For the 12th time in 12 years, Ladies Affairs Initiative Business/Career Forum brought together business people from across the globe; this time via zoom and Facebook to interrogate issues pertaining to best business practices.
The 12th edition of the programme was indeed a unique experience. It was the first time the programme would be held online. It used to hold at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja Lagos. But the covid-19 pandemic which has restricted movement and large gatherings perhaps necessitated the zoom cum Facebook platform for the 2021 edition.
Captain George Ayokunle Santos, an accomplished business consultant with a first degree in Mechanical Engineering and also a drone pilot was on hand to do justice to the theme of the event titled, The Future of Business.
Captain Ayokunle did not disappoint as he took participants through some business practices that could help enhance their business engagements.
He began by acquainting participants with the different stages of business starting from the conception of an idea which leads to planning, then the strategy and then success management. He said however that these stages are not immune to some changing variables.
“Life happens. We may have all the beautiful plans, but anything could happen to disrupt our plans. For instance, nobody knew covid-19 will happen. So, we must prepare for some unplanned events. We need to find what remains constant. What is constant is God and human beings,” he said.
Because life happens, Ayokunle posits that people who do business must constantly prepare to make changes. “We don’t have direct control over the things that change. But we are the ones who are involved in all the stages. So, we are the one to change and move with the time”
He reasoned that success is not a goal but part of a process suggesting that we need to look at the big picture in our business endeavours.
“Let’s think outside the box. Things tend to start well. But if we don’t manage them properly, we end up living in a desert,” he said.
Quoting from the Bible, he stated that it is the little things we don’t pay attention to that messes up our businesses.
“In every organisation we always have to give room for change. We don’t have to wait for something to break before we change it. Everybody knows Coca-cola. But they continue to advertise because they have to maintain that level of business competitiveness,” he said.
He also noted that “Perfection is stagnation. No matter what we do as we strive for perfection, we have to keep raising the bar otherwise we will stagnate and drop. We need to think outside the box,” he insists; while also suggesting ways business owners can garner ideas.
He counselled them to listen to the news to get ideas. “Many Christians don’t do that because they feel what is being said in the news is all bad news. But the truth is that news gives you an idea of what is going on. It gives you an idea of the challenges people are facing. Read current articles and pay attention to appropriate development on social media.
“We should use social media to our advantage to get the feel of the people to educate ourselves on what the needs of the people are. Books are equally good. But we must note that books are written based on the information available to the author at the time. So, books written years ago may not be accurate now. When you go through books look out for principles. The meat of what you read in the book may help.” He said.
He urged participants to also avoid copycat ideas. “Don’t copy other people’s ideas,” he said.
Still quoting from the Bible, he said, “if we want to get insight on what God can give, we need to go to Him. He will guide us and tell us the way we should go. If we don’t avoid the copycat idea, we will be following the person in front. Every business is different. Every type of event planning for event planners is also different. You should not desire what others have done. We must ensure what we do is in line with what has been revealed to us by God.”
He impressed on participants to fashion their plans to include the way people think and what they want. “It is not how you think that matters it is how your audience or client thinks. Wait and watch them over a period of time and see what comes naturally to them. Then you can plan following what they want.”
He explains further that the business owner must also understand human behaviour and incorporate all elements that would enable the business to grow into his business.
On success, Ayokunle posits, “Success is good but business owners have to understand that it is dangerous if it is not handled well.”
“You need wisdom and discernment to navigate this terrain. When you want to manage the effect of success you need to go back to God and ask for the next line of action. Without God’s wisdom and discernment, we may go down,” he quipped.
He counselled further, “Look at the bigger picture. Beware of slow death. When we get to perfection, we must realise it is a step to the next level. Think outside the box. Be bold with ideas that come to mind. Keep going back to God for direction. Avoid copycat ideas. I see copycat ideas as one of the biggest killers in developing businesses. God has given us different ideas. In the kingdom economy, we all have different roles. Always review your business plan, continue to review. A destination is different from a journey.” He concluded.
During the question-and-answer session anchored by Mrs Tolu Dawodu, Captain Ayokunle reiterated the need to avoid the copycat ideas no matter how tempting it is. “Doctors don’t give the same medication to patients even if their symptoms are the same. You can’t base your medication on another person’s disease. If you will not accept the doctor to give you the medication, he gave others, then you must avoid the copycat ideas.
He also explained that achievement is the least motivation for business. He gave the example of some businesses that took off and did well but failed to take advantage of the environment they find themselves and then crashed. “Slow death is failing to connect with the people that we serve,” he reasoned.
We want to empower women to do business
Earlier at the event, the convener, Dr. Mrs Sade Toyin Kehinde gave a rundown about the organisation and how it has over the years impacted many women in business.
She said there are plans to have an empowerment centre where less privileged women will be empowered to do business calling on well-intentioned individuals to come to the assistance of the organisation.
The programme also witnessed a spiritual impartation session during which the Senior Pastor of Agape Generation International Church, Rev Toyin Kehinde, prayed for participants asking God to grant them insight for business exploits.
By Gbenga Osinaike