Tricks We Can All Learn From Kenyan Politicians on Business Strategy
Whether you love or hate politics, there is no denying that politicians influence our lives in a big way. While some are busy propagating hate speech, others are busy coordinating scandals and some are busy asking others to resign.
The world of politics is really like a market full of mad men but if you take time to think about it, you will notice that there are many helpful lessons we can borrow from the ever-fiery political class.
Here are 4 not-so-good lessons we all need to borrow from Kenya’s unique breed of lawmakers, and apply in our businesses and life.
1. Never Accept Defeat
Even when the winner wins with a landslide, the loser never accepts defeat. And even if he accepts defeat, he will complain that the election was either “rigged” or the votes were mysteriously “stolen”. Well, whether that’s democratic or not, that kind of resistance goes a long way in cementing the loser’s position as a worthy competitor in future polls.
Likewise, in business, you should never let your losses and failures overrun your conscience and beliefs. Always rise above your defeats…and fight back to regain your dominance. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, there is always a fighting chance in the future. Just NEVER concede defeat.
2. Never Let Your Enemy Work In Peace
In Kenyan politics you have to keep bashing your enemies. Your work, especially if you are in the opposition, is to destabilize the ruling party by consistently unearthing scandals and whining about every small mistake. If you are in the ruling party, your work is to discredit the opposition as much as possible and to weaken them whenever there’s a chance.
Well, am not telling you to bad-mouth your competition in business, what I am trying to say is that you should always be several steps ahead of them. Never let them dominate the market as you watch. Never let them diminish your influence as you watch.
Do everything it takes even if it means working late into the night, hiring the best talent or copyrighting your ideas to ward off copy-cats. Just NEVER give your enemy breathing space.
3. Never Let Go Of Your Grassroot Support
Every politician knows the therapeutic benefits of retreating to their tribal backyard to rekindle support prior to launching a successful political career. They have mastered this art so well that even when credible complaints are raised against them; their clans and tribesmen automatically feel “targeted” or at risk of losing collective political control.
Indeed politicians have cast a spell on their grassroot supporters and it is no wonder their supporters are always ready to risk it all to guarantee their political survival.
Things aren’t much different in the world of business either. Building a business without a strong customer base is similar to building a house on sand – it will be swept away when the Elnino strikes!
In order to create loyal support you need to invest in good networks. Take advantage of networking sessions, county expos and digital media to regularly strengthen your bonds. Most importantly never ever lose touch of your markets’ needs and expectations. Just NEVER lose touch of your grassroot support.
4. Never Keep Quiet
Our politicians are alive to the fact that there is always a general election coming every five years and so they don’t stop campaigning. They know that the moment they keep quiet the media will stop giving the coverage and they will gradually diminish from the limelight thus losing some political clout.
So they keep stirring controversies and making fiery utterances hoping to grab your attention and possibly get a hashtag trending on social media.
And just like our politicians need to cause a bit of noise to remind us of their existence, your business needs you to go out there and make some meaningful noise as well.
Don’t be ashamed to talk about your product whenever you come across a potential market or potential investors. Keep shouting even if no one seems to take you seriously.
Sometimes consistent noise is all it takes to land that bulk order, venture capital deal or viral attention. Just NEVER take a break from marketing – your lifeline is pegged to it.
While politics and entrepreneurship may superficially appear to be worlds apart, consider the fact that both require a decent investment in outreach strategies to shape sentiments and attract new followers.
So the big question here is: what is the political game plan of your business going forward?
Likewise, I am sure you have heard of the old quote that goes “Mix women with business and you will see dust”.
While that quote may sound sexist, it actually passes a very important message. If every time you secure a government tender you rush to get a second wife or the so-called “side dish”, then chances are that you will not go far as a businessman.
It all boils down to self-discipline and the ability to draw the line between the good and the bad. Just because personal freedom is a perk that comes with entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you have the right to over-indulge.
Moderation is key.