The fifth edition of the Entrepreneurs’ Hangout held on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The discussion was led by ChukwukaMonye, Founder and Managing Partner at Ciuci Consulting on Strategic decision making during COVID 19.
He laid the foundation for conversations noting that the season we find ourselves has given people enough time to create and receive content- mail, virtual meetings, articles etc. However, many are not channeling concerted efforts to engage with them which is essential for growth and survival. It is important to take those practical insights from those sessions and content and trust the engagement. Strategic thinking is common sense application.
Specific highlights discussed include:
· Diversification and creation of ventures is important for businesses to survive in time of crisis
· Staying focused on the core offerings in opening up new ventures should be the end goal
· Sometimes we really want something and when you have it, it questions if it was really needed. There’s a lot of content in these times. At the end of the day, it is important that there are tangible outcomes in what we engage with and do- have that outlined and achieve it. Human beings are very activity driven. Share real, practical insights on what is being done atm.
· Backward integration is also a smart way to improve your business and support the business ecosystem
· Develop the relevant skill to function at the scale where the business is.
· Strive to grow business to a large scale because the economy is unreliable and inefficient so that they are able to hedge the risks when there is an economic hit.
· Understand business models to be able to know what strategy will work for your business.
· Be disciplined and focused on your vision to see it through.
Questions and Answers.
Noting the issues surrounding us now, entrepreneurs must be more deliberate about productivity, hence, are sourcing for other interests to tap into to be relevant during this time and beyond while ensuring that they are not doing too much. How far is too far when pivoting and how much focus is just enough?
A laser-sharp focus on an organization’s competence is very essential. If we must, engaging with other interests within the core competence is the way. Diversifying within an organization into different ventures is good, but staying true to the vision of the mother organization should be the end goal. Find the gaps at every point in time and proffer solutions based on what your core offering is as an organization.
Would you consider the decision made by a Fashion designer who makes luxury wears to go into planting cotton seeds for production of fabric diversification?
I would consider this smart and backward integration which is investing in certain businesses at the back end for the betterment of your business’ end goal in the long run while supporting the business ecosystem.
What are your thoughts on an individual who has the resources- financial and human to engage and ensure growth in other sectors that are outside his core competence especially because they are much more revenue-driven?
An organization or individual do not have to engage in a business just because there is all the resources available. Understanding and having a good grasp of them is much more important. There may be no need to go into the business but being an adviser, understudy or financing one can give proper knowledge before deciding to venture into it or better still, acquiring companies who have the complementary capabilities are good.
Do you think that we have cultural thinking where it is expected that you have certain people on your side to be validated?
I think we have not built the right systems in place to run businesses. There is a skill to the scale- certain skills and systems need to be put in place to run businesses at a good scale. This is probably why there is such thinking. Certain persons will only have confidence in what you have to offer is certain potentials are represented.
While exploring the situation around diversification and serial entrepreneurship, is setting up business systems in different sectors and putting capable hands in charge to run it also termed serial entrepreneurship?
Understanding business systems to be able to engage enough to build one is a core competence and powerful skill in its own right. Years of experience has given an understanding of these systems and global best practices.
Most businesses and individuals just want to dabble into other sectors not necessarily to become the big names but to profit from them enough to be sustained. Is this a bad idea? How about businesses that are just starting?
Most businesses are trying to play small so they do not deal with the responsibilities that come along with growth and expansion. The problem with staying small is that when the inevitable economic crisis comes, small businesses are not prepared to hedge the risks and survive it. This is the reason why these small businesses are finding it hard to stay afloat right now. While it is not good to stay small, maximizing the start time is very important because this is where principles are learned and the business is fine-tuned. However, choosing to remain small is not advisable mostly because the economy is unpredictable and inefficient.
Most entrepreneurs note that one of the issues they experience in their businesses is the people. What controls and strategies can be put in place to make this more smooth sailing?
Understanding the business model/peculiarity of every business is the first step and most important. Having a good grasp of this helps the organization to plan how to deal with the personnel. Have a good understanding of the critical thinking and ingenuity that works in any particular sector.
By way of giving support to the younger generation of entrepreneurs, is there a framework for understanding the business models?
1. Be disciplined. Have a vision and be focused to see it through. This will ensure that an organization can execute without getting flustered with all other ideas.
2. To be relevant especially now, think about perceived and anticipated opportunities during and post COVID and utilize any assets you have at hand to deliver. This helps keep assets and resources in use as it may be more expensive to reactivate them post
3. Develop a course of action
For a business that is majorly dependent on sponsorship, how do they sustain the interest of sponsors and get more sponsors in this season?
Make the idea COVID worthy. Rework it to reflect on how it can be useful for the season we are in now. Right now, investors and banks are looking to managing this pandemic so any idea that works in that regards is highly welcome.