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Beware Of Being Complacent

November 26, 2017

It’s hard to imagine that 1st November was just the other day and now today is 26th of November, 2017. What happened to this month? Feels like I fell asleep and woke up to find three weeks of the month gone. Anyone else feel the same?

Well, I guess that’s what happens when one is having (too much) fun. It’s been a fun month, a transforming month, a liberating month and a very productive month for me in more ways than one. I feel like I’m on turbo charge, and I love that because it makes it easy for me to get stuff done without having to push myself so much.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about today; that was just a by-the-way to jolt us all into realizing that we only have 36 more days before 2017 is a wrap. 36 days! Make those days (and nights too) count. Let those remaining days set the pace for the upcoming year so you don’t break your momentum as you step into 2018. Remember, what you do today (and for the next 36 days) will greatly impact your 2018.

Once more countdown to 2018 is not really what I want to talk about.

I want to share a thought that came to my mind as I was thinking of what to share with you this weekend. This thought is focused more towards the business community but it also has some insights for us as individuals too.

There’s this quote I saw online that stuck to my mind and I haven’t stopped thinking about till now. It simply said, World Population: 7,810,423,756 – just in case someone’s acting irreplaceable”. I found that statistic so interesting that I added that quote to my 24-hour status message on whatsapp. Unfortunately out of those 7,810,423,756 there are those who always think that when someone posts something on social media it reflects what is going on in their life. Well, let me put it this way; if that is what you do with your social media then please be informed that some of us view and use our social media differently. We choose what to share and what not to share about our lives with the world. I say this because as soon as I posted that quote on whatsapp I had several people sending me messages asking me what was wrong. Nothing is wrong! I just posted it because it was simply thought provoking. As a matter of fact, that quote is the genesis of today’s article!

Going back to the quote, if we have 7.8B human beings roaming the earth today, how many companies do we have on earth that can employ all those human beings? How many learning institutions do we have that can accommodate all the students incorporated in that figure? How many hospitals do we have that can tend to all the medical needs of those human beings? Do we have enough housing in the world to accommodate all those people? By the time we answer those questions, guess what? Probably another 1,000 people will have been added to that number. Why? Well, sex is still happening every night and day, and women are becoming pregnant every day and night, so what do you expect? In fact, maybe as you were reading that last sentence a woman somewhere just gave birth to twins, while another just got pregnant. I know there are some who have rested in peace, but they cannot be as many as the ones who are still roaming the earth.

Going back to my thought process, out of those 7.8B (and counting) people, there are those who own businesses while some own companies. With the evolvement of technology and easy access to the same, there is not one industry that can say it has a monopoly in the world anymore. Competition is mushrooming left, right and center, and in the most unexpected ways. Infact forget about business for a minute; how about competition in relationships, and I’m not talking about the casual Friday fling here and there, or the secret mistress housed a few kms from the boss' offices. No! I'm talking about a much more fierece kind of competiton. Women are about to face the stiffest competition ever with the introduction of the automated woman. Right now as we speak there is a company that is testing a female prototype of a robot, one that can do everything a woman does minus the “headaches, the mood swings, and nagging” as the company put it. As for men, I’m sure you already know that competition came in a long time ago with the introduction of the “big girl toys” in different lengths and widths, so I won’t even go there. A word of caution though; indulge in all those artificial pleasures at your own risk. Some of the side-effects are irreversible.  I believe God never intended for relationships to be artificial, otherwise He would not have created two flesh and blood human beings called Adam and Eve. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

My point is, competition is everywhere, not just in business.

So as I was looking at those stats I started thinking of all the businesses and companies we have in this town, owned by a certain percentage of that 7.8B. We have hair salons and barber shops, beauty spas, boutiques, garages, insurance, banking, internet, hotels, private hospitals, car hires, etc.  

Let’s take internet services as an example; how many companies do we have offering internet services in this country for instance? As a customer, what will make you subscribe to the services of company A and not company X? Is it pricing? Is it service delivery? Is it support? Or is it the aftersales service?

How about the banking industry? How many banks do we have? What keeps you stuck to one? Is it the fast teller-services, or is it the “good” interest rates, or is it convenience and accessibility?

How about your local garage/mechanic? Why do you keep going back to him? Is it because he is cheaper than that Indian or Chinese guy at Kijitonyama? Or is it because you trust him and value his input and workmanship? How easy would it be for you to dump him and employ the services of another mechanic?

These are just a few examples I’m sharing to show you how easy it is for someone to switch from one service provider to another. As long as you are offering services that require you to lure customers to you, you will need to step up your game because the risk of losing them is very high today. This is what I was thinking about when I read the second part of the quote I shared earlier;  ....just in case someone’s acting irreplaceable.

So, what makes people or businesses think they are irreplaceable?

It is called Complacency. According to some online dictionary I like referring to every so often, complacency is a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements. Another online dictionary defines complacency as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition. This second definition has nailed it where it says, “often while unaware of some potential danger”.

Let’s be honest; the reason why most relationships collapse is because of complacency. Just because you won over the person you were chasing, does not mean you stop doing the things you used to do that made that person become attracted to you in the first place. Maybe it is a certain perfume you used to wear in their presence, or a certain dress-code that used to make them lose their minds, or certain activities you both enjoyed doing together which suddenly stopped the moment you bagged your trophy, or maybe it is those evening phone calls you used to share every weekend just to catch up and find out how the week had been, etc. Those little things are the ones that opened a door to that relationship, and eliminating them from your “to-do-list” is the surest and fastest way to kill a relationship, unless of course that is the intention.

Same case applies to your customer. The connection between you and your customer is your relationship with him or her. Initially the product/service may have brought the customer to your doorstep, but after you delivered it the first time, they could very easily get the same service/product from a different vendor. How you relate with your client is what will determine how loyal they will remain to you. If before you got your clients on board you used to visit them or call them at least once every two weeks to check how they were doing but after getting their business you no longer bother, you might want to double check your relationship status again; it’s just about to become “complicated” if you are not careful. Remember, there is an alternative just round the corner, or just a click away.

Out of 7.8B people in the world, we have approximately 50M of those here in Tanzania. Out of those 50M, maybe 0.01% of them own businesses right here in Tanzania. What are the chances that out of those businesses there are at least 50 other businesses doing the same thing you are doing? How will you maintain your clientele and ensure you get more from them instead of losing them?

Simple. Stop being complacent. How?

Go back to your courtship days (rekindle the fire) and start courting them all over again by upping your customer service game. Treat your customers like you value their relationships more than you value their time and money. Find ways of “wowing” them instead of worrying them. Create convenience for them. Speaking of convenience, any company that does not have a way of engaging their customers online via social media platforms, website or a customized app is headed for a major downfall. Times have changed and you have to change with the times or else change will replace you. If a person is not irreplaceable, what makes you think as a business, you are?

I am not a prophet(ess) of doom but if you thought 2017 was tough then you need to brace yourselves for 2018; the competition will intensify and only two groups of businesses will survive; those who collaborate and work together to provide “The Experience” for their customers, and those who change their strategy to provide “convenience” to their customers.

Where do you see yourself between those two categories?

I have a few ideas up my sleeve on how you and your business can fit into these two categories. Want to know how? Let’s talk.

 

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.

 

PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 26th of November, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words". 

 

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