’s crucial to resist letting that investment become your only focus. In addition to working extraordinarily hard to maintain and grow that particular investment, you must also make it a priority to cultivate other investment vehicles, even when your main investment is doing well. Otherwise, should that investment go south, all your money will go along with it. And starting again can be very painful.
Keep a straight face
As a chama leader the toughest thing you have to learn is to keep a straight face during tough times. Simply put,the single most important skill that you learn may be how to present an air or confidence and strength to your chama members when your biggest investment goes burst. This will make the chama go strong as if members sense the slightest whiff of fear from their leader, it can sweep through the chama and cause untold damage.
Nurture your chama members
When you lose an investment, take time to meet with each chama member to reassure them that things are secure, and to outline the specific plans that the chama has in place to recover from this problem. The mark of a good chama leader is one’s ability to hold her chama together, even in a less-than-idea investment climate.
Look on the brighter side
Sometimes losing an investment can quickly become a positive, freeing you to do better investments, giving you the kick to do even better as a chama. Losing a big investment is part and parcel of investment. The silver lining is that it allows you to be better prepared to face future losses and hardships together, and will strengthen your ties to valuable employees. And what doesn’t break your chama makes it stronger.
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