BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

How to thrive in times of turmoil and disruption

The world without a doubt is slowly recovering from the disruptions caused by Covid-19. Nigeria is currently plagued with rising inflation [18.6% as of June 2022], rising food and commodity prices, and rising and unstable exchange rates amongst others. Businesses must adapt to the changing times and the volatility of the market, deal with uncertainty and figure out how
to convert that to opportunity.

Entrepreneurship at its core derives its power from taking advantage of an opportunity that other people have not seen or haven’t taken advantage of. If the opportunity was obvious or risk-free somebody else would have done it already. So that means that taking advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunity is inherently about taking advantage of and embracing uncertainty yourself. There are three categories of uncertainty; Things we know, uncertainty itself, and then we have unknown risks. How do we deal with these? First, we start with things we know. Facts, information that is already certain to us is arguably the point of lowest risk amongst the three categories; if we know our products are going to be accepted, or that we are going to get that bank loan, or that customers are going to buy our services, that’s the highest level of knowledge. Uncertainties are categories of events we are in, or we know we are going to encounter but have no idea how to deal with them. Unknown risks are things
that could happen out of nowhere such as market changes, new technologies, political turmoil etc.

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How do we deal with all these? First you need to plan. Planning is the foundation of executing strategy. Next you need to define your advantages and where they come from. An example of advantage an organization might have is scale, and due to this your costs are lower than anyone else. You may also have a differentiated product or service, or some rare capability like cost efficiency, safety, etc. You also must have control over six key dimensions of a company’s functioning, which are its purpose, culture, and strategy; leadership and talent; financing and investments; process and organizational dynamics; ecosystems and networks; and technology and data. These 6 dimensions are where it all ties together. You must therefore have a solid hold over them, ensuring you are proactively working them out and making them happen.

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