Who are you catering to?

I enjoy developing businesses. I enjoy developing businesses and looking at different angles on how to approach a business or influence a team to reach an objective, or to alter a behaviour. One of the worst things a person can do is denial, or believe that there is an excuse to mess up. I have news, that is no news at all. Everyone has problems in business, and everyone faces daily challenges, and most probably everyone thinks they are unique withe their problem. They are not. A problem has always been simple. It is a combination of constants and variables. It boils down to having the right people to find the right solutions. You see a company is not made of cash and assets.  A company is made of people. Investors bet on people. A great idea is worth nothing without the right people behind it.

I am helping a friend build his business. We worked on getting a deal in logistics from Kuwait to Safwan, Iraq. He specialises in low cost logistics throughout the GCC. He owns a fleet of 40 units, and a workshop. His work scope is logistics and maintenance, and project development. He is down to earth and has a winning spirit with the drivers and labours in the business. So we get a project, where the first delivery in on a Tuesday and we get notified on a Sunday. I ask him to visit the facility, and get things in order. On Monday I reiterate the importance of being there, and to get things in order, and walk through the operational process. Long story short, the transporter misses his window on Tuesday, and on Wednesday misses new requirements and specifications from the company. He is lucky to get a third chance if any.

I have discussed with him the situation and his downfalls. In the beginning he came with all kinds of excuses on why the delivery did not go through, and what other transporter problems have been with the company in the past. I explained, neither myself nor the company cares for any of the excuses. Then i asked the question: “Since you messed up twice, did you go and apologise, and obtain the details they need directly from them?” Unfortunately the answer came back negative.

You see my friend missed business common sense. Who are you catering to? The company as a whole, that is true, but most of all, your are catering to peoples ego, prestige and politics. A good businessman realises that they all play a part in developing the company, and will make decisions from the small clerk, the accountant and the security guy towards your benefit or against you. Building the business is about winning the deal, keeping the business is about catering to the individuals that work for the company, and with you.

Foreign leash

Kuwait Times headline read today: “New investment law aims to attract more FDI to Kuwait” it also states that the 2013 law that regulates investments is in full effect. Wikipedia states, that A Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a controlling ownership in a business enterprise in one country by an entity based in another country ( FDI).
In my opinion this is a necessary evil. It is necessary because we need to upgrade the level of workmanship, and work efficiency and ethics. Evil due to the fact, that the training and positions they provide is not “real” but a matter of fulfilling a quota. In that regards, a Kuwait engineer may have a job, may end up traveling for training, or may be a field agent. But will he ever be a regional director working within the GCC or MENA region? Are they specific on what it would take to be that person?

Local companies have the funds to build and operate, and invent if need be. So the question that comes to mind is, why don’t they? Another question is, what is available for FDI except oil related businesses? We know they will not be able to set up manufacturing plants, because we have no industrial lands available.

I would like to link this subject to yesterdays post. The middle east is rich with manpower, land and funds. Where it lacks in caliber they can import the brains, efficiency and ethics from Germany, France, Japan, China, and USA in the form of professors, educators, and businessmen. Start inventing and building within the local market for today and tomorrows problems. You knew since the 1920’s about the potential of oil and gas, after 100 years, why would you still need a foreign company to build the process for you? Invest today, to release yourself from foreign leash tomorrow!