The Sunday Mail
Dr Kudzanai Vere
WE have witnessed a number of businesses winding up operations in Zimbabwe and the trend cuts across most African countries. From the studies I have conducted and some practical observation through extensive business and entrepreneurship consultancy work I have done, I believe a major deficiency in strategy, structures, systems and style is the major cause of the collapse.
Every strong structure needs a firm foundation, and the same goes with business.
I have heard of builders talking about setting up as a second part of the building process, obviously after the plan has been drawn and resources gathered. In a similar sense, you need to set up your business on a strong understanding of how things will unfold.
This is informed by some deeper analysis of the environment, key players and the particular problem you seek to solve in that market.
In order to start, support, sustain and succeed in your business venture, you need 4Ss — Strategy, Structure, Systems and Style — as the foundation to everything you will do.
This is your game plan. How are you going about to win in that market? In most cases, we are so lazy that we just want to do exactly as what others are doing in the same market.
This means it will be difficult for us to register significant progress in every other area that has been already stepped on.
A business strategy refers to the decisions taken and actions undertaken by a business to achieve its long-term vision. An understanding of what a strategy is and how to implement it can help businesses become market leaders in their own spaces. Precisely, a business strategy is one of the pillars of every enterprise. Any deficiencies could mean the business goals get lost midway.
You can come up with a strategy but the most important part of this whole thing is strategy deployment and the issue of strategy positioning, which can be a topic for discussion later.
Under normal circumstances, the structure follows the strategy. You cannot have it the other way round, as it will fail to stand due to the absence of the base. The strategy is foundational in any business. Even for anything that you want to successfully do, strategise first.
An organisational structure is a system that outlines how certain activities are directed and done in order to achieve organisational goals.
These activities can include rules, roles and responsibilities. Every company needs an organisational structure, whether large or small.
An organisational structure speaks to how the company delegates roles, responsibilities, job functions, accountability and decision-making authority.
The organisational structure often shows the “chain of command” and how information moves within the company. Having an organisational structure that aligns with your company’s goals and objectives is crucial.
Employees want to understand their job responsibilities, whom they report to, what decisions they can and should make and how they interact with other people and teams within the company.
An organisational structure creates this framework. Organisational structures can be centralised or decentralised, hierarchical or circular, flat or vertical.
A business system is a documented procedure that outlines how to do something in your organisation to achieve your business goals.
Think of it as standard operating procedures you give your employees as checklists so they can implement it, even without training.
Some define a system as a procedure, process, method or course of action designed to achieve a specific result.
Its component parts and interrelated steps work together for the good of the whole.
Creating effective business systems is the only way to attain results that are consistent, measurable and, ultimately, benefit customers.
Systems and processes are the essential building blocks of your company. Every facet of your business — the store, the workshop or the office — is part of a system that can be managed or improved on by applying correct principles.
Style simply means how it is done, created, performed and presented. Every organisation has its own style or way of doing things that gives it unique identity in the market. In most cases, the style patterns your procedures, systems, processes and strategy.
A business without the foundational pillars is almost en route to winding up. Sustainable businesses rest upon their strategy, structure, systems and style.
Let us continue to engage, inspire and transform generations.
Dr Kudzanai Vere is the CEO of Kudfort Zimbabwe, programmes director at the Institute of Entrepreneurs Zimbabwe, a published author of four books and a transformational speaker in entrepreneurship and business, organisation development, leadership development, personal development and financial literacy. He can be contacted on +263719592232 or [email protected]