Charmaine Takudzwa Chikakayi
Five innovative enterprises last week collaborated to host a business leadership summit in Harare, providing local entrepreneurs with a dynamic platform to strategize and stimulate business growth.
Arfluent Media, Intelligent Business Consultancy, Fast Track Media, Security Partners, and Dreams Factory united to host the summit at a local hotel which ran under the theme “Sustainable Service Delivery and Brand Excellence”.
The event spotlighted speakers who are founders and directors of respected organisations in the business sector, addressing crucial issues they believe warrant attention for businesses to thrive.
The presentations underscored the importance of compliance with business rules and regulations, fostering innovation, managing client relationships effectively, and practicing sound corporate etiquette, among other key areas.
“Failure to comply with the required procedures and regulations has catastrophic consequences on the business,” said Security Partners managing director Millias Zinyambi.
“For instance, internally, if an employer does not follow correct procedures when hiring employees, it fosters nepotism which compromises the quality of the end result. Externally, if the business does not adhere to its mandates as per the state authorities, it is prone to face the wrath of the law and this has consequences such as attracting hefty penalties which are unhealthy for the business,” added Zinyambi.
In Zimbabwe, several businesses struggle to comply with prevailing rules and regulations, often due to a lack of understanding. The complex and often opaque nature of the regulatory environment also contributes to lack of compliance.
The non-compliance not only hampers their growth but also puts them at risk of penalties and sanctions, potentially threatening their long-term viability.
A pressing concern that surfaced at the summit was the imperative for businesses to prioritise the welfare of both their internal teams and external clientele.
This comes at a time many employees are ensnared in a vicious cycle of paltry wages and demanding work environments.
Concurrently, numerous reputable corporations stand accused of delivering subpar service, often side-lining the very stakeholders who were instrumental in their ascent to prominence.
“As an employer, you must take care of your team as they are your most valuable assets,” said Dreams Factory business strategist and consultant Evance Masau.
“Handle complaints swiftly as it shows your respect to the customer; have an ultimate knowledge of your products or services; be innovative and strive to stay a step ahead of the market and gratify the customer. Though not always right, a customer is a king.”
Additionally, innovation in business was also discussed.
Intelligent Business Consultancy chief executive officer Gladys Mutsopotsi Shumbambiri underscored the importance of innovation for business survival.
Presenting on, “Entrepreneurship Spirit for Sustainability”, Shumbambiri said, “entrepreneurship spirit for sustainability involves a mindset ready to innovate, conform, learn and improve on areas that you’re not doing well as a business person, failure to do so will lead to your extinction.”
Nichola Carr, founder of Fast Track Media, said organisations should have high standards of business and corporate etiquette as it contributes to the growth and development of the brand.
Liane Lombard, a property negotiator, encourages the audience to allow themselves time to rejuvenate, reenergise and give themselves a pat on the back when they do well, as she believes that it is equally important and has an impact on one’s development.
Blessing Mbawa, business developer for Afrluent Media and coordinator of the event, highlighted the need for creativity and authenticity.
She encouraged entrepreneurs to be original and innovative.
“Innovation is not a choice but a culture we need to embrace as organisations as the world is constantly changing,” she said.
While Zimbabwean businesses are increasingly acknowledging the power of innovation, progress has been rather sluggish.
The slow adoption and limited use of advanced data analytics to drive decision-making is a key example.
Founder of Bella Margaret Jewellers, Anogonashe Joy Dhururu said the summit has led her to gain valuable insight and avenues for business to flourish and survive.
“Most of the steps I have taken to legalise the brand and grow the business, was a self-taught process. I would watch YouTube videos, read articles and attend business seminars, like this particular summit, which was eye opening and providing with an opportunity to network and develop one’s business to the next stage,” she said.