Business; Changing at the speed of competition.

There was a time when what you didn’t know would not hurt you. Now we live in a reality where what you don’t know could make your whole business model irrelevant.

Whereas the Global economy has been pitched to. maintain momentum, the IMF predicts that the Sub-Saharan outlook remains challenging. Growth is projected to rise in 2017 and 2018, but will barely return to positive territory in per capita terms for the region as a whole — and would remain negative for about a third of the countries in the region.

For a Ugandan this is felt in the popular statement that “the economy is tight- all businesses are struggling” also experienced from the multiple shifts like key brands shutting down their doors and leading business figures in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The World Bank has a more diplomatic definition of the situation noting that Growth declined by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016/17, and overall growth for the year is expected to be lower than the originally projected growth rate of 5.8 percent. The decline also contrasts the positive growth rate of 0.6 percent recorded in the previous quarter, indicating a reversal of the recovery that had begun to become apparent after the completion of the election cycle in February 2016.

What does all this mean to you or your organization? What does this mean to you as an entrepreneur? Are you aware of the forces shaping the future of your industry or it is still business as usual? Are you sticking to the same principles that delivered in the past, Or do you think you are doing better by intensifying your old approach because it served you really well — in the past.

To me this reality hit me through a couple of examples that got me to question my own methods, and the how I need to question them more often.

  • I received a call from my excited banker who wanted to deliver the news that I now qualify for a wider loan range and he was at hand to help me ease through the process. Coincidentally, this was happening when I was riding in the personal car of a CEO of another competitor bank who was keen to learn more about our work at The Innovation Village. This was at his own invitation, an opportunity my own relationship manager had turned down given I already fit in a pre-defined segment. The next day we opened 3 bank accounts with the competing bank and are considering much more than that.
  • I have humorously watched another bank roll out Financial solutions for the youth based on their own understanding of what the youth need. This included the packaging and choice of brand ambassador they thought would appeal to the youth. I keep asking myself, how easy could it have been if they simply worked with the youth to cocreate the said solution in a faster, cheaper, more efficient process that would have created ownership and been more inclusive. What if the solutions was delivered in a message saying “You spoke, we have listened, here is a product that meets you at your level of expectation — here is what you designed!”
  • Our ISP is always quick to call to remind us of the coming month bill. This is happening at the same time while a competing company is offering 5x the speed for free with a view of stepping into a relationship that could open up value for both our clients. The relationship involves disruptive initiatives we would have well delivered a year earlier with our current provider who slum the door to any further conversation beyond the monthly invoice.

The digital reality. today makes it easy to make connections to the market and your segments in a way of remaining relevant and a step ahead of their needs. New realities have been created all of which did not exist in the last 5 years. Imagine how the next 5 years could become and what your position will be in shaping them. Are you on the playing field or in the stands?

The revolution may not be televised but it will certainly be coming to a phone near you with 70% phones in Africa likely to be connected. This comes with so many advantages only equal to how you are exploiting them to remain relevant.

What are you ignoring that is making the existence of your business irrelevant?

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