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The Youth, the Vibrant Energy of any Nation

Pix from DumaThis is a text of a speech delivered at the recently concluded Marketing Forum of the Dar es Salaam University Marketing Association on Saturday 17th March 2012.
It gives me great pleasure to speak at this great occasion-The gathering of great minds. Peter Drucker said ‘There are two main functions in any enterprise-Marketing and Innovation. The rest are cost’. I know, not too many of you appreciate this at this point in your education, I think he is spot on. I hope I can support my position as I speak today.
What is marketing? Simply put, it’s the act of identifying and meeting the needs of your customer at a profit. You know the need your customers have, you provide the solution at a cost they consider commensurate with the value they are getting and your business makes profit. The profit helps to keep the business alive and in good health. Who makes thing happen in the business? It’s the people that work there.
Jack Welch in his book ‘WINNING’ says he wants to win, but in a very clean way. He said that enterprise and the people that work in them are the engine of any economy. When we have good and competent people work in an enterprise, it will do well. The more profits they make the more taxes they pay to the government and the more resources that are available to the government to spend and support the populace.
So it starts with the people, who work in productive section, either working for self or working in an organization. We are very important in the economic value chain.
In every economy, the youths play a huge role. They are employed in the vibrant sectors, they are the ones looking for opportunities to release their creative juices. They want to try out things. Remember facebook, Youtube, Moxila etc these are very profitable organizations set up by young people in this generation. According to Mr. Welsh, these companies grow to become great brands because they have great people working for them. Who is a great brand? It is someone who life and existence has a meaning. After all, a brand is a meaning. It is what people say about you when you have left the room. It’s your positioning in the mind of your target audience. The more individuals that are properly positioned, the greater the number of enterprises that become great and it all impacts on the nation where you live and do business. To be great, you must be Authentic, Distinctive, Compelling and Excellent.
So, we have a huge role to play in positioning Tanzania to win in the global market.
But how can we achieve this? Who will give us the opportunity to even try to live our dreams… Yes, the challenges are there, the top is full of older people; we do not yet have the enabling environment for young people to express and live their dreams etc. I believe that the solution lies in these challenges. We can start from where we are now. Have you heard of the book ‘The Leader Without Title’? You can lead at any level, you don’t have to be at the top to lead.
My observation in Tanzania is quite interesting. When enterprises want someone who will deliver good results, they think outside Tanzania. Why is this so? I ask this because I have interacted with a number of young and talented Tanzanians and they are educated, competent and should drive any business profitably if given the opportunity. But this is not happening as much as it should. Why?
Secondly, almost every young man in paid employment has a little business on the side and it stays on forever. Why is this so? My simple answer is, they are not good at any. If the business on the side was doing well, they would have pulled out of their jobs to run it full time. And if they were good on the job, they would have engaged so well that there is no time to build the business on the side. …Tale of two lovers – you love one and hate the other.
SMEs are the growth base of any economy. The more profitable SMEs there are in a nation, the better positioned it is to win in the global market. Taiwan is one very good example.. The most successful developing country over the last 50 years, Taiwan, is built on a dynamic SME. For decades Japan was the most successful industrial country, also relying heavily on SMEs. The beautiful thing here is that Most of these SMEs are owned and run by young people
How successful have young people been in running SMEs and New Startups? I would say it’s been fair…. 30%. Why is this so? A good number of them start their own businesses for the wrong reasons. Some say, ‘I don’t want to work for anyone’; ‘I have a burning idea that will change the world’!! ‘I can do all things’..!!! You can have a great idea and not be ready to take it to market. This explains why young people oscillate between business and paid employment. I think it has to do with preparation. You need to be prepared to start your own business.. And I do not mean having financial resources. Finance is actually the least of the things you need to start your own business. You need to be prepared mentally and psychologically.
My personal point of view is that we need training to start and manage a business profitably. This training could come from experiences gathered over time working somewhere or simply watching a successful business man. You need to understand what drives value in the industry you want to play in. Yes, there is a need in the market and you possess the perfect solution. But you need to understand the market-the key players, the consumers, environmental and legal requirements etc. It is insights from your assessment of these stakeholders that will help you ascertain how ready you are. If there are already too many players delivering good value, why do you still want to go there? Yes you can still go there but work hard to find a point of difference. That is where your success lies.
How does this happen? Go through this simple process.
· Determine whether self-employment could be for you and how to turn that dream into reality- what we call taking personal inventory.
· You must have character, competence, vision and be able to build a lasting culture. That is what makes you a leader.
· You must be able to execute whatever assignments allocated to you.
· You must have the desire to learn continuously.
· You must be willing to be mentored by someone who has been in business ahead of you.
· You must be able to communicate well, articulate your thoughts and express them well.
· Finally, you will have to persevere if you want to succeed in business. That is so important because it takes a while for you to get into the flow of it.
Once, you have developed yourself, and then you can go to the next phase- Generate ideas, Assess your ideas, Plan and launch out. You will soon discover that it takes more to stay alive in business. You have to keep innovating. You need information to innovate and one sure of getting information is by asking questions.
Ask relevant Questions… keep asking but make it relevant..
• Why do people seek products or services like yours, and how do they find them?
• What problems do your clients need solved?
• What makes them decide to buy or not to buy?
• How much do they need what you’re offering? Is it a necessity? Is it a luxury? Or somewhere in between?
• Are they liable to shop around, or would they prefer to stick to one company?
• Are your potential clients looking for quality, or do they just want a good bargain?
• If you can answer these questions, you should be able to boil it all down into a simple message.
As a small business owner or self employed professional you may be fantastic at what you do, but if struggle to get clients, you won’t be in business for long. If marketing to get clients is too hard and feels like shooting in the dark, you’re going to avoid it. Not exactly the road to success.
So how can you PULL clients to you, so you don’t have to chase them down? How can you get clients who are ready to buy, to call YOU?
• A marketing strategy AND solid tactics. You need to create a plan of attack and then repeat that plan over and over again.
• Time Management. You must schedule business development in to your workday. If you don’t schedule time to market, you won’t find an opening in your schedule.
• Knowing Your Priorities. Your business needs to be in line with your priorities and values. Spend some time thinking about WHO you are and WHAT is important to you.
• A Solid Vision of Your Business. What does your business DO? Not what you do, but what does your business do for your clients?
Now the big question of staying in control. What do you need to stay in control? It’s important to create your marketing plan. If you don’t and keep doing what you are now, you’ll only succeed in getting the same results.
If you create a repeatable, effective marketing process and do it over and over again you will have great success in getting clients, building your business and making more income!
In conclusion:
· Tanzania has a huge youth population that can be leveraged to win in the global market
• We need structures that will help them develop into great personal brands who will either work in great corporate or run their own enterprises
• Marketing plays an incredible role in building the brand – personal, corporate or a nation.
• When marketing is done properly, the results are overwhelming and sustainable. And the nation benefits immensely from this.
Winning enterprise and the people who work there is the engine of a healthy economy, and in providing the revenues for government, they are the foundation of a free and democratic society
Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you.
Speech delivered by
Managing Partner @ Customer Passion Point Limited
Tel: +255773441964, +255786441964, +2348032002458
Ikechukwu.kalu@cppl.com.ng, ikechuk@gmail.com
Skype ID: ike.kalu1
www.cppl.com.ng

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