Business Support Systems: The Stake


This blog post is a semi-continuation of the Money tree series posted in late July.

Please make reference to that post if you are to get a full picture of what I am discussing today.

There are certain business systems that are efficient in production and output, but they in their very nature face some serious challenges in standing on their own.

When starting up business, it is usually expected that a certain level  of reinvestment or recapitalization of the business will be necessary. It is critical to realize that sudden changes, or the natural progression of the business will require you to invest time, physical and financial resources into the business.

This may be due to the fact that, the business may expand much faster than what was expected, requiring a growth in the capital requirements of the business than what was originally foretasted.

The advantage of such things is that once a business is operational, there is a bit more substance to it and obtaining financing through external investment becomes much easier than when a plan is just on paper.

I have personally felt this pinch with one or two excellent plans that have been well researched but requiring a certain level of start up financing. Especially when you are  a new venturer and everyone else is looking through your portfolio seeking your prior achievements before they can surrender their finances into your hands.

But once a business is operating, even at a small scale, it bears testimony to what it is capable of, and income cases, through due diligence and cash reinvestment, minding cash flow management there is a very high chance that the business may even be able to recapitalize itself.

It may do this even through the acquired goodwill, that increase its value over and above the actual physical and financial asset value it has in its portfolio.

An example of a business system that may require extensive levels of recapitalisation that may take even decades to recover but will definitely be worth it is mining. Substantial amounts of assets have to be bought before production can commence. In cases such as oil rigging, billions may be invested at regular intervals even as the business itself is generating a sizable cash inflow.

However, care has to be taken that recapitalization does not become a perpetual occurrence. A good system is one that ensures that there comes a point when the business reaches maturity, and becomes stable enough to stand on its own and even provide a support base for other expansion plans of businesses in the portfolio of the owners.

Investment in other people’s businesses is also useful because as my mentor always says, “I am not  the smartest person in the world.”

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Business Implementation: Dormant seeds (Part 2)


Some business plans are excellent, but due to various factors, it might not be practical to implement some of them at certain times. Factors affecting this may include, the financial or physical disposition in terms of the originator’s time and resources.

One person once said that “the worst thing that can happen to a person is for him to become successful before he is ready”. It is not the actual resources that determine whether a person will succeed in any given venture or not, because resources in nature are temporal in that whatever is in this earth will pass away.

If you take this into account, then it is easy to realize that conditions or micro climates as those in a greenhouse scenario can be created in order to suit the needs of your business.

The successful implementation of a business model depends on the drive that the initiator of the model has. In the bible there is a king that was asked to thrash the floor with an arrow, instead of thrashing the floor several times signifying  the assault on his enemies, he did it only thrice and as a result he realized a victory that was way below the capacity that God had intended upon his life.

The same thing applies to the successful implementation of business models in our lives. We are all equipped with knowledge in certain unique, and sometimes not so unique areas of business, but it is important to note that we each have our own unique way of doing sometimes even the same things.

That is why in life some people realize more successes than others. It is the degree to which you implement the plans that are sown into you that determines whether you will succeed or not.

Usually, timing is useful but it does not constitute the total success or failure of the venture.

However, some models are heavily dependent on certain laws and circumstances for example the money market in Zimbabwe in the late 2008 period was a total disaster with investment in it at that time virtually impossible.

Fund investors reliant haevily in this sector were badly impacted, but this was a temporal scenario, with the introduction of multicurrency trading in Zimbabwe leading to an improvement in the trading conditions.

Take Root – Be Established


I read somewhere that the chinese bamboo takes about five years before it sprouts some shoots or begins to germinate. Most soft cuttings take a few weeks to a few months just barely holding onto dear life sustaining themselves on what they already have stored within them, except for water which is drawn in in minute doses.

So what will be happening within this relatively stagnant period? One this for sure, the plants will not just be sitting around hoping for some devine intervention in order to begin to grow. This is the time they realise that their original source of nourishment has been removed and they have a choice either to do something about it, or die!

Most choose to live, not all succeed, but most put up a good fight. More often than not, we as human beings find ourselves in that very same scenario, after years training and growing in a particular vocation we become preety good at what we do and fall into a dependency on the system. If as an employee, your boss just happens to go to a party or optimisation workshop or something and suddenly begins to implement retrenchments and you are caught on the “wrong” side of the program life suddenly turns from a sweet orange to a bitter grape fruit.

The key in such an incident is not to panic and lose all hope in desperation, but like my little cuttings realise what has happened and gather up your available resources whilst you still have a bit of life within you and begin to put up your own new system to support yourself. Unlike plants however, so long as we are breathing and sometimes even further than that, we still have potential to make a difference in this world that we live in.

So yes, even if we falter, stumble, and sometimes give birth to still born businesses, there is still yet hope for us. All we have to do is gather our wits about us and go at it again never losing the passion by which we started out with.

It never ceases to fascinate me at the vast network of roots a seemingly small plant develops whilst in the very initial stages of growth. When you look at it from the top of the plant above the soil, it seems as if nothing or very little is happening, but just a few millimetres below the surface growth is taking place at a phenominal pace.

To prove this, just try pulling out a little plant from the ground and see what happens, It seems as if the entire little patch around it has been wired into the little plant’s system.
That is the true sustinance of the plant, in the ever growing network of roots.

Time taken developing the roots of a business system, will determine its strength of resistance to negative external forces. Some truly grounded systems may be totaly wiped out, by an economic disaster, but you can be sure that so long as the roots remain intact, the industry shall rise again.

