3 Ways Entrepreneurs can take Sri Lanka to the Next Level

Nothing pisses me off more, than seeing an entrepreneur complain about his / her country. Lamenting about how the conditions are not perfect for business, or there’s too much competition, unfavorable taxes or lack of talent.

First up, entrepreneurs don’t complain about problems, we seek resolutions.

No doubt, that our country does not necessarily have the best conditions to operate within. But, part of the entrepreneurial game is understanding and accepting that this is the ‘field’ you are going to be playing within. As entrepreneurs, we have the ability to directly and positively impact towards building a better Sri Lanka.

Here’s 3 ways how we could do that:

Engage and empower people.

People = Customers + Employees. Begin by creating exceptional value and experiences to customers. Go beyond just selling a product and getting money out of the customer’s hand. Treat each occasion you get to serve a customer as an opportunity to create lasting experiences. Spend more time getting to know them. Understand pain points or how you can better deliver your services.

On the other hand, as an entrepreneur it is your duty to educate, empower, engage, guide, motivate, train, mentor, support and lead your employees. Be it from the CEO to the cleaner, everyone within the organization is your responsibility. Focus on building strong organizational cultures that support employee satisfaction. Take a random subjective ‘happiness’ count — check how many people are actually happy working with you!

While the above two points may seem very generic out of a b-school textbook, I still find many Sri Lankan businesses who need to work on the above! Example — Hasn’t it ever fascinated you why many retail outlets remain closed on Sundays? The fact that the entrepreneurs ‘need’ to take a day off is more important than serving a customer, proves the need for change.

Work with the government. (Yes, you read that right!)

Enough complaining about the government and its policies. In the future, we need to look at working WITH the government. There are two ways to achieve this:

  1. Facilitating favorable policy decision making — In essence, assist in developing policies that will favor all businesses (not just some) and the nation as a whole.
  2. Tapping into valuable resources and networks that they could offer.

While we do see some of this happening within the export trade, we need to drive initiatives that will boost and favor local trade as well. Most of us don’t even want to approach government institutions, let alone work with them! Let’s positively think through how we can engage such institutions.

Support Causes.

Your organization has valuable skills and competencies. As an entrepreneur, I firmly believe that we need to support causes in Sri Lanka that can benefit through these skills and competencies. Go beyond just basic CSR (or PR stunts) donating sums of cash. Rather, build focus and develop long term plans with social objectives and goals, quantifying levels of effort. No doubt, a dedicated 6-month program targeting one social initiative can bring in significant value to the nation!

Finally, I would like to remind you that as an entrepreneur, you’re an ‘agent’ of change. And entrepreneurs don’t waste all energy fighting the ‘old’, but rather they create the ‘new’.