Business Development

Successful Businesses: A proper mix of Specializations

By Gibson Maunganidze

This week we will look at the concept of running a successful business enterprise and the need for a proper skills mix. We normally think that a successful business is a result of getting one aspect right. This presentation will outline why it is important to have a proper mix of skills in an organization.

We know a lot of successful businesses locally, regionally, and globally. We have Econet in Zimbabwe, MTN headquartered in South Africa, and Microsoft in the USA. These are examples of successful businesses. There is a common thread in all these companies. We want to focus on that common thread. All successful businesses have a blend of expertise in its structures. There is no skill that is considered more important than others. Every skill helps in the achievement of the organizations overall goal. There should, therefore, not be an all-rounder in all successful organizations. Although special skills are important, it is the organization’s ability to recruit the best skills in relevant departments that eventually determines success or failure. 

Marketing Skills

Marketing is one discipline that every entrepreneur cannot afford to overlook. All businesses serve customer needs. A proper understanding of the customer needs serves a business in designing products and services that meet the customer expectations while aiding the company to meet its own organizational goals. This discipline has made and destroyed companies. There are some entrepreneurs who believe that expert knowledge in one given field will guarantee them success without due regard for the need to have expert knowledge about marketing for example.

Finance Skills

There is no business without finance. So, finance is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship. However, it is not a rule of thumb that every entrepreneur needs to be a guru in finance. Every organization’s activity, though, has financial implications. This means that there is a need to have the skills set in the accounting cycle, from source documents, ledgers, preparation of financial statements, to closing the books. These skills can only be availed by adequately trained professionals. Any successful business needs the right finance skills if all accounting activities are to be compliant. Issues to do with tax and auditing are normally dealt with easily in organizations that have the expertise in finance. Making assumptions that this role can be executed easily by anyone in the organization is a fallacy and no serious company can afford this practice.

People Management (Human Resources) Skills

A lot of entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas fail to reach their goals because of the poor skills mix in their companies. Recruitment in organizations should be a function of several variables. The company’s recruitment policy should be clear. It should not leave room for underhand recruitment practices that jeopardize the achievement of the organization’s goals. People should be appointed on the basis of skills and competencies and not on the basis of one’s access to the appointing authority. This is why a number of companies fail to reach their full potential. Some even collapse as a result. So, in general, a company needs not only clear human resources policies but implementation of clear human resources policies.

IT Management Skills

Business in the 21st century cannot be compared with business in the 20th century. A lot has happened over the past 50 years, and the IT revolution has been at the centre of it all. Whereas businesses depended, for success, on manual delivery of goods and services, these days information technology is at the cornerstone for every serious and successful business. Businesses from Wireless companies, like Econet, IT companies like Microsoft, Motor Vehicle Manufacturers like BMW, and Airlines like British Airways all depend on expert IT skills bases for successful delivery of services to customers across the globe.

Management Skills

There is an argument about whether leaders and / or managers are born or are taught. This article will avoid this debate for now, suffice to say that management skills are critical for the success of any business. There are competencies that every manager should have if his / her business is to make it in the corporate world. A senior executive in any business should have strategic management skills that are unique and specific to the business’ overall mission. Not all managers are able to make a clear distinction between operational management issues and strategic management issues. So, companies should have the right management skills at every level of the management hierarchy if they are to entertain dreams of achieving success in business.

When we look at the issues of management skills, we cannot ignore the importance of administration skills in business. Competent administrators always ensure the smooth flow of overall organizational systems and processes. The administration department normally ensures that files (manual or electronic) are kept safe and can be accessed as and when needed without challenges.

Technical Skills

It is very important to always ensure that we have the technical skills needed in our chosen line of business. If our core business in construction, we need to have construction engineers at the heart of our business. If our core business is fixing motor vehicles, then we need a pool of mechanical engineers if the market is to rank the business highly.

Conclusion

As the above scenarios have sought to highlight, every successful business is a proper blend of various skills for the achievement of a company’s overall goal – PROFITABILITY. Some of the goals in a few instances are not only profitability. Some companies aim for a dominant market share position, for example. In the final analysis, the only way a company can meet its mission and vision is to have a specified skills base. The list of the skills bases outlined above is not exhaustive.

About the Contributor:

Gibson Maunganidze is a South African Based Zimbabwean Businessman. He can be contacted on email [email protected]

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende