Business opinion: with DR. FARAI CHIGORA
As we deepen and further unravel the domestic philosophy that should be the pivotal fulcrum for economic development by SMEs, we continue with the PEOPLE model as this edition focuses on the second acronym: ECOLOGY. This is an assessment of the environment for entrepreneurship and industrialization and an understanding of the key issues that define the company and should drive it forward in successive growth and wealth generation for both households and the economy. Given the intensity, multidimensionality and complexity of real business, it is inevitable to conduct a 360-degree study of the appropriate ecology that drives industrialization through entrepreneurship.
It is necessary to inspire strategic engagements, synergies and sustained participation from a relevant multitude of stakeholders in our internal and external ecology. Instead of advising on entrepreneurial issues with the eye of a needle, this attitude positions start-ups and growing companies on a broad front across all ecological-operational issues. Even with policy coherence and promotion proposals made in previous installments, it is only a prescription without medication as action and position are still required to strike a balance.
The ecological perspective of a successful business start-up does not seem to be on the agenda for many entrepreneurs, as their focus is rather short-term and narrowly limited and mainly borders on existence and the end result. In relation to a football team, synergetic relationships, team spirit, coach leadership, enthusiasm of the fans, compliance with the rules of sport (referees and linesmen) and reconciliation with the international rules of the game are required. This is in line with the ecology of entrepreneurship where such an integrated and systemic approach should be followed. It is worrying that most SMEs limit themselves and their operations to subsistence operations and the rest are left behind as a broken chain in ecology. The world-famous and successful companies have regarded their ecology as an important strategic success factor.
This is one of the major obstacles to the environmental transformation of these companies as adaptable, accessible, sustainable and welcoming to local and international investors. Participation in SME workshops and membership in such defined bodies are not the only factors for a sustainable existence. Let’s imagine our business as a mixture of different minds, characters, rules, collaborations, benchmarks, guidelines and professionalism. A one-man-woman gang is a misleading strategic approach to developing and growing our businesses. Just like in a homestead “no man / woman is an island”, you need family and friends who support you in both disasters and triumphant moments. Charity begins at home, but it shouldn’t end there. These values carry us in social and emotional life as well as in business. From this point of view, the aim of this edition is to highlight some ecological factors that are necessary for entrepreneurial growth and sustainability with regard to the 2030 Agenda and beyond.
Tango takes two, namely the entrepreneurs and the global ecology for sustainable wealth generation, hence the need to redesign guidelines and practices in the direction of a synergetic mixed approach for ecological implementation. More time should be spent exploring and creating synergies in each area of business activity to stimulate collaborative work (ecology) and the transformative spirit. In order to reflect on the cracks that are currently inhibiting entrepreneurship for industrialization, various start-ups do not have properly designed operating structures that are guided by a clear vision, mission and values, which are then reflected in a defined organizational culture. The emergence and growth of many SMEs have been deterred by the failure to define their internal ecology. When defined from the vision, it contributes to an effective organogram (functional areas specified), clear standard operating procedures (SOPs), communication and command chains, clear control spans, responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities. It is true that these are aspects of management techniques, but there is a fine line between training and practice. These aspects are seen by many as hygienic, not the beginnings of prosperity, as they take a backward-looking approach, thinking that companies make money first and build structures later. Apparently this was a recipe for the current high “corporate infant mortality rate”.
Conversely, it is not one-sided to develop a perfect ecology for entrepreneurial industrialization. As already mentioned, it is a hybrid and a cycle of various internal and external ecological concerns. A private public partnership (PPP) should be placed at the center of the practices, negotiations and the formation of a transformative ecology in which government dominates. In contrast to guidelines and regulations that are mostly imposed and imposed on entrepreneurs, the compound recipe for this pillar of the PEOPLE model is food for thought for the individual (to take or not). For other important actors in corporate ecology, the following suggestions are for a mixed dialogue on Vision 2030. My thoughts on building a robust and long-term attractive ecology for corporate industrialization should take these aspects into account.
Companies do not act independently, but are involved in their modeling with a large number of direct and indirect relationships. The civic community is extremely important in achieving sustainability, mainly through introspection in assessing the impact the company has (positive or negative) on their livelihoods. Entrepreneurial impact on the civic community can only be achieved through committed partnerships that are guided by transparent objectives. In turn, these will support the entrepreneurial ideology not only by invoking but also by proving societal views and constructive recommendations (societal participation) that lead to a glorified and shared sense of ownership. Companies rooted in communities hold the line.
Peaceful conflict resolution
An ecology that respects and adheres to various aspects that enable peaceful conflict resolution between the PPPs. This reflects who we are if Zimbabwe is to be open to real business. This is an ecology for a mutual, morally acceptable and ethically respectful relationship in our Zimbabwean ecology. Something that can be achieved not just through dialogue, but doing the right thing.
This may sound generalized and known by various representative bodies, but it is not seen as a must by the business world. It is important to provide a fair framework for both sexes to express their creativity without discrimination.
Sexual harassment problems
In relation to the above, it is important to have an ecology that is free from sexual harassment as it has been an unacceptable practice by entrepreneurs. Apart from the fact that it is a crime, the perpetrator and the start-up are blacklisted. This is because Zimbabwe is largely a predatory patriarchy that has recorded cases of sexual harassment with impunity. That has to be nipped in the bud.
Space for nature management through succession planning
One of the main undeniable reasons for the lack of a long lifespan of the localized approach to business and industrialization through entrepreneurship is that the company does not go beyond its current founders. This has not only led to failures in succession planning, but also to a selfish pursuit of building a sustainable ecology. It’s a smart approach to long-term appeal if not positioned in a way that is worth working with and a partner to invest in venture creation.
Spirit of advice
The reason we have different specializations in life is to promote a guidepost for social exchange. Many, if not all, startups ignore the supremacy of advice. As individuals, we do not have the full acumen to fit jackets of all sizes. Appreciating the dynamism and complexity of advice will restore the legacy in our own businesses. As a company, we have to forecast, plan and act. Why not do the same search from our localized practitioners who can expand the localization of best practices and local language? First of all, this is a critical mode for education.
Use of ICT policy in the company
The dominance of ICT in the creation of SMEs and industrialization cannot be denied. It is the new normal for the 2030 Agenda and beyond. Many of the start-ups still have to embrace the presence and progress of ICT in their ecology. This is the trend now, not only for efficient operations, but also to get in touch with global investors, sell products / services and move forward with newer innovations. These include the Internet of Things (IoT), web visibility, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Think brand, not personalization
Entrepreneurs should now see themselves as brands and not as personalized setups. Brands can be positioned faster and create a global identity. In today’s ecology it is important to have a positive image in the operating environment. To a certain extent, this will lead to an escalating perception of the quality of offers in order to build loyalty and associations. All of this can be achieved when the entrepreneurs apply branding to reach global markets and get known.
Dr. Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is Head of Business Science at the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University. His doctoral thesis focused on business administration (Destination Marketing and Branding Major, Ukzn, SA). He can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected], WhatsApp cell phone: +263772886871.