Enterprise 20.12 (1)

There are emerging facts from global reports that doing business in the present age is no longer a joke, even in the most stable markets and economies such …

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Tony AjahThere are emerging facts from global reports that doing business in the present age is no longer a joke, even in the most stable markets and economies such as Europe and America.Indeed, the business world is no longer fair!There have been so many political, economical, social, infrastructural, and other discomforts that have led to the falling (and not many rising) of several small/ medium, and large establishments.

It’s another business year with its peculiar but capricious uncertainties. (I could also caption this piece of writing:Doing Business in 2012). Going by what we saw last year, a good number of us are currently apprehensive of what this year holds. The bitter truth is that more business revelations would still emerge in this new season. It would be good if you will be ready for the surprises! We cannot sleep or fold our hands at the wheel of our enterprises at a time like this. That may mean drive your business with your eyes closed, and that may spell doom! Remember, many outfits have failed because they were not equipped to change fast enough to deal with trickling market surprises.

The recent economic recession that we are witnessing across the globe for some time now has ushered in new business models and redefined so many business thoughts, ideas, ideologies, concepts, philosophies and assumptions that is different from the ones we had known. It would be hard for those of us who are yet tied to the old (tradition) system of businessing to get over. But times of uncertainties have also be times for innovative beginnings, if one would choose (and develop the capacity) to view things differently.

Once again, it is going to be a challenging business year. As a matter of fact, this year is going to be rough! Quote me. Only the rougher ones will carry on and pull through. What are we going to do then? The keep word here is change! Warren Bennis, a management guru advised, ‘Only by changing themselves can organisations get back into the game and get to the heart of things. All organisations, especially those that are growing, walk a tightrope between stability and change, tradition and revision.’ In the same vein, Peter Drucker  admonished, ‘Every organisation needs to discover which risks it can afford to take, which risks it cannot afford to take, and which risks it cannot afford not to take’. It is about time we act on those words as our guiding light.

Let’s come down to our homeland. There are vital statistics and findings to show that running a business in Nigeria is a tough one relative to what is obtainable in other developing countries, especially in Africa.(For some of us who have been privileged to see what is obtainable in other countries, you will understand what I mean).It would even be tougher now that there are several hard and harsh government policies. A business executive told me at the beginning of the year that he was to shut-down his company because he was losing hope in the government. It is that bad. In Nigeria today, it appears that we are in the era of the survival of the fittest!But how many of us are fit enough to scale through the survival mode?

Doing business in Nigeria today demands toughness.One must be tough if he or she must really survive this intense heat. You have to be tough in spirit, tough in soul, tough in body, tough in your pocket and tough in your strategy.Just be very tough in whatever things you have got (and should get)in order to drive your business to the place of safety. In case you have forgotten, our business home-front smiles at no one but the tough ones.Every business executive or entrepreneur must possess enduring business stamina if he or she must survive, and hence thrive in the present situation.

The environment itself is tough and requires tough, if not tougher people to conquer it. As the going gets tough, the tough gets going but the tougher ones prevail! Except you want to give up like others, toughen-up and work extra hard. Again, business landscape today favours the tough!Toughness here would also mean mental concentration and willingness to pay attention to performance and to correct it through measurement and reinforcement. It will in addition require boldness in the face of outward circumstances, whether it is coming from government policies or from market reactions. Some others may refer to this very virtue as courage. There are things that would cause us to be uneasy and then give in to fear. Please don’t. Courage after all means daring in the face of what you are afraid of. In the words of C.S. Lewis, ‘Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point’.

To enable us to make the most of the emerging challenging trend, we (as individuals and organisation) have to make tactical critical adjustments. This would certainly require our learning, unlearning, and relearning some key business skills, wherever necessary. Bear in mind that we can only grow when we push ourselves beyond what we already known, and from what is obtainable in the present situation. We can’t stand where we are, and make progress farther than there, nor can we hold on to the old and arrive at the new.

Your business security entirely lies in your ability to respond to present challenging changes intelligently. Today in the world of business, our past successes mean nothing. The paradigm has shifted and will keep shifting! And for our organisational growth to be sustained, change is inevitable. ‘Living with change’, a wise man observed, ‘need not imply insecurity, but rather developing new forms of security’. I can’t wait to secure my business position. What about you?

Tony Ajah is a business growth strategist, and the Principal Strategist, TA Strategic Solutions, a Lagos-based firm that is into business growth and development. tony@ta-strategies.com ajahxt@yahoo.co.uk.  +234 1 958 7802

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