FOUNDATION FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
Background of the study
The concept of sustainability cut across discipline, it is a concept that one cannot fully grasp without exploring the definition of various disciplines
The term ‘sustainability’ is being used more and more frequently, especially in the business community. The whole concept started as environmental issues had since been hijacked by business community.
Morrison says that “It’s a competitive race to be more sustainable than your peer groups and it’s absolutely vital that businesses keep reinventing their sustainability strategy and challenging themselves to do more.
The life is a survival and life is doing all it could to make sure you never survive. The bible actually talked that the world suffereth violence and only violence will take it by force.
SUSTAINABILITY CONTEXT – WHAT IS IT?
Sustainability context, then, consists of norms, structures, standards or thresholds for what an organization’s impacts on vital resources in the world would have to be, or not be, in order to be sustainable. It is determined by defining levels of such resources required to ensure stakeholder well-being; what their current status is; and the extent to which an organization is responsible for preserving, producing and/or maintaining them.
SUSTAINABILITY AND THE BUSINESS CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
According to Justin K. Lacey (Guest Blogger), he described it as the triple bottom line; people, planet and profit. He said other school of thought with business mindset, have described it as equilibrium amongst economy, efficiency and equity. To the independent generalists, they described as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising those of the future generations.” [WCED, 1987]
The more robust definition is that business sustainability represents resiliency over time – businesses that can survive shocks of both government policies ad economics problems that comes up once a while in the life of any Nation
A sustainable business stands an excellent chance of being more successful tomorrow than it is today, and remaining successful, not just for months or even years, but for decades or generations.
WHY DO BUSINESS FAIL IN NIGERIA AND OTHER DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Businesses like Pizza, Coca-Cola, Ford and Mercedez-Benz started as small businesses but have been in existence for ages and have continued to grow. But why is it that most businesses in Nigeria don’t go beyond the first generation?
- Lack of necessary pre-requisites such as capital and finance- there is no financial encouragement
- High Cost of Operation: Due to dearth of infrastructural facilities like good road, constant electricity, portable water among others.
- Lack of Appropriate planning: – he who fail to plan, plan to fail.
- Improper Long-term objectives, Credit and capital indebtedness because most businessmen do not consult professionals when approaching banks for loans; so they end up using short term source of fund with crazy interest rates to execute long term projects.
- Lack of data and statistics, because of this dearth of data, business owners are left at the mercies of just intuiting and guessing even in their forecast and planning.
- Lack of adequate technical knowhow which leads to poor administrative and managerial control in managing resource and the business at large.
- Lack of research on targeted audience and markets.
- Bad government policies with harsh and anti- investment tax regimes which mop out all the effort of investors to thrive in their chosen business.
- Multiple Taxation: How can One business pay the following Levies, Duties and Taxes;
Environmental Sanitation Levy, Personal Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Union Levy, Local Government Tax, Signboard Levy, NAFDAC Levy (if you are in the food and drugs/chemical business) e.t.c. One business can be paying as much as 10 different fees to 10 different government and Union bodies; how then do we expect them to thrive..
- Nigerians and Selfishness, they want quick returns and lack the intuitions to see far ahead into the future.
- Inadequate marketing and advertisement pull.
- Unemployability of graduates employees and inadequate manpower, materials and labour resources. Most graduates do not have what it takes to be employed, our educational system is design in such a way that it is irrelevant to the problem the economy is facing in the real world.
- Follow-Follow : Because Peter made it selling recharge cards, is no guarantee that Paul will also make it selling the same commodity. Do not get into a business solely because another man is doing same.
ESSENTIALS OF MARKETING & BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY
Marketing OR SALES is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of influencing buyers’ behavior and/or precipitate behavioral change. To make your product
desirable to a supposedly clients that need not our products.
- THE “YOU” CONCEPT
The “YOU” theory is the great concept in creating Sustainable life for your products or services
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PRODUCTS
The goal of every business owners is to market their products and services effectively and efficiently by finding the right prospects and building long term relationship with them. In other words you want to create clients, people who value the advice you provide and the products you sell. The basic tools to build a very basic marketing strategy, which answers the questions:
- What am I marketing?
- To whom will I market?
- How will I market to them?
- How effective am I?
- NATURE OF BUSINESS
There is a difference between selling products and selling service The way you sell products is different from the way you sell services. Selling services is more difficult than selling products, because is physical they can feel it and see what you are selling.
- THE DOS AND THE DONTS OF BUSINESS – Client focused selling
The goal of this is to build a long term, mutually beneficial relationship – selling philosophy(“right ways”) Main focus is on cultivating a long term mutually beneficial relationship with a client.
There are 5 aspects of the client focused selling philosophy towards a SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS GROWTH:
- Client versus customer
The primary objective here is to build clients not create customers. A customer merely buys your product; while the former buys ‘’YOU’’ which can translate into repeat businesses and referral, hence the target should be clients.
