Dig Deep: Lay Your Foundation


An interesting aspect about building is that when laying a foundation you have to first begin with digging in the opposite direction to that which you intend on the building to rise towards.

The moment you decide to directly begin the process of building a building you expect to hug the very sky, your pick up your tools and start digging in the complete opposite direction.

Even the bible says it in Prov 11:24 “there is that scattereth, yet increaseth…”. There is always a time, and usually that time is at the very commencement of a project, where people might not quite grasp what it is that you are doing. It seems to the untrained eye as if you are quickly digging yourself into a ditch from which you cannot escape.

The funny thing about the foundation is that, the bigger the building, the deeper and more solid the foundation has to be.

So the bigger the project, the more time, effort and resources have to be committed towards ensuring that the project sets of from a solid base.

It is not an easy task and most people who observe humungous buildings take little to no regard at all to the foundation upon which the building is built.

As in the parable of the house built on sand, shoddy workmanship and preperation for business implementation will be made manifest once the waves of market forces begin to play havoc on the business model.

In other words, a solid business has to be built on a sound moral, ethical and business values because the higher the building, the mightier the fall and the more people that will feel the crush and even the more law suites involved.

Just to slip back to my favourite past time… plants. Trees and shrubs are very fascinating life forms. For the purpose of this discussion, we can consider the desert shrubs. Some appear to be very tiny above the surface, with only a branch or two visible with a few small leaves.

An uninformed person can actually assume that they can easily uproot the entire plant by pulling it out with a single hand.
An attempt at this would prove them extremly wrong as the ernomous size of the underground root network would at some cases even constitute more than 99% of the actual plant size. So what is in reality visible to the casual observer is nothing more than the tip of the iceburg.

The key to some of the most successful businesses, is to look tiny and insignificant from the top, but have a vast network of resources at play just below the surface, capturing every single drop of opportunity that comes your way and anchoring the business so heavily, that you would nees a complete industrial meltdown to cause it to break a sweat.

Advertisements

The Root (Part 3): Support System


The most essential thing that you have to understand about one of the most essential parts of a plant, “the root” is to understand that it has the massive backing of the plant.

In business, you have to realise that you need to take care of your business in order for it to take care of you. If you are to reap any fruits from the investment input into your business you have to ensure that its internal clockwork and functions are at their optimal point.

Some plants can easily be reproduced by making cuttings from the parent plant. The new plant/cutting, continues to survive for a short while without some of the most essential elements as the roots and leaves.

It would not be a wise thing for a plant to assume that it can continue to operate in such a way for a long time.

There comes a point in the new plant’s “reasoning” that the plant realises that it has been separated from its source of nutrition and the time has come to develop an independant system.

If the plant fails to produce the necessary organs such as the leaves and roots because it thinks it is still alive, it will suddenly wake up one day and the internal storage would have been exhausted subsequently leading to its wilting and death.

If you neglect the most essential drivers of your business as it reaches its maturity, it may suddenly whilt and die on you. And you wonder what happened.

The business would have been operating very well for the last 12-15 months and because the systems in place appear to be operating very well. There is need to continualy review the systems in place and assess the functions, viability and overall feasibility going forward.

There is a need to continually review each and every function to make sure that it is well catered for and is able to perform its function to the best of its capability.

Some things that were efficient whilst you were serving five or ten clients may no longer be as feasible when there are now 25 to thirty clients.

New equipment may need to be purchased, vehicles acquired, software upgraded, buildings upgraded and refurbished. There are so many intricate details depending on the type of business that you have to look out for as you progress in business.

The bible says “do not restrict the horse that treads the corn.” There are certain “perks” that are derived from working in certain industries, at times these appear to be irrelevant to the operations of the business.

However they offer a certain level of satisfaction and quality of life to the employee.
These need to be regulated in order to ensure that the company suffers minimal loss from these activities but gains in improved perfomance from the employee. They can be used as moral boosters and perfomance enhancers ensuring that the core objectives of the business are achieved.

They say a hungry man is an angry man, this is obvious in many day to day business activities in a lot of our companies. We have seen industries being brought to their knees because the employees have been neglected.

