SMART BUSINESS NEWSLETTER January 8, 2014
By Phillip Chichoni
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ―Martin Luther King Jr.
As we get down to serious business in the New Year I wish to thank everyone on the mailing list for taking time to read my articles. I appreciate all the feedback and words of advice from those wrote back to me, and please keep it coming.
It is true that the Zimbabwean economy is going through a rough patch. Scores, if not hundreds of companies failed to open their doors this month. In any economic situation, good or no so good, some businesses will fail, others will prosper and new ones will be created. Opportunities will always be there for entrepreneurs to grab, both in good times and in tough times.
In his book Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen suggest that even in the most tumultuous business conditions, we can choose to be great. Over a period of nine years, Collins, a bestselling author, and Hansen studied businesses that excelled and compared them to those that did not. Those that succeeded are the ones whose leaders chose to be positive minded, excellent, creative and disciplined.
In our economy, while some people are consumed with the problems of liquidity, high costs of doing business, corruption and so on, others are busy looking for profitable solutions to problems. They focus on the upside, on how to turn problems into opportunities and create value.
Our economy has gone down far enough. After reaching the bottom there is no-where else to go but up. You can be great and excel as an individual even when everyone else is pessimistic. That is how great entrepreneurs started businesses that are now successful: Ray Kroc of MacDonald’s, Henry Ford and H Ross Perot of EDS all started their business in recessions while everyone else was worrying about problems. Strive Masiyiwa launched Econet mobile phone company while the country was in the grip of acute foreign currency shortages and tough monopoly laws which prohibited private Telecoms players. The happy news is that they all succeeded by deciding to plough on and doing their best.
Let’s begin 2014 with a positive mentality, with ambitious goals and vigor to succeed and we will indeed sparkle.
Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs, assisting them with business plan writing, business start-up, marketing, accounting and tax issues. He is the author of books that include Business Planning Simplified and The Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Starting a Business in Zimbabwe, as well as the publisher of Smart Business Magazine (formerly BusinessLink magazine). Contact him on email firstname.lastname@example.org.