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Let’s build our businesses, the economy, and the future we all so badly desire

Article written by Harry Welby-Cooke (ActionCOACH)

In 2024, there will be 64 elections taking place across the globe. In South Africa, we will have ours on 29 May and, as per usual, businesses start freezing fiscal, operational and marketing decisions as the politicians start their campaign lobbying.

This is a situation that, in the South Africa of today, should not be our norm. The decade of State Capture followed by the upheaval of COVID-19, increased blackouts, the continued collapse of state-owned entities and infrastructure, the grey listing of South Africa and more have shown us that this election is unlikely to make significant changes to the situation that businesses are in.

South African business has survived both local and global economic upheavals. Often with difficulty, but always with resilience. In the next few months, an ever-increasing multitude of politicians and parties – some new, some revamped, rehashed and resuscitated – will make all sorts of promises they cannot keep and which we as a country cannot afford. And as business leaders, waiting for those promises to be made is not a viable business strategy.

Blackouts are not going to stop shortly. The financial legislation that businesses currently must adhere to as a result of grey listing is not going to fall away in a few months. The budget speech is not going to suddenly find billions in investment lying around which will be allocated to businesses. And even if all the corruption in South Africa stopped today, we still wouldn’t have a balanced budget.

So, here’s the reality no one wants to hear about, let alone accept. No one is coming to create a better tomorrow for business any time soon. No one will be paying any more money into the bank account tomorrow, either. We, as South African businesspeople, need to create our own tomorrow within the challenges and opportunities we currently find ourselves in.

Wait and see is not a strategy. It’s a highly stressful, demotivating and unproductive mindset that can place businesses in very compromised positions.

So, what can we do?

  1. Focus on a vision you desire for yourself, your loved ones and your business. Get crystal clear about it and cast it in stone in your mind, on paper, in conversation and anywhere else you can find meaningful space. If you have personal goals, it’s easier to generate business goals that support realising those. Switch the mindset around.
  2. Put together a business plan that supports that future. Perhaps not realising it all at once but in a staggered, realistically stretched and disciplined way.
  3. Learn the skills, like yesterday, to bridge any current gaps you have in executing your budget and future vision. This includes the ability to adapt as the environment requires and to incorporate smart working processes into your current business practices. Use technology wisely.
  4. Put your learnings into a plan that keeps you focused and ensures you have a base, a strong foundation, to come back to and reference when the world, our politicians, the media, your friends and even family try their hardest to get you distracted from your vision.
  5. Take hands with like-minded people in both a professional and social setting, and work together, after clearly highlighting your plan and reasons for it, to achieve that desired future. Collaboration provides opportunities.
  6. Take a hard look in the mirror often, dig deep, breathe and refocus.
  7. Get to work. Stay the course. Fall. Get up. Get to work. Stay the course.

Let the politicians – past, current and future – fight among themselves; and while they’re doing so, we must build our businesses, the economy, and the future we all so badly desire.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this.

Most of the world loves South Africa. Many want what we have and can’t wait to live here – some already do.

Fall back in love with this amazing country. Fall back in love with your business. Fall back in love with a life you desire and the journey it requires to get there.

ActionCOACH is a proud National Partner of the NSBC

About the Author

Harry Welby-Cooke is an entrepreneur, professional speaker and a leading business and executive coach. He is the Southern African, joint Master Licensee of ActionCOACH.

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