5 Things to Do in Q1, 2013.

2013 brings with it quite a number of new things – a tenuous political agreement in the USA, fuel price cuts in South Africa, a conservative N4.92 trillion national budget in Nigeria and the beginning of a new presidency in Ghana. Yet so many things, infrastructure, availability of funds, power, human capital gaps, etcetera, remain the same especially in the business arena leaving entrepreneurs with the same challenges as 2012. Despite the forgoing, we are optimistic that the performance of many small to medium scale enterprises in our region and beyond can change if they take the right steps. In this article we share with you five things you can do between January and March to secure success

JANUARY 2013 • Tsuwa Thompson

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In This Article

So what do I believe are the top five things to do in the first quarter of 2013 that may turn around and give businesses in our ‘neck of the woods’ an extra edge? When I talk about an extra edge, I mean tapping in on your people and system potentials to achieve your strategic goals, hit those financial numbers and strengthen your business’ foundation for a sustainable future.

Redefine your Value Proposition– It’s time to take a good look at what we say our businesses have to offer people. Are we actually and truly offering them real value? Are we offering them what they need and/or want? A saying goes like this, ‘I will make him an offer he can’t refuse’. We need to make offers that will add real value to the lives of people and help them excel in their businesses and only then will people stop rejecting us. You need to redefine your value proposition to make an impact – see Figure 1 below. It’s no longer about fancy slogans, it’s not about stories it’s about making an impact through value creation and addition that touches lives and businesses.

Figure 1: Steps to Redefining Your Business’ Value Proposition

Implementing a Transformational Marketing Idea – Creatively develop and implement that one marketing idea that will translate into real revenue that is replicable. ‘Real revenue’ talks about a continuous inflow of profitable sales and ‘replicable’ means that you have created a definite level of revenue stability and will not have to start from square one all over again in 2014. So what may your transformational idea be? Only you can figure it out but here are five ways you could follow to support your ‘killer’ idea.

  • Give your customers more value to get more value from them

  • Focus on innovation to stay ahead of your competition

  • Start to exploit the internet, mobile communications, and social media e.g. Facebook more effectively

  • Change your services based on your customers’ feedback

  • Develop a new marketing story and win more listeners

Enter a Fruitful Collaboration – In 2013 seek to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship, some form collaboration that will boost your own potential, help to ameliorate your weaknesses and take your business to the next level in its growth cycle. Whitney Johnson, a co-founder of Rose Park Advisors, Clayton Christensen's investment firm and a Harvard Business Review Blog contributor said, “when we're willing to do the work of finding collaborators with whom we can entrust both our expertise, and lack thereof, we can create something much grander than we could have on our own — the reward will be more than worth the risk”. Three things you should look out for as you step into new collaborations.

  • Strategic goal(s) – know ‘why’ you are entering into the relationship and ‘what’ you expect to see

  • Trust – focus on building trust with your fellow collaborator, get to know him/her in an atmosphere of openness and two way communication

  • Flexible structure – ensure there is a structure in place to support the collaboration but ensure it’s based on the relationship and fluid enough to deal with needed changes

Make Accountability a Target for your Team– Hold everyone in your team accountable for delivering what has been collectively promised, for delivering on the plans and the targets for 2013. A high level of accountability is required if we are to succeed. We must tie our accountability efforts into our business cultures and employee performance management by demanding adherence and rewarding the right type of behaviour. Above all things, your New Year’s resolution must be to ‘walk the talk’ and lead the way down the road of accountability. In 2013 we must say ‘enough is enough’ for we must understand that good isn’t best and sheer excellence doesn’t come from making excuses. Here are three things you could do to drive accountability in 2013.

  • Deliver a New Year’s message with accountability being the key message

  • Have all leaders develop and monitor accountability targets for themselves emphasising ‘walk the talk’ to them

  • Institute an awards system for accountability culture adherence

Persevere– If you have a solid value proposition backed up with a great marketing plan and you are collaborating with the right people and holding yourself, your team and collaborators accountable, the last thing to do is to persevere. Don’t give up and keep pushing at it. Let me share with you three relevant quotes.

  • “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat” F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” Winston Churchill
  • “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing” Henry Ford

This ‘to-do list’ isn’t complex neither is it too difficult to implement. It’s all about taking time to plan and taking the ‘planned’ steps required to succeed. It involves leading change in your business and that is creating positive transformation that will guarantee your success.

We wish you a prosperous 2013 and we are hopeful and praying that some of the ideas we have shared with you plus those you already have will do the trick in your business in 2013.


About the Author

Tsuwa Thompson is the Chief Executive Officer of RtHE Consult