Recovering Sustainably from Business Break-in and Violence.


Theft and burglary are antisocial activities that usually attract harsh punishments depending on the effectiveness of the Justice system at work in a place. Retribution and recovery of stolen items go a long way in consoling victims of burglary. It can also have a significant negative impact on their emotional health and their entrepreneurial zeal in the case of business owners.

Burglary is a serious issue. Research from Allianz Insurance discovered that it takes around eight months for those whose homes got burgled to feel safe at home again. A MoneySupermarket Survey revealed that 1 in 8 of home burglary victims never recovers emotionally, with 44% scared of a re-occurrence and 43% feeling violated. Statistics show that the global volume of damage & loss due to business break-in is over 1 billion dollars annually. In an article by Business-day on October 30, 2020, it was stated that the Lagos State Government lamented that 1 trillion naira would be required to restore the looted businesses and properties destroyed in the State. Also, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) decried the recent lootings in the south-west region which ran into several trillions of naira and thereby, threatening up to 460-billion-dollar value of the nation’s GDP.

The “common excuses” (poverty and severity) for criminal activities are yet increasing in Nigeria. Therefore, apart from the traditional institutions of Justice and security, there is a need to consider other ways of ensuring the safety of businesses.

Usually, social unrests of this nature lead to distrust and tension between businesses and their environment. This can be potentially harmful as it can reduce their productivity and consequently disrupt (or reduce) resource inflows into the local (or national) business environment. Community relations expertise needs to get deployed to restore healthy community relations with businesses and consequently establish a better communication framework that minimizes (or eliminates) hostilities both in times of peace & violence. We need to ask, how can Brand reputation & perception be utilized to influence the decisions of people during peace & violence? How do we foster broad & effective community relations across social classes and income groups?

However, there is an urgent need to strengthen the affected business owners and help them stand back on their feet. There have been some charitable donations and platforms (both private & public) set up for businesses to recover. Additionally, the emotional health of the traumatized business owners must be attended to. In achieving a sustainable recovery, financial help must be with quality psychological support. Also, affected entrepreneurs must have a strategic plan for overcoming the crisis. This plan will compose of actions that will lift the business into a boom. 

To recover from the recent large-scale business burglaries, affected SME owners will need to:

1.Recover from the emotional trauma and stress of the business break-in
2.Strengthen their team
3.Do a proper analysis of the state of their Business
4.Identify priorities
5.Ensure the security of the business
6.Seek opportunities to re-innovate
7.Outline how to “get out of debt”
8.Set goals and determine the metrics to measure progress


The trauma of a burglary stirs up a range of thoughts and feelings. These can include shock, anger, fear as well as helplessness, and panic. In some cases, these feelings may turn to grief, mistrust, and even depression and anxiety attacks if not well managed. Psychologists do advise that victims should acknowledge the emotions as normal responses and take steps that will help them not to be overwhelmed in the waves. Each wave will pass. 
Consider the following carefully for a successful journey of recovery:

Be gentle with yourself!
Recognize that your body & mind will react to the distressing experience. You need a period to breathe and “let out the cry”. You also need to open up and receive comfort from your loved ones and those you trust. Do not engage in matters that require deep thinking at this time because you are not functioning at optimum. Try not to react to, and address every matter because you might over-react.
Also, ensure you address thoughts of guilt and blame. You have to be kind to yourself and in your contemplations (talk-through moments) for victory. Do not hesitate to forgive yourself (and others).

Your mind is the real treasury. Guard it!
In this time of pause, you need to choose your outcome and place victory right in front of you. Doing this will ensure a proper “talk & walkthrough.” The surges of anger and bitterness will impede this crucial right setting of your mind. Therefore, you need to choose wisely. It is better to let the thoughts of the violent hoodlums and dysfunctional securities pass. This way, you will help yourself to think better and receive fresh ideas useful for healing and solutions.

Your mind is the real space from where you offer and bring forth goods & services. Therefore, it needs to be as clean, calm, rich, and positive as possible to provide good stuff to people. Your mind is the real store of good things. Guard it against bitterness!

Keep the passion of entrepreneurship alive. You will recover all!
A traumatized mind leads to a loss of zeal, drive, and momentum. You need to maintain high motivation and not be overwhelmed by the waves of pain. The level of your confidence & safety impacts your entrepreneurial zeal. If you do not feel free, you cannot express your business creativity. Hence, the need to receive (enjoy) all the help you can get with joy & gratitude to stay in high spirits. This posture will nurture and preserve the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in you to go for more. 

You are a creator of value, do not dwell on your losses! You are a producer! There is yet so much abundance within, so allow comfort and love to stir up joy in you so that your drive is back in shape. The financial help resources you get are seeds for recovery, each progress made counts. Celebrating every little or big forward-step helps.

Take your time to plan and decide on what steps to take and which direction to go. Optimal thinking is possible when your motivation is back to help you drive better results. Appreciate, celebrate, and recalibrate! Stay alive!

Keep the cycle of recovery going. Help another!
As you recover, keep the cycle of recovery going by helping another! Previous victims who have recovered are more likely able to help people going through the same bad experience. You can connect better with people still struggling and help them recover. This will reinforce the healing process in the deep recesses of your mind.
You do not need to wait to “feel” back in shape. The way you multiply the little strength you have is to share it. Giving happiness to others increases yours!

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Essentially, organizations are about people: those who work with us and those who are served. So, in times of crisis or violence of any kind, priority should be given to the human element. This is why you must attend to the state of your mind and that of your employees. You must also support your team members to achieve mental balance and optimum efficiency at work. Pushing a traumatized and stressed employee into work might lead to issues in the work process and cause more loss and damage to your company.
– Have an open solution-focused discussion. Discourage the use of offensive words and “blame games”.
– Encourage clear & fluid positively minded communication within your team
– Facilitate Employee financial support & assistance
– Identify overly distracted employees and mentor them
– Encourage your employees to take up personal development courses that align with organizational goals. Provide resources that increase the skills & knowledge of your employees.
– Be specific about the next steps and the organization’s response to the emergency.

Dear business owner, note that the steps discussed above are key for the proper execution of the other strategic steps. Do well to absorb and apply the insights you have received before going further. The state of your mental wellness significantly determines the level of your business success.

Samuel Laolu-kolawole
Analyst, Project & Research

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