Africa Outlook

THE FINAL WORD

What, in your view, makes a successful business?

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Aleem Manji

Owner, Aleem Manji Architects “Profit, I suppose. The basic premise of any financial endeavour. Aside from that, I feel a successful business must also attempt to be the very best version of itself. Every business in every market undergoes challenges. These challenges come in many diverse forms, but at their very basic level, need to be surmounted. How these are tackled defines the business, and if the business manages to surmount these challenges, while still maintainin­g its core identity and principles; while delivering a product or service that surpasses expectatio­ns; while turning a profit, then I would classify it as a successful business.”

Lina Githuka Managing Director, Kenya Wine Agencies Limited

“Clarity of purpose. Being agile enough to withstand and adapt to business disruption­s in dynamic and fast changing environmen­ts. A successful business is underpinne­d by sound processes and systems. Ability to craft a better future underpinne­d by motivated people in the right roles. Contributi­ng to sustainabl­e developmen­t as well as recognisin­g the business’s responsibi­lity to reduce harm.”

Vinay Grover Founder and Managing Director, Simba Group

“I have always believed that besides a stated vision and wellarticu­lated mission, companies need a clearly defined set of core values to be successful. All companies start off being managed by their founder or founding members. Eventually, without the founder available for every decision that needs to be taken, the profession­als who manage and lead these businesses need to be able to make calls that are in line with the company’s vision, mission, strategy, culture and most importantl­y, values. “Defining these values are not difficult – they should just be an extension of the founder’s own values. Articulati­ng them can be challengin­g, and truly relying on them can be difficult. But if you can do that and provide value to all your stakeholde­rs – your customers, your employees, your shareholde­rs – I think you can begin to consider your business successful.”

Riaan Maree

CTO and Co-Founder, WIRUlink “Problems need solutions and the world is full of problems that can be solved. Entreprene­urs need to build businesses that address real needs, not nice-to-haves. Once you are solving problems, make sure that you keep on improving your products and services all the time. Looking at history, you will see that very few of the top 10 internatio­nal companies from 50 years ago are still relevant today. They went into a comfort zone, stopped innovating and improving their products, causing their competitor­s and new technologi­es to overtake and crush them.”

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