Enterprise

What Tutu taught us on importance of competition

tutu

Late South Africa's archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu. PHOTO | AFP

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Summary

  • We have a lot of entrepreneurial lessons to learn from this man who President Cyril Ramaphosa described as the spiritual father of liberated South Africa.
  • He was a master salesman who sold his faith and conviction in a manner that endeared him to all including those who sold different theology.

Desmond Tutu, the South African Anglican Archbishop who passed on last December was a great inspiration to many people and has left a legacy of precious gems of wisdom.

He was a master salesman who sold his faith and conviction in a manner that endeared him to all including those who sold different theology.

We have a lot of entrepreneurial lessons to learn from this man who President Cyril Ramaphosa described as the spiritual father of liberated South Africa.

In an interview, he once said that he is not threatened by the belief of others.

In one of his signature quotes, he said, “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realise our need of one another.”

To achieve optimal success in business we need to work with our competitors rather than see them as enemies who must be wiped out of the market place.

Working with competitors, supporting them when in need helps grow the industry. When the industry is strong you can negotiate even with government and other stakeholders for recognition, better policies and ways of increasing the market for the benefit of all members.

Competitors provide a competitive selling point if you have better or products. You are able to point out how your products are better compared to your competitors.

When you have many players in the industry, the cost of marketing is lowered contrary to what many people believe. This is because the presence brings customers together.

If you are setting up a shop as you benefit a lot by choosing a location that has similar players rather than isolating yourself for the sake of avoiding competition.

For instance, if I were to start a business selling baby products, I would choose Biashara Street in Nairobi where there are several shops selling the same products.

It is said that need is the mother of invention. Thus competition helps you to think and improve your business and yourself in order to stay on top of the game.

Business owners who don’t pay attention to competition soon get edged out of the market by the customers.

It is in your own good to stay up to date with your competition and give your customers the best value for their money. This gives you inspiration in the process.

In other words, the more competitors you have, the more creative and innovative you have to be, which is great for your business.

As an entrepreneur, it is always good and healthy to embrace competitors as partners in enriching the lives of customers. Understand that in most cases, the reason why you don’t sell as much as you would like is not because of your competitors.

It is in most cases to do with either the quality of your products or your marketing strategies. In both cases, you can learn a lot from your competitors.

Mr Kiunga, author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’