Senwes Scenario June / July 2017 - Page 53

••• • • F UT UR E F O CUS • • Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle table business both now and into the future. In an industry which is defined by global innovation and advancements, one cannot afford to be left behind in the race, left to rummage in the scraps of our own self-pity or even left in limbo going down the river with no paddle and no rudder. NO! Aristotle said, ‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’ Start with self-observation and introspection. Can you cope with the uncertainty? How are your emotions and how do you deal with living in our current tumul­ tuous and unprecedented political climate? Are you prepared to plan a path going forward under these circumstances? Are you prepared to ride the waves of our fledgling and often f(l)ailing democracy? These are all questions that you NEED to ask yourself, because if you don’t you will never be able to plan effectively for your business. You will constantly be waiting for a nudge or a push or an open door. This also contradicts the accepted notion that all businesses need at least a 5-year and a 10-year plan to be successful. You cannot afford to plan month to month or even one or two years ahead. If you plan for the now only, then your vision is not big enough and you will have little scope for growth and expansion. Things will always be as they are… just ticking over or they will enter a slippery path into decline. If you do decide to ride the rocky waves into the future, then you have to do it with guts and passion and determina­ tion. Be the best you possibly can be while growing a business that you are proud of - and one that is liquid and making money. Look at your business critically. Consider what you need and want for yourself and your family regarding provision, then consider what your business needs to pro­ vide you with in order to get that which you want. If your business can’t provide you with your needs and wants, then you have some serious strategising to do. STRATEGISING! To strategise effectively you need to start with a BUDGET. Be realistic and list everything you have in terms of assets - physi­ cally, materially and emotionally. Visualise your debt, your bank balances and your overdrafts. Calculate your asset to debt position. Calculate your current financial demands, everything! Take time doing this so that you get the most accurate reflection of your current business position as possible. There is no need to try and hide things from yourself. Once this is all laid out, then you can start strategising. Business planning is not a one day event. You need to take time, think, be creative, develop hypo­ thetical scenarios in your mind (and on paper). Draw up forecast­ ed figures and make sure that you are conservative and objective in your forecasts. Compare ideas and thoughts. Speak to a trusted confidante or a mentor and use them as a sound­ ing board. Most important of all, remove all sentiment from your decision-making and be clever by thinking outside the box. Dr Daleen Smal, in her book The Art of Money, says ‘You have to align your thoughts, your feelings and your actions with the results you desire’. Planning in times of uncertainty is extremely difficult. But uncer­ tainty should never STOP us from planning. I am increasingly hearing farmers and business people saying things like “We’ll see what happens next year, after the elections”, “I’m not going to invest now because I’m just not sure about the market”, “I’ll make that decision after the next budget speech” - Yes, of course you are allowed to be cautious and careful. But IF you decide that you want to do business in Africa, then you must DO business in Africa! Stop pussy-footing around waiting for the next gloomy State of the Nation Address or pronounce­ ment from an extremist activist or politician seeking votes. If you decide to ride the waves, then commit to the path, hold tight and be prepared for many ups and downs and dips and turns because that, dear reader, is a given guarantee when living and doing business in Africa. But as is well known, with big risks there can be big rewards, IF you PLAN effectively and manoeuvre your business cleverly. Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher said, ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’ Planning positions you better, know yourself and your environ­ ment and if you act accordingly, you will have the best possible chance of long-term success in your business. SENWES Scenario • JUN/JUL 2017 51