Strategy A to Z: Customer, Competition and Compliance. Part 2 of 3.

The essentials of Strategy in Business, Employees and the Workplace.

Building off of the previous part on understanding the Customer, Competition is the best indicator of how robust an economy is. Not only is competition favourable to the customer’s needs and range of choice, but it encourages innovation. Within the context of Globalisation, higher standards have been created by multinationals, with foreign expertise, technical know-how and regional insight, local organisations are challenged to further expand their strategy and capacity. The benefits for citizen entrepreneurs has been enhanced, as the possibility of entering global markets is facilitated through policy making instruments (EU-SADC, USA-Botswana, SACU, BITC, CDE, etc.) and improving on the invaluable local knowledge and networks they possess. The current environment Botswana finds herself in is one that’s dependent on Mining exports, State initiatives and Skills. We excel in all, except for the skills, as evidenced in multiple reports such as the Global Competitiveness Report for 2013. In the current market, competition isn’t just evident for businesses, but for professionals as well. With students enrolled for courses that might not be in demand and the workplace being more challenging for graduates to enter – competition amongst applicants is fierce.

What would apply in terms of a business would also be the same for a professional. Taking a page from Porter’s competitive advantage strategy, one would either have to be low in cost (taking a lower salary that the other job applicants) or differentiate themselves from the rest. This is a modern truth for young people today. Where graduate or students looking for attachment carry the same burden for transport money, same two page CV with similar content and same worries about how they can gain the experience needed to compliment their education. In a favourable nation such as ours, citizens have been given the opportunity to grow themselves through financial support and this later transcended as a benefit to private institutions increasing their revenues. It might not be ideal for current students, but when compared to other states, it is unparalleled.

The increase in competition for professionals, which are ever growing by the year, results in the need for one to improve themselves. No longer is a diploma/degree enough for the employment market, just as a service/product is for private businesses. Value must be added to your profile as a company or as an employee, as this would determine the sustainability in what you can offer and how it can benefit your customers or employer. In retrospect, Apple would not be where it is today if it were not for the market domination of Microsoft, neither would Samsung be if it were not for Apple – or Choppies versus Sefalana. There is a need to consistently improve and if the demands of your customer aren’t as sophisticated or challenging, then surely your competitors shall be.
The next aspect I shall touch on with regards to Strategy is Compliance.

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