- Client-focused versus Self focused
We see more; of the “RIGHT” people; so as to earning the right to be referred by them. It begins with focus. Who is the center of the relationship? Successful marketers have always put the needs of clients and prospects ahead of their own. Prioritizing the clients’ needs ahead of the marketer’s interest is of importance under this concept.
- Relational versus transactional
The focus here is building trust with your clients. The pressure to make a transaction or earn a higher commission can make a marketer think about the immediate sale rather than a client’s long term worth. As a result the agent makes a mistake of choosing the short term sale instead of maintaining the long term relation with the client.
- Values versus needs
In addition to understanding client’s needs, it’s also important to understand their values. A client’s values have everything to do with the actions he or she will take after you review their financial situation. Clients should be educated to understand the value of a particular solution. Failure to do this can cause a client to walk away.
- Partner versus opponent
By working within the framework of the prospects or clients values, you become a partner with them, not an opponent. A successful marketer takes a collaborative form rather than a combative approach towards their dealings with clients. Marketers should be seen as partners rather than opponents of the clients.
- PRINCIPLE OF GROWING CLIENTELE USING CONCEPT OF MARKETING DYNAMICS
The 1st step is to break you marketing strategies into segments-either inform of Biz Size, Age, distributions, Geographical delineation, Traditional Approach & Contemporary or Industry Approach
MARKETING DYNAMICS – NEED 24 POSSIBLE PROSPECTS TO WIN 1 BUSINESS
24 12 8 4 1
- PRINCIPLE OF OBJECTIONS
There would always be an issue of objections in your business and your understanding and your handling of it will determine whether you will be able to survive it as a business
The unfortunate thing about marketing is that people must have objections. You will find that they will usually fall into one of the four categories, which we called the “NOs” principle.
- No hurry
- No money
- No need
- No trust
The perception of confidence will have as much of an impact as how you address their resistance. Here are the generic steps.
- Acknowledge their concern. Let them know that it is okay for them to feel that way.
- Address the concern. Clarify with a question if needed.
- Ask a question to make sure you have resolved the concern. You need to know this before you can request an appointment again.
- Reposition your request for the appointment.
- PRINCIPLE OF CALLING
The need to Attack call reluctance
The goal – do not try to sell over the phone other than your sincerity and getting appointment.
Strategy – planning as follows
- Telephone script
- Writing script
Greetings – make a good first impression.
Creating interest – tell why you are calling.
Ask for appointment – here is the whole reason you are calling.
Closing – use this to reconfirm the appointment and affirm your desire to meet the prospect.
- PRINCIPLE OF IMAGING
Your company is under threat of sustainability when you have a negative image profiling
- Attitude – be cheerful, smile, dress well, stay low key, relaxed, don’t press hard, stay healthy, breathe from your stomach, relax, use courtesy, listen
- Voice – Shows how people depend on how they see you than what you say or even how you say it. Your voice becomes what they see. So it’s important to; Speak in your natural tone.
- Speak clearly.
- Keep a good posture.
- Listen to what others give back as signs.
- Speak distinctively.
- PRICINPLE OF DUES AND RAIN
The two (2) are very important for sustainability in business. Dues alone is not enough, neither is rain alone enough. The two must come in relative measurement. The dues sustain you until the rain comes, but can barely survive a business for a long time, so we need a rain ones-a-while. So also if a business is awaiting only the rain, God help them if they would be available to survive the raining season, and that is why they need dues to sustain before the big one comes
- PRINCIPLES BUFFERING
The company that barely survive because dues from their customers is not there yet in the area of sustainability, a company must grow buffer stock in financing and resources that they can still survive even when the customers have not paid them their debts.
- PRINCIPLE OF INTENSITY AND PERSISTENCY
In the psychology of marketing for sustainable business it is important to learn the principle of intensity and persistency – Intensity and Persistency
- PRINCIPLE OF WIN – WIN
Marketing should be A Win-Win situation. Not Lose-Win or Win – Lose
Also interesting, but unfortunately, we also have such issues in Nigeria where successful businesses die after the death of their key promoters. One key issue we are having both in Nigeria and in many other developing countries in Africa, is the issue of succession planning; a lot of people are not in-tuned to that!.
Once a business is doing well, you need to begin to look at the business after you; but most people do not do so!
Most entrepreneurs are territorial and do not want to release any equity or lose control of a business. Ideally, when a business is growing, the entrepreneur needs to be able to look at succession planning have you ever wondered why we still have Pizza, Mercedez, Coca Cola and others today?
That is the only way you can have businesses that would last for generations! To do that effectively, you must be able to delegate, get the right people and put structures in place that would enable the business run successfully even when you’re not there.
Businesses have to device a means of staying alive even into the future, hence the need to develop, upgrade and update yourself manpower resources, financial resources and your business etc in such a way that it can stand the test of time; that is making all spheres of it relevant, durable, sustainable and lasting even into the farthest future.