Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! I’m one of those who strongly believe that growth is the signpost of progress. The easiest way to know whether your are growing or not is to look back and see if the results you’re generating today is better than that of yesterday. If your annual revenue and customer base remains the same year in year out, it simply means that your business is not growing.
To grow your business you must think outside the box. It’s very easy for people to get married to what they are familiar with instead of that which they don’t know. It’s very easy to fall in love or get married to the comfort zone. But you must understand that any business owner or manager who falls in love with the comfort zone has practically divorced future possibilities.
That was exactly what killed and buried Kodak. That company used to have over 180,000 staff. It used to be one the largest corporations on earth. But suddenly, it got married to the comfort zone and divorced future opportunities, and went bankrupt.
How did it happen? Kodak engineers designed the first digital camera in 1986, took it upstairs to the management team, and they were told to go downstairs and discontinue with that project. Why? Because it would affect their film market.
That single mistake led to the demise and obliteration of Kodak. They got married to the comfort zone of selling film, and they eternally divorced future opportunities. I showed my audience many companies that made that same mistake at the last Inspire Africa Project Conference. You can order for the CDs.
If you want to grow your business in the 21st century you must be ready to adapt to new business models and strategies. That’s why big companies have research and development department whose job is to keep finding out new ways to grow their organization.
If the only business idea or model you have right now is what you learned ten years ago, you must do something about it. Why? Because a teenager with his laptop somewhere in a university hostel can create an application that will change your line of business forever.
Main stream media (television, radio and newspaper) are yet to recover from the effect of social media. Right from 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg and his friends created Facebook, some mainstream media organizations have been struggling to survive.
It’s cheaper and faster to advertise on the social media and even reach a wider audience than to advertise on the traditional media platforms. The last time I bought newspaper was probably ten years ago because social media gives me the opportunity to read newspapers free of charge. Let’s continue our discussion on how to grow your business.
3. Articulate Your Mission and Vision. If I enter your office right now and ask why you established that business, what would you say? I’m sure you have never thought about it. In fact, every time I’m conducting a training for business leaders, I usually ask that question. The greater percentage of the answer is usually to meet their family needs! That’s why many businesses in our clime remain and die at the start-up level.
Before you establish a business, you must define why you are establishing it (mission), and where you’re taking the company to (vision). Your mission is why the business was established, while your vision is where the business is going. Mission is why, vision is where! Mission is why we exist, vision is where we are going. Mission is the reason for existence, vision is our destination! I’m sure you understand it clearly now?
Let’s consider the mission and vision of Apple Inc. for clearer understanding. Steve Jobs original mission statement for Apple Inc. in the 80s was; “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” Very succinct.
As at 2017, the mission statement of Apple Inc. is, “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OSX, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”
As you can see, that mission statement clearly encapsulate who they are or why the company exists. So the mission statement tells us who you are or why the company exists. Your ability to define your mission will give you a sense of direction.
Microsoft’s vision statement is, “To help individuals and businesses realize their full potential.” Their mission statement is, “To empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.” Amazon’s vision statement is, “To be earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
If you look at these mission and vision statements, you will discover that they encapsulate everything you want to know about those companies. It shows why they are existing, and reveals where they are heading to. It reveals why the companies were founded, and where the leaders are taking the companies to.
Every business owner or manager must sit down with his team and state why they are existing and where they are going. Don’t just do it to fulfill all righteousness, it must become what the company is striving to accomplish. Every new staff must be made to fully understand that mission and vision before he or she is even employed.
The mission and vision statement must be placed at a strategic position to inspire every staff of that company. In fact, I suggest that the mission and vision statements should be read out load by everybody during staff meetings as a reminder.
4. Take Branding Serious. See, if you’re selling nameless products, your business may end up at the start-up level. How do we know a business that is still at the start-up level? Simple, if the business is still depending on the owner for survival. If you must come to shop or office before the company can thrive, it simply means that your business is still a baby. It needs to grow beyond you. We can actually help you to automate your business.
Let’s go back to branding. If you’re dealing on suits and what you do is to go to china or Turkey to buy popular brands like Hugo Boss, or even tell them to label the suits that way because those brands are popular, it simply means you have not started business. You must understand that what people buy is name not necessarily products! Can any customer remember your products? If they can’t, it simply means you’re selling nameless products.
Presently our organization is working on many new products for different companies across Nigeria. We usually tell any company we are consulting for that we will not touch their products unless they are ready to invest heavily on branding. If you get branding right, you have successfully positioned your business for life.
Why do you think CocaCola is popular? Because 96% of the world population knows the logo of CocaCola! That’s the power of branding. In fact, products are called by the popular brand names. In Nigeria, noddles are called Indomie, diapers are called Pampers, different electronics are called LG, detergents are called Omo, spices are called Maggi, etc. This goes to show that you must brand your products. How can you do that? Just get in touch with us, and we will repackage your products and services.
I actually dedicated a full chapter to branding and marketing in my book, The Entrepreneur. Call 07032681154 to order for the book. James Cash Penney, the founder of JC Penney said, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” Thomas Watson, former CEO of IBM opined, “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” Dear friend, if you would like me to show you the remaining seven ways to grow your business, kindly indicate at the comment section. Otherwise I might end it here. Welcome to the world of unlimited possibilities!
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