Companies talk about market ‘share’ or being a market ‘leader’, and as we know, a leadership role is rarely a stagnant position. Being a leader is also defined differently – for some it is about having the largest stake, highest profit-margins, most assets, or simply highest customer retention and client segments. For others,it is about the long-term growth trajectory, sustained and shifted over time and isn’t a short-term sprint to the next opportunity.
For your company to be a leading firm, you need to understand your strengths and be honest on your capacity to adapt / shift to the market priorities. In today’s economy, priorities are on impact and purpose, which are seamlessly interwoven with high investment returns. It’s okay if you don’t know how to do it – it’s new for many firms.
Emerging markets are the hot topic, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa. The question is why is this an interest for Forbes100 companies and for FinTech investors in these complex markets?
Honest evaluation:Is it to fit the demand from their clients for sustainable products and contribute to global prosperity; or is it to achieve a greater market share and be the first-mover in a specific African country?First,we, as individuals and companies, should be honest with our goals and why we change our business models. That is how you start to make money, sustainably.
Your skills in comparison to others:Comparative advantage is not only about strength, it’s about agility in the market. The question is, how will companies adapt to the new target of sustainability? The impact-driven ecosystem is still being defined and at infancy on a corporate level, despite the concept having around for decades.
A small side note on the history of sustainability. The concept of sustainable development(which includes prosperity)evolved overtime and isn’ta new economic thought.It started before the 19thcentury and is rooted in our human nature to help. The theories further evolved with religion or spiritual writings, such as Buddhism, and was formalised in the mid-1900s, when the United Nations was officially created.
Therefore, corporate sustainability isn’t a newly invented business term. It is the fruit of decades of commitments, debates,and leaders coming together with the common goal of tackling pressing humanitarian, social and economic issues. Overall, people coming together to contribute to global prosperity.
Let’s stop – pause – and think, how we can both grow and contribute to prosperity.
What am I good at as a company? How will I addvalue and increase the ROI (return on investment) for my investors with sustainable products? What is my market strategy to enter in Nigeria or emerging markets? How agile are my people and management to adapt in to this new context?
It is not a new era, such as the digital era, where companies ‘would like to’ incorporate a social strategy to their business model. It is an overall shift in how markets and governments are interlinked, tied with a common thread of sustainable growth – that is rooted in our values as human-beings to do better in this world.
“Making your business model sustainable is now the big topic – and finding a way to do it meaningfully, without impacting your bottom-line is the struggle the market is seeing.”
Trust your investment:Economic prosperity can be achieved once we understand our individual values and communicate them – as discussed in the previous column of GrowthView “Economic benefit of collaboration – A value not shared in the game of monopoly”.
The foundation of investments is trust.
The same applies when we elect someone into office, there is an intrinsic value of trust. Do you trust your representative to engage on your behalf? Are your values aligned to the values of your government? Without trust, we cannot achieve either growth or prosperity.
Shareholders are shifting their investments in stock markets, away from equity investments and increasingly turning them towards sustainable and impactful investments. So, for them to trust your company, be consistent.
“Our choices and decisions as individuals, aligned with our values will drive tangible change in our economies – both in Nigeria and internationally.”
Choose clear Impact & Profit goals:Health, educationand women economic empowerment contribute to both prosperity and growth. These sectors are measurable and tangible. As individuals, let’s communicate these priorities to help donors, corporates and governments turn their investment priorities to these growth sectors. Be consistent and take a long-term view.
“What” to fund and “where”, are the big questions posed by c-levels, as they see the equity market dipping and UHNW (ultra-high net worth) investors asking for their money to achieve a social and economic impact.
In sum, prosperity and growth go hand in hand,as long as we communicate and take our time in building-out sustainable investments. It is for companies to identify the high-return sectors, that will benefit from the local skills,viable demand and comparative advantage globally.
- Evaluate your company honestly
- Identify your unique skills
- Build trust with Investors
- Be consistent
- Sustainable investments take time