THE GOLDEN RULE: What businessare you in?

SHARE   |   Sunday, 08 February 2015   |   By Nelson Letshwene
THE GOLDEN RULE: What businessare you in?

Building a successful business is not about trying anything that will make you money. People whose focus is just to make money, more often than not, become tenderpreneurs. By their nature, tenderpreneurs are very much dependent on tenders, and therefore on the system that operates through tenders, namely, the government. It is therefore very easy to complain when these are not forthcoming, and it is very easy to cry foul when you are not the winner. This is perching your business on chance.
Whatever business you are in, you must always focus on the end user of your product or service. That is the ultimate customer regardless of how they appear. Even if you are supplying stationery to the government, you must remember that the end user is the individual. If you supply useless pens just because the customer is the government, it is the individual user who will be frustrated with your useless pens, and it is the individual who will suggest and recommend that you never be given the opportunity to supply again. Never lose sight of the individual.
One of the age-old principles of success in business is specialisation. If you think about every successful business in the world, you can tell what they’re about. They have stayed in that one business through thick and thin; through economic upswings and downswings. Whether you think of Coca-cola, or Time Magazine, or Apple, or Pick ’n Pay, or Musica or FNB, you immediately know what business they’re in. Anyone of these successful businesses spent their first years as unknowns who focussed on building their brand identity.
The time has come in Africa that we should stop running around like headless chickens and build brand identity. It should not matter in the first five to ten years when no one knows who you are. You should know who you are and what you are about. You are the one who should educate the market about who you are as a business and what you intend to be. When they’re looking for you three years later, they should still find you doing the same thing. When they come back five years later they should still find you doing the same thing better. They should be able to see your growth and your improvement over time. This is how sustainable brands are build. If you change every year like new year resolutions, you will never build brand identity.
As long as you are keeping up with times and are improving your technologies, your brand identity should survive. Yes you may face tough years of hunger but that is not a reason to quit. As long as your products or services are still in demand, you should keep improving your delivery. Even if there’s a lot of competition, you should aim to be the one that survives when others fall by the side of the road. If you fall, stand up, dust yourself and move on. You only stop if the playing fields change too drastically through legislation or something that may render your business illegal or unethical.
You must have a longterm strategy and see your business in the future. See what your ultimate business will look like in the future and keep working towards that. Have a vision that guides you into the future. Don’t just focus on today’s loaf of bread, focus on tomorrow’s bakery. To your success. Follow the blog on or follow me on twitter @101silverline

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