The key unit of any business are its employees and if they are mistreated or given a package that is below the standard that a normal being can operate under, then the business owner is simply sitting on a ticking time bomb.

It is only a matter of time before the employee bomb explodes on it.
I am continually amazed at employers who choose to neglect and abuse their employees through poor pay packages as compared to the actual business net revenue and poor working conditions.

Whilst a dollar here and there is saved in the short run by employing strategies that disadvantage the employee, an employer should be wary because watering down the wine is a dangerous strategy.

Shortcuts in business are the quickest way to failure.

A strong, secure, solid employee root base ensures that the business system is founded on a solid rock.

The Root: A Lesson of Persistance – Part 1


There is no need to be a failure as a success.

Plants and their nature never cease to amaze me. You will find them literally everywhere, given half a chance a place that previously seemed to be totally desolate can reveal so much hidden potential.

This should be the same drive by which you need to follow through with your dream. Go ahead and dream big even amidst the most challenging of situations. A certain young man once worked for me as a general hand. He was unfortunate enough not to have completed his secondary education, and I told him he had potential to get ahead in his life through making use of his hands.

For a moment he stared at his hands and could not even believe what he heard me say to him. He just shook his head in disbelief, and replied, “with these hands… I dont think so.” In his mindset, because of his perceived disadvantage of not having gone further with his education, he saw himself as forever banished to being a “failure as a success.”

In his eyes, there was no way he could not ever become any more than what he was. “They have eyes, but they do not see.” He could not even see what he was already doing with his own hands that was already bettering his life. He had already made an active decision to do something with his life but he could not even see what he already had.

Many times, we look at our life, the end picture…. and immediately are blown away by the magnitude of the dreams that we have or the destiny that may be. We often fail to see what resources we already have, some of which we may already be using that have the potential to take us to even greater heights.

The limits to which we may reach simply depend on how much we allow our minds to stretch and wonder and discover the secrets that life has in store for us.

However, it does not always come easy. Bumps and roadblocks are something that can never be totally guarded against, but you just have to hang in there, think postively and allow some unexpected solutions to some of the challenges you may face.

There are very few entirely new concepts, businesses and methodologies that you may come across. Somewhere, somehow, somebody out there has faced the same or similar challenge as the one that you may be facing.

The “six degree” theory, states that we are all seperated by six people in our networks to everybody else in the world. However, subjective that theory may be, it just goes to show just how well connected and intergrated we all are.

So imagine how many solutions and experiences are available for our education from the very people we socialise with on a day to day basis. The key is to know which combination of people is the right one. In the face, of challenges, you can safely take comfort that there is a solution out there for you to get, all you have to do is rich in and reach out to get it.

Plants just dont seem to know when to give up, I especially admire weeds, they are particularly persistant and will grow out of any crack or crevice that they can fit into. They are a constant menace to farmers and gardeners anywhere.

As such successful people are those that are a constant menace to their destiny.

Learn from spoilt children, dont give up until you get what you desire. Jacob refused to let go of God until dawn broke and God was forced to bless him. It was not that God failed to escape, but the blessing was so massive, that he had to make sure that the recepient, Jacon, would really appreciate what he got and not take it lightly. Only then could he become, ISRAEL.

The hollow in his joint an everlasting reminder of the night God visited him with a blessing that would last the ages and be remembered for all time.

So as I sign off I leave you with a question, “what opportunity are you being prepared for by the challenges you think you are facing?”, because it might not be a challenge, but a lesson embedded for the purpose of increased valuation.

Do not kill them,they are all we have


It is about midnight in Zimbabwe and most are probably fast asleep. Most are probably having sweet dreams with a proper roof above their head. However somewhere in South Africa is a family uncertain of what the future holds, somewhere in the shanty towns of South Africa is a man caught in the horns of a dilemma. Somewhere in South Africa is a fellow brother nursing a wound after being pushed out of a moving train. Indeed the world cup has come. As we draw closer to the final we celebrate teams that made it to this stage of the game. We celebrate teams that have worked hard to book themselves entry into the finals that are due in a few days to come. However one team shivers at the thought of the final whistle, one team trembles at the thought of the end of the final ninety minutes.

