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Opinions of Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Journaliste: Yaw Asamoah

2015 Wish list

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This will be my 11th and last article for 2014. It has been a rewarding exercise to share my thoughts on business and how we can transform the many micro, small and medium companies into giants. My only motivation is that we can build corporations which can inspire the next generation.

Our mission on earth is not for our enjoyment, rather to lay down solid foundations for the next generations we will never know. A deep insight into human life reveals that we live not for ourselves, but for others. Business is same, doing business must be guided by the different awesome experiences we can bring to our customers, communities and the world.

It is indeed an altruistic mission. 2015 should be a good year, it must be filled with action, wisdom and intelligence in the things we do. It must see us venture into the deep and hold dear the values that guide our operations. It will be a difficult year, but it will be our motivation which will carry us through. Spend time to invest in asking and thinking about challenging questions.

Questions bothering on your motivation, game plan, weaknesses and direction. Some of these questions will take days, weeks, months and at times years to get answers to, yet engaging your mind to these is how we mature into great corporate leaders.

My wish list for businesses in 2015 is very idealistic. They are five in all but I think they speak to every well-meaning business executive.

Loyalty When you start a business and are limited by capital and cash flow, the kind of employees you should look out for are people who are more likely to be loyal. Most of the time, these loyal employees may not have the needed qualifications and acumen to manage their portfolios. This is because as a young and small business, you the owner might have to be doing almost everything.

Here the business needs employees who accept to be part of the mission and are willing to sacrifice somewhat to see the vision come to pass. As the business grows, you need experts or people with talent. These people tend to be easily swayed by money as they sell themselves to the highest bidder. If your business has the cash flow, try to bring some talents into the team so you can move to the next stage of the business.

In all of these, it is most important to build your loyal employees into competent arsenals as they are most likely to stay with you in the long haul and prevent you from falling into ditches. Building loyalty among staff is an everyday move.

Devolving your powers, making another make a decision instead of you, accepting a seeming mistake just so a team member can gain confidence and recognising that you are all one and the same. Putting in place systems which gradually take over the daily direction of the company from you, so you can also be submitted under such. If you do not have at least 50 – 60 per cent of your staff who is loyal to you, then you might just have put your business at risk of not surviving you.

Identity Our forebears did a lot for us as a nation. They gave us languages, clothing, culinary and many others. We have been lazy in building and developing them. For some unintelligent reason, we still feel doing the same old things in rudimentary and archaic ways shows that we have culture.

I get very worried at the rate at which we make our children take to foreign language as against our own. I find it irresponsible and unintelligent. The English language is refined almost every day.

Today, words such as ‘selfie’, ‘social media’ and many others have been put in English dictionaries. These are words which could not be found just 5 to 10 years ago.

Developing an identity is a life course, it is not something we get by staying put and lazy. We achieve it through intelligence and hard work. Should this trend continue, my prediction is that in 20 to 30 years, the Twi language and many others will be become extinct.

Our businesses take after us. It is how we nurture them and the spirit we put into them that we show whether they grow or die. Through all the challenges, let your business have a character. You will not get it right all the time but have a goal to build an identity for your business.

We build identity through logos, names and brands. Also important is the culture you develop among your colleagues. How do you refer or call the people who work with you? By first name, surname, colleagues or workers? How do you address their needs and make them comfortable. Do you want every visitor to see the clear chain of command on entry to your office or you want to create a relaxed atmosphere? Decide on the course of identity as this will separate you from your competitors.

Growth I wish growth upon all businesses. Not just growth in revenues but most importantly in your operations. Understand the competition, the industry and the system in which you operate in. Gather intelligence expertly and execute flawlessly. Bring into the fold much more intelligent people than yourself and allow your thoughts and decisions to be challenged. Also, you need to work on yourself as a business executive.

The easiest way to do that is to read. I have come to understand that all our actions and endeavors are guided by philosophy. Study. This should be through reading, watching documentaries and engaging in deep conversations. Set your mind on a discovery course to explore new thoughts and operations.

Excellence Excellence is achieved through repeated practice, review of strategy and perfection of intelligence. In becoming excellent at the things we do, we need to hold dear to standards and our ideal states. Every business should have a game plan. Are you in this for the long haul or it is just to make money and chicken out.

If it is for the later, then just play the game anyhow, you are not of interest to me. However, if you are in business for the long haul and want to build something which will survive you, then we are on a mission together. Inject a lot of know-how into your operations and help colleagues to explore their talents. Have a fertile ground for excellence by constantly shunning mediocrity till excellence becomes part of the company’s DNA.

Team collaboration Team collaboration not team work. Team collaboration builds on the premise that we are all of different strengths and backgrounds, however, when we combine our efforts and set a goal before us, we will together achieve such with grace, respect and commitment.

You might be a cleaner or the big boss, the understanding should be that when we all do our part of the work fairly and up to the standard required, we should render to ourselves the same respect and celebrate in the success equally as per our key input. We will not be of the same caliber, but we ought to be held to the same standards as required by company.

Building team collaboration requires a great deal of circumspection; selecting the team members, building each other’s confidence and setting a standard which cannot be compromised. It is 100 per cent or nothing else.

Conclusion My wish for you next year is that these five ideal states be a guide to you. They should be what you peruse and aspire for. It will be difficult but stay focus and determined. Till we meet again next year, I wish you well and may 2015 be gracefully different from 2014. GB

Yaw Asamoah works at Creative Trends, the organisers of the African SME Summit. Let’s continue the discussion at African SME Summit on Facebook. Email - [email protected]

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