Monday, 11 February 2013

Doing Business as an Under-Dog

On 10th February 2013, the Confederation of African Football concluded its 29th edition of the tournament tagged: South Africa 2013 (AFCON 2013), which the Super Eagles of Nigeria won for the 3rd time. Beside the intrigues and excitement that is associated with the competition, there are a few lessons small business owners can learn in order to boost their competitive edge in the market. Nigeria was the under dog in the competition, but the lifted the cup. No body gave Burkina Faso the opportunity, but the got to the final.
In business, nobody will give the chance to succeed. You have to fight your way through knowing that you can only be celebrated when you come out victorious.
In today’s business,

There are really no under dogs in business any more
Nigeria and Burkina Faso that played the finals of the tournament were they under-dogs; in fact nobody gave Burkina Faso the opportunity of qualifying from the group stage let alone making it to the finals for the first time. Both these teams were resilient, determined and courageous to fight even the favored giants. Burkina Faso eliminated Ghana; one of the favorites, while Nigeria played passed Cote d'Ivoire to reach the finals.
No matter the industry, never consider your business too small to face the giants. Most big businesses were some day small also.

Businesses Strives on new resources
What separate failed businesses from surviving ones is simply new resources. These resources could be in form of new ideas, new technology, innovation, new opportunities. In the tournament, we saw the injection of new locally based players, indigenous coaches, new foreign players and exceptional skills. Every business is supposed to re-invent itself as regularly as the industry changes. Survival is not a matter of capital alone, it’s about the new resources you are introducing into your business. You cant keep trading on old ideas when the industry has adopted a new one.

Even the Big businesses have weaknesses
All the big businesses in any industry have a measure of weakness. They know, you may or may not know, and they don’t want you to know more about it. Many of the big businesses have weaknesses that money cannot solve. The big businesses make you feel that your biggest problem is capital, but consider it, most big businesses also started small in an industry where the big businesses dictated the trend, yet they survived. Nigeria exploited the weakness of Cote d'Ivoire by caging there super players like Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and the likes. Learn to trade on the weakness of your competitors, and soon you will take over the market.

No team wants to be a spectator
No team comes to a competition to be a cheer leader. Every team wants to win and become champions. Like wise, no business exists to watch others succeed. See yourself as a competitor, not as an under dog. Does that succeed, do so because they believe they can, they have the determination to do more, and the courage to face any challenge.

Nobody has the monopoly of success, if your vision is strong enough, and you are focused on your goal, you will always come out successful.
No matter how small your business is, or how tough your competitors are, you can always win in business even as an under dog.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Is Franchise really better than Traditional Small Business?

-         3 Executives speak on the advantages of franchising?
Sacramento Business Journal outlined what they considered as the 3 major advantages of franchising as identified by three executives who are experts in this field. These executives identified what they considered as major advantages of franchise business over traditional small businesses. The advantages are:

  1. Established and reputable franchise systems have a proven track record. A strong support system is a major contributor to the franchisees’ overall success and satisfaction.
  2. The likelihood of success. Quality franchisors have proven business models for franchisees to follow. 
  3. They are buying into a proven business model. Their role starts at the implementation stage, not the invention stage

No doubt, every business entry strategy has its own pros and cons, in fact in terms of start-up, franchise seems to have an easier mode of entry, than traditional small business however, franchising business is not as advantageous as they have been presented. In fact, they have similar failure rate as small businesses. Purvin, who is also author of The Franchise Fraud: How to Protect Yourself Before and After You Invest, studied franchise businesses for over 20 years, and he came to the conclusion that  franchised businesses fail at a similar or even higher rate than small businesses. One of the factors responsible for this includes their higher start-up costs and operating expenses to meet brand requirements as well as royalty burdens.
Considering both, buying the franchise of a reputable brand, is not a guarantee for success just as starting up a small business does mean profitability. Franchisees work as much as traditional small business owners in making their businesses a success. Brand recognition, excellent training programs, and outstanding support for their franchisees although good, can never take the place of developing a unique strategy for success. Most franchisees that have relied solely on the support from parent companies, may never satisfy their unique customers. Cari Lyn Vinci, a franchise consultant noted that buying a franchise doesn’t guarantee success; it is only a road map to a destination.
So for franchise experts, giving the impression that franchise businesses are likely to succeed more than traditional small businesses is playing a fast one on entrepreneurs. One thing is sure; very few franchises are as successful as the parent company. Location and other strategic variables play an important role in any business, and not every successful business model can fit into every business location or work with other strategic variables that a franchisee may consider.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Have you considered what books can do to your Business?