Some plants only need just a single piece of root to remain intact, and the system can be rebuilt to its fomer glory.

So it is of my opinion, that more time needs to be dedicated towards establishing a fully functional root system, that will stand the test of external pressure

Growth Dynamics (From seed to seedling to plant)


The following post arose from a conversation that I had with one of the people in my close network.

When you look at the growth process of a plant, you realise that it is as dynamic as the presence of water in a river. There is always growth and development, there are always a number of processes taking place at any one time and a stream never holds the same water twice. Its always someting new.

The is no point in time, when you can say that the growth or change process has become dormant. Even when the plant itself is dead there is a process of decomposition, as it is reassimilated into the ground from whence it came.

So growth takes place consistently, if growth is not taking place then the system is dying.

A seed may be the best seed in the bunch, but it can not remain a seed forever because it will shrivel and die. The support systems that are put in place for that period are only relevant for a season, after that either development takes place or the seed dies.

My good friend was boasting to me about how “structured” and conformed his days were, how he knew what to expect day after day and how he was really good at his job and how every day was exciting because he had a chance to prove himself and flex his muscles in the mirror.

To me, alarm bells were ringing left, right and center. Its not that I despise being good at what you do, what I was majourly concerned about was “the comfort zone”. Whereby a seed gets very satisfied with being the “chief seed” the “choisest” (if I may use such a word) of all.

It is critical to realise that nature and life itself never intended for things to remain the same, change is inevitable, but the level of discomfort that it will cause in your life depends on how ready and fluidly prepared you are to experience the transition.

From the moment we are born, change is the only constant, so the same thing applies to business. Conditions and the environment that exist will only last for a certain period of time.

There can be no assurances or guarantess that a marketing or sales strategy that worked for similar “company A”, will work for similar “company B”, because the external influences change at any given time.

It is also critical to realise that there exist such things as the business life cycle and this applies both seasonaly and in the long term.
What is key in this is that, it is imperative that you understand what phase your business is going through and adjust accordingly.

When planting a seed, growth homones and weaker fertilisers are required to ensure that growth takes place to the best of the seed’s capacity.

But the very same strategy that worked at seed level becomes irrelavant at seedling level, at growth, maturity and harvest there are different fertilisers (organic/inorganic), pesticides and support systems you have to put in place to ensure a successful eneterprise.

So it is an absolute shock to me when someone expresses comfort at consistency. The only comfort I personally feel a person should have is comfort in change.

Life is a continuously developmental cycle, but it is of utmost importance that you make sure that the change is structured towards development.

Constant change is not beneficial if it is perpertualy circling like a dog chasing its tail. Change has to be progressive.

Growth of Business (The Greenhouse Effect)


As the first leaves break through the ground, that is when the plant is at its most vulnerable.

A business is at its most vulnerable when it is at its infancy, because that is when it becomes exposed to the true environment in which it is to exist. It becomes exposed to competition, in some economies that is when it breaks the minimum tax levels and it becomes to various laws and legislation.

If not protected and well monitored this is the time that it can slink right back into the earth from whence it came.

The seed has to be nurtured by creating a rich mix or medium in which growth is to be fostered. Similarly a business dream has to be soaked in the right nutrients in order for it to have even a single chance at seeing daylight.

A business plan/proposal has to be thoroughly researched and complemented with the right support systems before it is actually launched into the market.

Systems have to be set up to ensure that when the business is rolled out every department and resource is available to kick into action when the relevant function is called into play. It would be a serious hiccup if the company was to produce a product only to realise that a major aspect such as packaging or labeling is not in place. Suddenly, you have an almost complete product sitting in your warehouse crunching money that you do not have to spare out of your pocket every extra minute that it spends there.

In the event that the product is easily perishable every extra minute stored is a minute closer to disaster.
Smart farmers prepare some plants before the season in which they are originally intended to grow in has begun. Some conditions are too harsh for the seedlings to flourish in. Therefore they need to be sheltered before they are exposed to the environment in which they are to spend in their existence in.

Sometimes in business you need to shelter your growing business and protect it from the full scale attack of an open market system, that is why in there are things such as trade restrictions. These are meant to protect the growing firms within a nation from the full scale impact of a harsh and developed economic system.

In this discussion we shall focus on a microclimate of developing a business. In some businesses it is wise to create a business and expose it to a controlled or small market releasing it as a pilot project in order to iron out any unforeseen challenges that would prove catastrophic in a larger scale.

It’s easier to recapitalize a business worth $10000 by 20% of its value than it is to recapitalize a $100000 business. The task of correcting a $2000 mistake is far easier than a $20000 mistake, at times the mistake involves the salaries of your human resources, and human resources are just one resource that you do not want to make a mistake with.

Every single disgruntled employee has the potential to bring down an entire company to its knees, employees are like the roots of a company and anyone of them may be the taproot, which if damaged the entire plant can just shrivel and die.

So the mistakes that are made in a controlled environment are far better than those involved in full scale implementation.

10 disgruntled employees are better managed than a 100. Once a business has grown sufficiently it can gradually be exposed to a larger market growing into new markets and gradually adjusting to correct practice as it grows.

Once it is healthy enough it can fully branch out and realise its full rollout and it has a better chance of success. There is greater possibility of success once you have gained confidence in the viability of your business and you have a few loyal clients to fall back on as well as good contracts with suppliers and markets.

Your human resource base will also be in a better placed position to handle the pressure that is associated with running large scale corporations.

Once an entity has also proven a model at a smaller scale, this means that it is feasible for implementation at a larger scale.