Surviving and thriving in Zimbabwe isn’t impossible. Challenging – yes. Impossible – No. It does however call for ideas and strategies beyond the scope of most academic and business textbooks. You’ll need “extraordinary measures in extraordinary times” – just ask Governor, Gideon Gono. It’s in his new book.
An example of extraordinary measures is the Zimbabwean Business plan. If done well, it will include a number of considerations that you wont find in any generic business plan template. Whether for investors, partners or yourself, answers to these questions could make or break your Zim biz.
Every Zimbabwean business plan should consider:
1) If you can’t charge in a stable currency, how do you intend to maintain the value of your money? (barter trades, a quick cash to asset conversion, stocks and shares etc)
2) If your business is not a cash cow, for example high priced goods, how will you meet the daily cash requirements for your business? (Can you change the shape and form in which your payments are made? How creative can you be with suppliers and payment schedules? What fast moving related (or not) products can you sell to keep cash flowing? etc)
Another example of this is the obvious need to setup multiple bank accounts. If you have 10 employees, each should have a bank account with 5 banks. Same goes for the Directors and the business itself. Also, develop a ‘Withdrawal strategy. How can you get employees paid without the downtime?
3) Territorial defense against imports. Remember what happened to Delta? They lost mega market share because they weren’t ready for the competition from imported brands. Are you? If your competition from SA (and beyond) come round, can you survive? What’s your game plan? Don’t procrastinate on your strategy.
4) Shorten Your Time Frames. What would conventionally be considered medium term planning overseas, would Long term here. The environment is a little more volatile, and dynamics change a lot faster. Your plan needs to be more fluid or flexible. Surviving and succeeding today is more of a factor here than it is in most places. Take this into consideration.
5) Recruitment and replace plan. We have one of the fastest employee turnover rates in the world. Acknowledge this and plan for it. How can you keep employees longer? If you lose one do you have a plan for quick replacement? Flexi-packages and employee policies could prove useful. .
Is this list complete? No, it’s just to stimulate your thinking. It’s meant to empower and inspire you to be practical and unconventional. Zim biz can work, just not in the same way as elsewhere. For Zim business, throw away the Cambridge text book!
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