• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Have you analysed your business?

Have you analysed your business?

Last week, I wrote on starting with why in everything you do, be it private or business affairs. Today, I am focusing on business owners and leaders leading organisations whose survival has an impact on others beyond the owners. In my team’s annual retreat engagements with our diverse clients, we charge employees to think and act like their employers’ business owners to maximise their contributions and impacts. In the process, an owner-thinking employee builds a personal brand that transcends employers.

As a business leader or owner, have you analysed your business in recent times? It is not uncommon for big enterprises to carry out strategic analysis and planning at this time in preparation for the immediate and distant future. That is not common for the owners of medium scale enterprises who would instead use their gumptions to decide what would be for the business in the coming year.

Business analysis is a massive area of a domain in the developed world. It is an industry and career space worth millions of dollars in value stream and contribution. The benefits of business analysis are beyond scoping the environment, competition analysis, and driving efficiency, which is pivotal to any business venture’s continued sustainability. In my programme on building a sustainable business, I use a live example of Mama Ajayi. She, as an illiterate, does a form of business analysis to sustain her trade.

Mama Ajayi was an older woman selling roasted maize along Oke-Ira road in Ogba area of Lagos. She had been selling at the same spot for over fifteen years, which elicits my curiosity to engage with her ten years ago. I bought some corn and pears from mama. I used the opportunity to interview her on how she had sustained her business year-in and year-out for a long period. My curiosity unveiled deep secrets to understanding business streams of income and seasonality. She told me how the profit from her business had been used to build her six-room bungalow from which she takes rent from four rooms, how the trade had produced four university graduates and many more about sustaining the business finance and administration. Would you call mama Ajayi who had produced four graduates, an illiterate?

It is an effort in futility to aim at improving and sustaining your business without the loyalty and support of people who are the drivers of the business strategy

The magical lesson from Madam Ajayi is her understanding of the business’s seasonal variation and demand pattern. She told me how she does shift her product offerings from corn to roasted plantain, yam and fruits depending on the seasonal availability of products. The main aim of her diversification is to retain her customers irrespective of their preference and make profits from the change in harvest and weather conditions.

I don’t know where mama is anymore, but the lessons from her business analysis and insight are evergreen. When last have you analysed your business?

Business analysis is a skill, and most consultants have it in one form or another. The problem is accepting the analysis skill and resources to business owners in Africa. Many business owners have not connected the sustainability of their businesses to analysis and support from consultants and business analysts.

Read also: ANALYSIS: Business owners recount tales one year after COVID-19

At Mentoras Leadership Limited, we use a range of skill-sets and tools to analyse businesses from people, processes, and technology perspectives. I have led teams that use POLDAT, MOST, KANO analysis, Six Thinking Hats, and others to improve our clients’ business performance in Senegal, Nigeria and United Kingdom.

While every aspect of a business is essential, the need to start the business analysis from the people’s level of connection and engagement with the company cannot be over-emphasised. In my career as an employee, I was in a training programme when one of the participants made a profound statement. He said, ‘this organisation is wasting its time. Look, we are about sixty at this training, and I can count ten who are about to resign, twenty who are willing to leave and are actively searching for offers. Almost everyone is not thinking about their future with the company.’

My former colleague’s statement attests that the company in question has more of a team of actively disengaged staff than engaged staff. That experience shaped my decision to lead a team that starts every analysis and transformation engagement for our clients with the engagement level of the staff. No matter how strong the products or services and the brand are, the culture of any organisation will determine the success of any strategy. Thus, culture eats strategy for lunch or dinner if employee engagement is at a distance.

As a business analyst and leadership coach with outstanding track records of supporting business and people to be at their best, it is an effort in futility to aim at improving and sustaining your business without the loyalty and support of people who are the drivers of the business strategy. My statement is without remorse except for companies without a mission to exist in perpetuity.

Therefore, there is one thing to do to get all you want for your business (growth, market share and profitability etc.), just as is in the Holy Book-seek first, the kingdom of God and all the other benefits shall be yours. The one thing to focus on before and after business analysis or the annual retreat is your people. Your people are the owners of your business sustainability. They will deliver beyond expectations if you dare to make them engaged with the business emotionally and intuitively.