Most of the time when I say this a lot of people think I am being cynical but over 80% of businesses funded by government as subsidy scheme will fail. They fail simply because having loads and loads of cash at your disposal makes you cash rich but does not necessarily make you an entrepreneur.
The political will is there to drive citizen businesses but the majority of people myself included are graduates of a schooling system that emphasized going to school, finishing and getting good grades and then finding a job in a reputable company.
The reality of the matter today is that government has overemployed, the private sector is too small to absorb thousands of graduates who are already a mismatch to the human capital needs of the country. Entrepreneurship provides an alternative employment avenue but unfortunately as I said entrepreneurship is more than just having cash and money to pay rent and I am sure some might be surprised to hear this but skill alone is also not enough.
The employment dilemma has led to hundreds of dysfunctional companies. Young people who have pinned their hopes on being business owners have been awakened to the reality that it is not simple to run a business or easy as they thought. They have gotten the product right but they have found markets are difficult to penetrate.
The matrix of running a successful business is embedded in a functional company strategy that is reviewed timeously to react to ever-changing market conditions and a product that is market centred not inward looking. In today’s article we are going to search for key critical areas that one must look at before they get into business.
A new product or service must be aimed at filling a gap that exists in a market. The product or service must be a solution to an existing problem. Everybody gets into business to make money but the process of going at it is what distinguishes entrepreneurs from wanna-be- richies.
An example is simple wet-wipes. Before the advent of the wet wipes, a diner would have to go to a tap, press the soap dispenser and open the tap to wash their hand and the use a serviette to wipe themselves dry. Somebody thought about wetwipes a mini pack that wet wipes your hands right at your table and that’s it. The picture below illustrates the thinking pattern of an entrepreneur versus a wanna-be-rich
The company strategy and the market revolves around the effectiveness of the solution that is being presented by your product or service. In order for a business strategy to be carried out properly it need the appropriate human resource. The right balance of these three factors augmented by a solution that speaks to the market provides a good foundation for any business.
Lack of attention to any of these factors will inadvertently affect the survival of the company. There will be a company that has a great product but which the market does not want. Or conversely the company might have a huge market demand and inefficient people to deliver the product.
These we often think are basics yet so many entrepreneurs are getting it wrong. The big three question that every aspiring entrepreneur must ask themselves are;
The biggest question is whether your product or service is solving a problem in a particular market or not. A good friend of mine love saying that in order for you to survive in business you must be first, different or special. Your product must offer a unique proposition or they must be a differentiation strategy that distinguishes from other existing businesses. Otherwise if your product does not meet the First Different Special theory then you are doomed to fail.
Does your company have the talent to be able to manage the resources and put in place controls and strategies to produce? One of the biggest words in investment language is efficiency and this simply means optimal use of resource for production. If you are not efficient your product will be expensively produced. This will impact on your pricing and market entrance will be a nightmare. People management therefore presents one of the key critical areas for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Market research is a daunting task but it is unavoidable. You can have a nice product if you don’t have people to sell to then the product is useless. You must segment your market and know exactly who you will sell to.
If you get this basic right you will have a good foundation for your business
See you next week
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Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.
Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.