By Ephraim Njega,
The need that gave birth to BL
We are living in the age of knowledge. In this period, information is power. Businesses and individual rely heavily on information for decision making. The more and the better the information you have, the likelier you are to arrive at a quality decision that keeps you ahead of the competition. In business, you are only as good as your last decision. Making wrong decisions takes you off tangent as far as your targets are concerned. In the end, you find yourself lost and if not careful you can easily close shop.
A business which serves no need will soon not be needed. BL was born to fulfil businesses’ information needs. Since its inception, it has been 15 years of providing quality information to the business community.
I was among the first group of columnists for the publication. I contributed content during its first ten years. Over those years, I wrote over one hundred articles dealing with topical issues of the day and also technical issues in the area of marketing which is my specialisation.
It wouldn’t be self-inflation to say that I have been part of this beautiful journey of nourishing business minds. I have watched the magazine grow from a little known publication into a most sought after source of business news, information and analysis.
A leader must be a reader
Today’s world of business is dynamic. While opportunities abound, the competition is tough and relentless. Only the best get ahead of the rest and stand out. What distinguishes the losers from the winners is the extent to which they are willing to make evidence based decisions. These are the only decisions which can withstand the test of time and deliver the much desired results.
To make such decisions, the leader must be a voracious reader. He or she must set aside time to immerse themselves in the world of knowledge. Only then can they develop the intellectual agility and clarity necessary to propel their organisation forward.
Over the years, BL has stood out as a critical resource in this regard. Month after month, it continues to churn out premium content. Such content is factual, objective and full of actionable market intelligence.
Business leaders are busy people. They may not have all the time to read as widely as they would like to. That is where BL comes in. To provide concise and precise content which packs a punch in terms of quality. To reward the reader with a high idea density which enriches their grasp of the business world. Such ideas have the transformative power to move a business from good to great.
Refreshing content for an easy contest
Today’s business world operates within the context of a digital and knowledge economy. The contest for the top spot is tough. One needs to learn from the best. Over the years, BL has provided a peer learning mechanism by featuring businesses that are a shining spotlight in their industry. In so doing, it has demonstrated to the upcoming businesses that great strides can be made. It has further illuminated the path through which such success could be achieved.
The “Standing Out” column gives start-ups a head start. It has made them burn with desire to also stand out in future. Entrepreneurs are always said to have fire in their bellies. Yet this fire must be ignited and kept burning. Ambition is not enough to translate passion into action. One needs the power of example to provide that constant assurance that their ideas which might initially sound out of line are indeed practical and achievable.
Many business leaders aren’t graduates from business schools. Every day they interact with all manner of business professionals. BL provides content on various technical issues in an easily digestible manner. Such topics range from finance to marketing, law, human resource management as well as information communication technology (ICT) among others.
Such content allows entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage in meaningful conversations with professionals. It empowers them to contribute to discourses whose content would otherwise be intimidating. While the business leaders may not understand every professional aspect of the business, they need an above average knowledge of the language which drives business. BL thus equips the leader with the knowledge to not only lead effectively, but also demonstrate competence in doing so.
Confidence is key in leadership. It happens that the less you know the less confident you feel. This carries with it the risk of making bad decisions. It also makes one an easy target for fraudsters. Conmen prey on the ignorant. Without the requisite knowledge on business issues, it means you have to over depend on others. When you do so, you always run the danger of being taken advantage of.
Reminding entrepreneurs to remember themselves
Entrepreneurs are always seeking to solve society’s problems. This means making a lot of sacrifices. It can also lead to self-neglect. Many entrepreneurs work overtime in pursuit of their dreams. While doing so, they often overlook issues which would otherwise accelerate their success. BL provides content which enables entrepreneurs to engage in some form of self-care.
That is why BL’s content includes topics on personal finance focusing on issues to do with saving, insurance, retirement and investing among others. This reminds entrepreneurs that there is life after business. One must always prepare for a time when they will not be actively engaged in business. This requires putting aside money in income bearing assets. The passive income accruing from such smoothens the path towards financial security.
Without such safeguards, many run the risk of retiring into poverty despite having heavily contributed to society’s progress. BL has always sought to inculcate the culture of risk management in all business undertakings. This must also translate into all personal finance dealings.
When entrepreneurs remember themselves, they protect themselves from the perils associated with business collapse. If the business goes under the entrepreneurs shouldn’t go down with it. They should have buffers to cushion themselves and provide the strength to rise up and start all over again.
BL has achieved tremendous success over the years. As it moves into its late teen years it must continue to reinvent itself. The business world is always changing and one must adapt and evolve to meet the emerging needs of the market. In the business of providing knowledge, tectonic shifts are already being felt. Hard copies that once ruled the landscape are giving way and ushering in the digital world with its endless possibilities.
BL will embrace this world and accelerate digitisation of its content. The market yearns for dynamic content. This is exactly what the digital world promises. It provides interactive content that is always current. The young generation has a short attention span. They need not only informative but also interesting and exciting content.
This content must be extremely up to date since the fear of missing out is real. By the time the news is aired on TV, it is already history. By the time the news is printed, it is already archive material. The challenge therefore is to adopt digitisation and deliver content that matches the fast paced world we are living in.
This the challenge BL will and must adopt with gusto and unbridled passion. It is the only way to stay relevant and in business. The corporate graveyard is littered with businesses which resisted change. This is the pitfall that BL must avoid in the coming years.
The writer is a business and development consultant. He is also an experienced business and economic analyst. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Nairobi.