Patience doesn’t pay. . . Is it commercial arrogance or plain ignorance?

16 May, 2018 - 00:05 0 Views

The Chronicle

Morris Mpala, MoB Capital Ltd
THEY have said patience is a virtue but they were wrong. The art of waiting is defined by the building blocks towards attaining what we self actualise and it doesn’t involve sleeping on duty as it were. Patience is timing than waiting. I have heard good things come to those that wait but my humble Hwange gut feeling strongly begs to differ.Business culture
This modern business culture is such that profits in a certain business are competed aggressively and unapologetically and any delay in implementing strategies, products/services dent the profit and loss account. In an era of technology, copying one’s business traits even intellectual property is at a lightning speed that you can’t stay relevant and be the only supplier (goods/services) for a longer time. And at times the changes on the market are such that what is cutting edge today can be obsolete the next day, thus, you never want to be caught napping as it were.

Market pioneers vs laggards
Attention span of the market is fickle and it is like a flash, not existing for a long span especially in the modern era. In pioneering the first adopters are giving business profits like never. Laggards on the market are just unreliable as competition will have kicked in and don’t give assured market unlike the first adopters of products/service. If you pioneer you are assured of major profits unless you can copy and surpass pioneers’ prowess on a product/service.

Adapt or die mantra
Those that don’t adapt become yester year stories and memories and lose relevance on the business arena. Change or die. It’s a hard knock life we are presently in. Whether it’s commercial arrogance or plain ignorance it will kill you. So adapting is mother of all necessities.

Early bird vs fat worm. These are wise words to virgin markets. You come onto the market first you will get business by virtue of your monopoly. Who doesn’t love the easy profits associated with monopolies and oligopolies? Remember the African saying “Late comers eat bones”?

Samsung vs Apple
This cutthroat business has seen aggressive, unethical manoeuvres in trying to protect their market through research and development. The competition of these two is about giving the latest market friendly gadgets/services to the market. The one who blinks will be considered irrelevant. Given this technology market is very lucrative at the moment these two will go at each for a while with each investing a lot in research in order to outcompete the other on latest gadgets that capture the markets imagination.

Nokia vs others
Nokia and Blackberry became dinosaurs after having dominated the phone business for a while. They remained in the Stone Age and were rendered irrelevant. They enjoyed the profits and relaxed patiently and overnight found they didn’t have the market. In the same vein we talk about the Kodak story.

They delayed implementing necessary changes and they lost the market. Back home PTC couldn’t move in quickly and they have been found wanting on the market despite enjoying yester-year monopoly.

You snooze you lose.

Merlin vs pampers
Obsolete machinery against cutting edge technology was the undoing here. While the market was loving the sexier pampers Merlin obsessed with napkins and it caused business headaches for the once dominate and market leader called Merlin. Catching up with the market trends became costly and at a slower pace thus viability challenges ensued and remedying is huge capital outlay.

ZUPCO vs kombis
There was once ZUPCO but we all know what happened when kombis where introduced. A once reliable and religiously frequented ZUPCO transport system was left to lick its wounds because it couldn’t adopt what the passengers were yearning for, small reliable, convenient and time conscious system, even though kombis were illegally operating in the first years.

Kombis vs Honda Fits
Let’s forgo the illegality of the latter and focus on the service being offered. The latter has managed to plug the gap that ordinarily the kombis plugged effectively by pushing ZUPCO out offering convenience. The smaller, quicker pirate taxis market being serviced by mushikashikas has competed for profits from registered owners. Competition has become stiff and survival strategies have to be adopted to counter the manoeuvres or risk death of kombis like ZUPCO. Remember the (in)famous Peugeot 404s?

Enter mobile money vs banking sector

Mobile money went into a bank dominated money transfer market and shook the market. Banks were caught napping and mobile money enjoyed huge turnovers until banks woke up from their slumber after realising their cheese was being enjoyed by an outsider.

Procrastination is a thief of time

So the old adage goes. The business arena is about change and change with relevancy as it strives for legacy and relevancy. It’s no longer about patience as the more patient you are the more you are likely to go into oblivion. Napoleon Hill had this to say “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right”. That is a strong statement of intent. Patience is a virtue is probably a social mantra because in business it has serious ramifications. Even spiritually the traditional churches lost congregations due to the breakaway of Pentecostal based spiritual fellowshipping? It’s adapt or die, it’s do or die. It’s you or your competition. Evolve, innovate or perish it’s no longer about competition but customer preferences that are so dynamic and demanding.


Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital Limited, a Bulawayo-headquartered micro-finance institution with footprint across the country.

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