This is the team that worked day and night to put up the magnificent stadiums whose spectacle mesmerizes the world. I have no doubt that our fellow brothers and sisters are a part of that team that worked hard. Talk of Mbombela Stadium, Moses Mabhida Stadium and the Soccer City Stadium to mention but a few. It is a pity that some of our fellow countrymen and a host of other foreign nationals find themselves enveloped in fear as unscrupulous elements bay for the blood of foreigners in that country. Shakira sang “Waka-Waka” celebrating the time for Africa. So did the rest of the world. As Zimbabweans we sang along knowing that our time had come. We embraced the spirit of ubuntu as we stood united with our neighbours in this time of glory. We witnessed the kick off at soccer city. We marveled the festivities at soccer city as World Cup fever took its toll. Today l cannot help but shed a tear at the growing sound of brutality coming from that direction. Does ubuntu condone the killing of helpless people in search of a better life? Does ubuntu slaughter fellow brothers and sisters because of a differing click or dialect? Can ubuntu discriminate us according to our presidents? Honestly spare us the horror. Let Soccer City be Soccer City and not Killer City.

It is with a heavy heart to note the recurrence of xenophobic threats to our fellow brothers and sisters in South Africa. It is rather unspeakable and indifferent from the apartheid that stung South Africa less than two decades ago. These are issues that l usually try to avoid but today l was pierced by a friend X on facebook who raised this issue in a way that fuels an orgy of hate speech. I believe it is the duty of every citizen of the world to promote peace and tranquility. It is the duty of think tanks to promote a language of love. Clearly we now live in a world of global interdependence where nations rely on each other in terms of trade and human resource. This does not mean legalizing crime or what is deemed illegal by the law. However where human subjects are involved measures should be taken to avoid a scenario where people’s lives are terminated in the name of job creation. Let us unite against Xenophobia.

Zimbabwe will rise again. She will once again be the breadbasket of Southern Africa if not that of Africa. She may be undergoing challenges at the moment but that does not mean her people are trash. Her people are endowed with a spirit of hard work that works harder even in tougher times. In any case Zimbabwe is on the road to recovery. The rains of reformation will fall so that her pastures will pierce the ground with greener grass. Zimbabwe’s Lands will make paddocks of peace that are free of attacks. Once again the children will play; songs of happiness will be sung as a new era dawns on Zimbabwe. It is possible and it begins with you and me taking the initiative to make our motherland a better place. May the good Lord protect the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe. May He protect them against swords and knives in foreign lands. They passed ports and borders with or without passports to fend for their families. Let no man harm them, let no man burn them, let no man kill them and let everyone say No to Xenophobia.

Growing plants/The new enterprenuer


“…If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed…” (Luke 17:6).
Someone once told me something that I found to be very profound when I first expressed interest in farming. He told me that farming was so advantageous because you know the plants actually want to grow.

All you have to do is help them realise their dreams,……. yes the dreams of the plants, and you shall realise your own.

The same things apply in business, business is all about meeting an expressed, implied or expected market need. The market needs the product, they are actively or inactively seeking it by their actions and words.

Usually the need is known and commonly accepted. It is when a need is most common that the highest possible realisation from commercial work can be realised.

When most people think about engaging in any business activity they usually view it as a major adjustment process that will require trying to coerce people into buying products that they do not actually want.

Products exist because a set need has been identified and someone has made a move to provide the good and or service to the consumer.

So the question that a marketer must ask himself is not, “how do I convince the client to purchase this good?”, but, “how do I make the client recognise, acknowledge and feel the need to do something to meet the need that is within them for this good?”

You have to believe that the business also has the inherent desire to grow and realise the best that it can be.

But you have to realise that the business also undergoes the same developmental cycle as a plant grows. Nature is the best teacher on growth. Plants are conceived as seeds, planted, they die to self as seeds into the seedlings that are but a shadow of the sometimes massive trees to come.