I have had requests not only from alumni relations and other subscribers to answers questions from the webinar, but also questions in general. I am going to answer a few questions a week that I got from the webinar, but if you have other specific questions, please feel free to email me.
Question: “My question would be in regards to business in Africa and how business owners can improve financial management and trust when engaging in collaboration with western companies.”
As an African, I think I am well qualified to answer this. Firstly, let me clarify my understanding of the question and if I have it wrong, please email me so that I can have another shot at this. I see it as how you can improve your own company’s financial management and then improve the mutual trust between your African company and Western companies.
4 steps to improve financial management
- Don’t abdicate financial management: Most people dislike financial management and when they find someone to take over the role, and small businesses usually choose the cheapest person they can get, they completely remove themselves from the financial management role. Because in their minds someone is handling it. Let someone else do the work, but you have to make the decisions. Know what is going on in your finances every day. A leaking bank account is what sinks your ship.
- Align it with your goals: If you don’t like financial management, align it more with what you want to accomplish in life/business. See financial management as a way to measure your success on reaching your goal. I have made financial management part of my daily 1 to 2 hour personal development time. If you cannot measure it, you cannot know if you are about to reach your goals. Anyway, reaching your goal and not having money for a bottle of Moët to celebrate due to poor financial management is rather a bummer.
- Pay peanuts and you get monkeys: Get advice, but be prepared to pay for it. An old and wise man once said that if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. I have seen this with clients who always try to get advice and people at the cheapest price. They limit themselves and they usually have a high staff turnover too. Get good financial management advice and mentorship.
- Get processes: Once you have done steps 1 to 3, you should have some form of process. Only then do you automate it. Too many people think the solutions lies in automation. Automation will just accelerate your mistakes and faults, making it more and more difficult. Systems makes financial management more efficient.
Improving trust across borders
Communicate, communicate and communicate.
- Don’t think you will conclude a deal on the first few meetings. Think of it from a dating perspective, how much will you commit on the first, second or third “date”?
- Listen. Listen to what they say. When someone listens to you and hears what you are saying, you will trust them more. Also, it benefits you because you will understand the other better and know exactly what their needs are and this will probably open some other opportunities along the way.
- Negotiations are not about having a position, it is about having option. Watch this amazing lecture about negotiation. Really good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCmvMDrCWjs
I hope I have answered your question. If you have questions or other viewpoints I can add to this, please email me.
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If do startup coaching and mentoring to clients internationally via Skype. If you think you need such a service from me then contact me so that we can have a free 30 minute session.