Turn your business into a “technology company” (Part 3)

Turn your business into a “technology company” (Part 3)

__Harness the future!

The other day I was watching a program about a young Chinese entrepreneur who created a restaurant that has no waiters. Everyone orders food using an “App” and simply arrives, collects and sits down to eat!

Ten years ago, I remember visiting a farmer’s market in rural Kenya where they exchanged prices on their cell phones, from village to village, to ensure that middlemen don’t cheat them. It has since developed into a highly sophisticated commodity exchange system. This is technology.

In the past few weeks, some of you have shared exciting ways you already use technology in your own businesses. Others of you are just beginning to launch your ideas. You are harnessing the future!

__Whatever line of work you’re in, you must master technology. It must be your silent partner!

Many of you have asked advice about how to get started. Why not use the internet to do research and bring yourself up to speed with best business practices and technology innovations around the world?

Whatever you do, don’t think you can be blissfully ignorant, or worse… resistant to the changes happening because of technology.

When I was getting started in business, it wasn’t possible to go to my phone or the “world wide web” to search for information about nearly everything. Today, almost all of you can do this. The world can be at your fingertips!

__ If you’re really serious about learning online, consider looking for a “MOOC,” which means a Massive Online Open Course. At www.mooc-list.com, you can find technology education and training courses (and a wide range of other subjects) taught by top universities and colleges around the world. Many are free of charge.

Coursera.org is one MOOC with courses on all topics under the sun, including “How to create a website in a weekend” and “Web design for everybody.” You alone must decide what you need to make your business more successful and profitable using technology, but below are a few websites that offer IT courses that may be of interest:

www.udacity.com/courses
www.teamtreehouse.com
www.codeacademy.com
www.code.org
www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming

__Remember: information is power! But one word of warning: While the internet has some amazing research information, be sure your sources are trusted and credible. Some of what you read could be worthless and even destructive.

When I’m done with this series, I want you to be conscious of the impact of technology on the business you’re in now, and imagine its role in the future… not in a negative sense, but in a positive way. You’re not going to get away from the impact of technology. You must either learn to harness its huge potential and use it to your advantage, or it will destroy you.

Looking at your own businesses today, you should already be working on these five questions:

# How can technology help me design, produce, market and/or deliver first-class goods and services to my customers?
# How can technology make my business more productive and efficient?
# How can technology make my business bigger?
# How can technology make my business more profitable?
# How can technology help me leapfrog my competitors?

That should be enough homework for this week!

To be continued. . .

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

26 Replies to “Turn your business into a “technology company” (Part 3)”

  1. Afterthought 1.
    You may want to learn more about technologies coming down the pipeline, some which will replace old ones very soon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies If you’re an entrepreneur, do your best to keep abreast of such developments. Perhaps your own “technology company” can provide some of the specialised goods or services needed as these exciting inventions arrive onto the scene in your country. The “future” is not far away! It pays to plan ahead.

    1. sir, I have an idea that actually I used to see it as more than me,untill I started reading your post on facebook.With that idea I see village markets on the internet and so much more, sir,i hunger to actualize this inborn idea and dream, but I need advice on how to go about it and again support. thank you.

  2. Yesterday I had a discussion with an ICT intern and I shared a lot of what you have been teaching us sir. He expressed his interest on CISCO but the challenge is that he does’t have finances to pursue the course, I advised him to register for an online course, now this morning I will have a discussion on this post.
    God bless you sir.

  3. sir, I have an idea that actually I used to see it as more than me,untill I started reading your post on facebook.With that idea I see village markets on the internet and so much more, sir,i hunger to actualize this inborn idea and dream, but I need advice on how to go about it and again support. thank you.

