Friday, September 21, 2007

RTF: Poor Business Skills?

I am not abandoning this space. It is just that life happens and you have to be very wise in time allocation. This happens to be one of those weeks where the means through which I pay my bills – that is my job – took a sit on the front row. But I would not let this entire week pass by without sharing my thoughts.

Given this is Friday; I will allow my mind to flow freely. If I don’t get some facts straight or I become incoherent in my writing, just flow with me. But don’t assume I am intoxicated; I am just trying to be human.

Last week I happened to bump into a business proposal from Business in Development Network (BID)’s website. This site has tons of business proposals from various locations in the world, Tanzania included. One business proposal caught my attention – not for its brilliance, but its shortcoming. The following is just the executive summary:

__________________________________________
The Owners

The partnership on XXXX. Is made up with two partners, Whose details follow below:

a) Mrs. XXXX:
Aged 31 yrs and Educated up to college education. Attending Kenya Utalii College where I acquired the certificate in food production courser in which covered among them, The bakery and confectionery, hygienic and nutrition, Food processing and preservation, General Account and Management.


b) Mr. XXXX
Aged 37 years old, Educated up to University level majority in marketing and ntrepreneurship, He has attending several courses and Training in Hotel industry management conducted by Sheraton Dar es Salaam Hotel and Royal Palm Hotel. He has wide experience in running food and beverage services.
__________________________________________
I didn’t alter anything, except blot out the names.

Just imagine that you are commercial loans manager at a bank, where thousands of loan applications pass through your hands on a daily basis. Given that first impression has a lot of influence, would you even pay close attention to this business proposal?

I didn’t bring this out to condemn these innocent Tanzanians, but to challenge all of us to land a hand. I am sure that these good citizens were just doing what they know best. Nonetheless, it is not good enough to have a vision and a strategy, if you don’t have the tactical skills to carry out your vision.

From this very story, you realize that there are plenty of problems in Tanzania when it comes to business skills. The reality is that as the free market economy matures in Tanzania, the business environment, as we know it in Tanzania will change. Those inevitable changes will bring opportunities to those willing to change and acquire the appropriate business skills and attitude, while on the other killing those who want to conduct business in the old ways will find themselves kicked out to the curb.

One of the skills that Tanzanian businessmen and women need to acquire is the ability to present their business in the best way possible. Just look at the above business proposal. Do you honestly think that these innocent people were serious? If they were, why not give this business proposal to a trusted “consultant” to perform a review for grammatical accuracy; given the chosen language was English and the business proposal was intended for the whole world to see?
What I am saying is this: businesses do fail even in the United States of America. So knowing English is not the only factor in building a successful business. There are plenty of factors that have to interact, such as the business strategy, pricing, distribution, competition, etc. However, there is a universal business fact – businesses that succeed tend to do what they do well than the rest, unless such a business is monopoly.

Honestly, I wish I had the opportunity to help these fellas out before they posted their business proposal on the Internet. I wish I had access to plenty of young men and women in Tanzania who are aspiring to be business people so that I can share my thoughts and experiences with them. Obviously, they need more empowerment and more business skills than they currently have.

If you have an idea how I can be of help in the consultancy or mentoring capacity, please let me know. Certainly, if the cited business came from individuals fortunate enough to acquire some college education, what do you think of the rest of the innocent Tanzanians? Our help is certainly needed.

By the way, don’t forget to visit the JUMUWATA’s space to air your views on the constitution and other good stuff. You don’t know what JUMUWATA is all about yet? It is an organization bringing Tanzanian bloggers together.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Photo Credit: Mjengwa

4 comments:

Maricha said...

I look at Mr & Mrs xxxx differently, I see them as Honest people who are not proficient enough in English language. As far as I am concerned they would rather write the way they wrote their business proposal than writing in perfect English but with full of lies in it.

Nigerian scam artists writes very good proposals but if all that goodness is for scamming people what is all that good for??

You know sometimes what catches the minds and hearts of those who are willing to help somebody is not only how good the person is. sometimes how needy and trustworthy the borrower is. If I remember correctly, there was this British woman who heard South African kids play violin, the kids were playing so bad that they caught her attention. In the end she decided to help them play violin the right way, to date, those kids are pros in playing violin. see, if they were good they wouldn't have caught the attention of that woman and they wouldn't have gotten a chance to be taught by an accomplished professional violinist.

If I can respond to your question, I would say you have plenty of opportunities to help those people if that is what you want. 1) There's a section on BiD website that is asking for mentor "Coach a Plan" to join their network. You can use your very blog to tell you fellow Tanzanians that you are available to help those who needs help on writing business proposals, 3)If you s badly want to help them you can start a website dedicated to helping people how to startup a business and/or how to write business proposals. 4) Just like they way you dedicated Fridays for random thoughts you can also dedicate let say Wednesday for business pointers, primers or whatever you want to call it.

Mchangiaji said...

Metty and Co.

BONGOLAND 2 will be out soon,

Watch the trailer,

http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=eX2w8l37Cho

The thing which strike me most from the trailer, I felt like an arrow going through my heart, when a sound coming out of the background, saying tatizo letu sisi wabongo sio fedha, bali ni umaskini wa kifikra

By Mchangiaji.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Maricha,
I also referred to these folks as innocent. That is because I know the Tanzanian environment. Secondly, that's why I am calling for helping people like this. That is because they are for the most part victims of the environment.

Regarding your challenge to me, I have read the requirements set by the Bid Network to become a coach or mentor and they is a time limit set. That will not give me an opportunity to help on an on going basis.

With regards to my blog, I can write as much as I want, but honestly I wonder what percentage of the Tanzanian population read me. Regardless, I will try to find other ways to help. That is because, help is certainly needed.

@Mchangiaji
The line you quoted about the underlying issue resulting to most of Tanzania's issue couldn't more correct. As a matter of fact, I think it summarizes what the message of my blog.

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Kibira or whoever wrote the BONGOLAND script. Change in Tanzania will only occur when we decide to make a shift in our thinking. How easy is that? I don't know, but it doesn't have to be easy for us to embrace what is fundamentally necessary.

Maricha said...

Metty if you have Ideas just write them here regardless of how many people would be able to read your contributions today. Some of us are die hard funs of yours (or should I say your blog) even when we do not agree with some of your opinions, I mean as long as we keep coming here and read "stuff" we will eventually impart that "stuff" to the right people!

You know the power of Internet as much as I do, What you are writing today may well outlive you. so as the Internet use in Tanzania expands so will your article readers for your articles will be there indefinitely.

I also know for sure there some newspaper or books writers who might be doing research or may be they are regular visitors of yours that could stumble on your article and end up putting it in prints that most people have access of.

Hey, you still have an opportunity to make an impact just do your part your way bro.