Books like Blue Ocean Strategy and The World is Flat are some of the books that helped me in rethinking business strategy. In Africa, the rate of business growth is alarming but the type of strategies adopted some times making this business to go into extinct faster than expected.

  1. Books especially research based ones can revolutionise your strategies.
  2. They give you an edge over others
  3. They help you in properly positioning your business for growth.
  4. It increases ones survival in business, no wonder big corporations spend so much in research.
  5. It enlarges your sense of reasoning.
Get yourself a business book and read.

“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” — Sherman Alexie

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

You may not have the capital to invest in Research, but you have enough to buy a book that can teach you new strategies in business.

Friday, 11 January 2013


Scott Odigie, Guest Writer

It is not enough to be busy… 
The question is: What are we busy about?
-          Henry David Thorean
In life, there are three things that dignifies a man; Faith, Family, and Work. There is a level of responsibility and discipline each demand, and it is expected that there should be a balance when sharing the limited resources (like time, money etc) available to an individual among the three. Even culturally speaking, after you are asked about your family the next thing is your work. Why? Work shows how responsible you are; it is a yard stick for measuring how resourceful you are as a person within a society.
In an ever competitive and challenging society, the worth of a man is measured by the value he is able to create from the bunch of activities that he is engaged in. Creating such values could come from redefining productivity as it relates to your habit and attitude towards work which means achieving more results with available resources. Productive people achieve more with less, they bring out the best result from each activity they undertake.
Unfortunately, many people are busy without being productive. They are engaged in various activities, but with little accomplishment.  It all boils down to your attitude to work or the work habit you have developed over time. If you have a negative attitude towards work, that is having little or no value for work; it affects your productivity level. Work tends to require one major resource – Time, and sometimes it creates an imbalance in a man’s life that make faith and family to be sidelined.

Here are 9 ways to become productive at work.
  1. Work with strategy
Engage your mind, think and develop strategies that will make you work smarter. It is importance you identify the essential activities, and the best way to accomplish them. A good strategy helps you create the best method of achieving your goals.

  1. Work with priority
According to Leo Babauta, “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Productivity simply means working with the understanding of what is important to you and your organization, and what adds more value.

  1. Work with diligence
Concentrate your efforts on your current task. A persistent effort in doing something is what produces result. Work as if your life depends on that work, put in energy and be proud of what you are doing.

  1. Work with optimism
Expect the best from your effort. Being optimistic is an attitude you can develop. Don’t just work for the sake of work, but work with optimism and hope for a better result.

  1. Work with excitement
How enthusiastic are you about your work? Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration. This is an attitude that helps you to feel your work, smell it and even taste it from afar. There are many individuals that are not happy with what they do. You can’t be excited about your work and not be productive.
  1. Work as a steward
Work with the mindset that you are accountable to someone, and that you must show your score card at the end of your task. Whether you are managing your business or you were appointed or employed to oversee a task, having that sense of accountability helps you to track your achievements.

  1. Work synergistically
Nothing replaces good relationship in the workplace. Developing the mindset of working in a cooperative or an interactive manner enhances productivity because the combined effort of the group is greater than individual effort. This means to work with value, respect and unity with your colleagues

  1. Work tirelessly
Develop your mind to be your motivator, and draw strength from within you. Work with a drive and without any form of discouragement

  1. Work with target
Set goals, and challenge yourself to achieve it. When a man doesn’t know where he is going, every where looks like it. There must an anticipated level of measuring productivity.

Sometimes focusing and doing little is more rewarding than doing more. It is all about your attitude rather than the work itself. You must make a decision today to value your work.

Scott Odigie is a Public Speaker and Professional Trainer 
on Personal Development, Organisation Motivation and Strategic leadership