  4. Thank you Sir,I am a carpenter and upholsterer,now Im working on creating web pages so as to market my capabilities and the bbest i can offer to people

  5. Afterthought 2.
    Michael Joseph, the South African CEO of Safaricom at the time it successfully launched the most famous innovation to come from Africa (Mobile Money–M-PESA in Kenya. Our own brand is known as EcoCash); once told me this:
    “At the beginning of each year, I told my staff, I want you each to bring me at least 4 innovations for our business this year.”
    You know this is very profound. No matter what you are involved in, whether it is a business, or NGO, or even government, if you cannot introduce at least 4 innovations that leverage technology, each year, you are not going to be effective or competitive.
    Whenever I’m listening to anyone who works for us, I am always listening to hear how well they embrace innovation and technology, and it has nothing to do with being a technology company—it is business!

  6. Afterthought 3.
    For those of you who love soccer; technology is the “creative midfielder” of the team. It is the “playmaker” in any successful business.
    Spare no effort to invest in technology. Use it in every aspect of your business. Even if you are selling tomatoes on the street corner; think about what technology can do for you, even if it is just the use of your phone.
    If you have a store or supermarket, make sure you have a website, and post things that are in your shop. Open your business to a wider market, than your street. The whole country is your market.

  7. Afterthought 4.
    The comments on this technology series are just amazing. I really urge you all to take time and read what your colleagues have been writing. I’m just awed by it, and it has taught me so much. Thank you all for sharing. Keep it coming. I really want to hear how you are using technology in your business.
    Remember also my challenge, I want everyone on this platform who is an entrepreneur (including social), to have a strong Internet presence:
    ‪#‎You‬ must have a website. I’m going to be writing about this separately in future, when I talk about how you make your business global.
    # you must use Social Media platforms, and there is more to it than FaceBook. Learn to use them all—for business, and not just greeting friends or following celebrities and politicians—use it to make Money, because they are powerful business tools. If you don’t know how to do it, read what your colleagues are doing on this very platform.

  8. Frankline writes:

    Today I proved your words to be true and certain.
    I went to a supermarket and took photos of two jackets each costing Kshs 3500. I posted the photos in my fb page having price tagged them Kshs4500. You know what? Withing 2hrs I had Kshs 2000 in my pocket having bought them from the supermarket and delivered them to my fb friends. Surely my phone is asset because tommorow I wont be idle.
    Thank you!

    My reply: first of all let me commend Frankline for being such an astute entrepreneur. But what Frankline also exposes is that the Supermarket could so easily be generating a lot of money for themselves by simply being pro-active. There is no reason why that Supermarket should not be posting on FB, or on other Internet platforms to market their business, and also increase sales and margins.
    Let us start a crusade aimed at getting as many people as possible to set up a website, FB page etc.,

  9. Afterthought 1.
    You may want to learn more about technologies coming down the pipeline, some which will replace old ones very soon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies If you’re an entrepreneur, do your best to keep abreast of such developments. Perhaps your own “technology company” can provide some of the specialized goods or services needed as these exciting inventions arrive onto the scene in your country. The “future” is not far away! It pays to plan ahead.

  10. I have only you to talk to about mobile money and banking since it is you who inspired me to come over with initiatives to your foundation. It is quite unfortunate that all ignore me yet they continue to do things in ways that can be challenged by other entities they advantage by turning a blind eye to me when there important things that I had for the project.

  11. Interesting read for sure.

    I wanted to get in contact with you to chat about you possibly speaking at my companies conferences. These are events for senior executives of the global telecoms industry. As a fellow Zimbabwean would love to hear you speak at one of the events and hear your thoughts on the ever changing industry. I hope to hear your thoughts and maybe share more details with you on the events and the company.

  12. Thank you Sir for powerful motivational words.Am young Zimbabwean trying to proceed further in this business and entrepreneurship career but so far my internet presence daily which shall make me a holder of Master in Administration International recognised certificate ,is being ruined by poor internet access due to self financial backup .Please help me Sir

  13. Thank you Sir for your motivational powerful words to those who are business minded as me.Please Sir can you help me to attain Master in Business Administration International recognised Certificate which i was offered on http://www.unicaf.org through financial backup to pay my Econet Gprs plan till i attain it .As a promise is credit Sir i promise to pay back through an medium scale business plan which requires only exporting licence .Please help me Sir.

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