Wednesday, 12 July 2017

26. Your Business Can Only Grow As You Grow

One of the key services I offered as a business advisor was strategy and business plan development services. This was one of the most grueling mindshift processes for entrepreneurs I was advising. Most of the time entrepreneurs feel since a business idea is theirs the development of the plan does not matter as long as they got investors in. They assume they are the person to implement in and they can have majority share ownership. One thing they don’t realize is there is no right to ideas, the circumstances that lead you to think of something applies to millions others. Ideas are common real estate. Implementation is king. Sadly, though those who do not really appreciate the process and develop their plans based on this are rarely able to implement or even attract investors to their business. Reason? Lack of congruence between the business idea and entrepreneur. However beautiful a business opportunity is, it can only be implemented by the person who has grown to the level and complexity of the opportunity....

Elan and her mother-in-law Shamim are playing with the babies as they talk while the party is going on in the garden. They have been good friends since Al got married and she realized he was not going to change his mind. His father took longer accepting Elan but eventually he came round. His brother Sam was eating from her palm from the word go. He had taken a liking to her straight away, probably would have made an advance had Al not been the first to get to know her. The two brothers had a tendency to like the same kind of women. All in all, the animosity that was there before their marriage had completely disappeared which was rather strange to Elan. She would have expected some reservations to continue lingering on but there was nothing of the sort.

With the coming of the babies her position in the family was sealed. Actually, Chief had let Al know that one of the terms of getting his inheritance was pegged on him staying married to Elan. Another very strange thing to her knowing Al was not a player and more rational in his decisions on matters concerning women than his brother who was more adventurous in that area. He also was not the kind to be intimidated: what Al wants, Al gets and on his own terms. Al was as strong headed as his father. May be his father knew something she didn’t? 

At the balcony, Al, his brother Sam and his father, Chief are talking. 

Chief, ‘You made me proud son. 

Al is openly pleased with the compliment. However, he quickly puts on a straight face probably after reflecting on what it took to get here. 

‘Dad you are a hard man to please.’ he says thoughtfully.

Sam jokingly pokes his brother, ‘What’s with the straight face. You know you happy! We proud of you bro. Dad you can now eat your words now. TWINS dad TWINS!’ he turns to his father and waves two fingers.

Chief laughs, ‘doesn’t change that she is older. But hey you still need to build the company to 50 percent the value of ALMAS Holdings to get the half of your inheritance. It will teach you the lessons you refused to learn from me. Understand, the quality of CEOs of a startup, a 10 million dollar company are all very different from a CEO of a 10 billion worth company. You better work fast because we are growing every day.’

Sam, though the opposite of his dad had a way of making him laugh. Probably because he was so much more like his mother and not as stubborn as his brother but naughty. He had no urge to be his own man as Al was and was more accommodating of his father instruction and standards. He made a good manager probably because he did not want to do all the hard thinking and was comfortable fitting in systems that worked. He reserved his creativity to his romantic side.

Al, increasingly more confident about world and local economic issues thanks to his big losses and conversations with Elan observes, ‘the petroleum industry is slowing down dad. Your valuation is not what it was at the beginning of our agreement’ 

Chief, ‘That’s why I took you to school, so you can value the worth of companies not start some art center thing or play football.’ 

Sam, ‘Dad the economy has changed. Entertainment is doing much better than we are dad - growing not shrinking though we are worth much more. We also need to diversify into other industries just as we have in moving to new markets. Even if we stay on in the energy sector let’s look at other options. And really, I think Al and Elan are doing a good job; Lifestyle and Advertising industries are also growing really fast with the growing middle class’. 

Chief, ‘Hmmm! Will think about it but they are not solving real life issues like water, transport, sanitation...those are, like you said, lifestyle industries - only addressing the needs of the rich.’

Al, ‘And helps everyone dream and hope Dad. We also give visibility to the ‘good' industries, and everyone needs to be entertained, feel and look great. How is that bad even for you. You have had to advertise your products. Our services are as essential as the energy, food and beverages you produce.’

Chief, ‘Okay or okay but still the conditions apply, whether aided by good or difficult economic times, the target is you build Elan group to 50% of the value ALMAS Group before you can get your estate, caprice?’ 

Al, respectfully agrees, ‘Very well Dad I have my eyes on the ball.’

Shamim calls her husband in to show him how much the twins are already displaying some of his habits. He goes in as the two brothers continue to observe the party going on down stairs and browsing on their phones.

Sam, ‘Whose that? Pointing at Tekla who is walking from the house and joining her sisters’ 

Al looks up from his phone at where he is pointing, ‘Oh that, that’s Tekla one of Elan’s sisters? The three are Elan’s sisters’ He goes on replying to a message that has just come in. 

A moment later Sam asks again, ‘The three? - Oh damn, I had only just noticed the one. Boy that family must be having the finest girls in that village! Men you are surrounded with beauty! When did they come? 

Al, ‘This is their third day. Arrived day before yesterday, it was a surprise for E.’ He goes on texting not looking up.

Sam, ‘hmmm! Didn’t know all black colours are beautiful! Chocolate to pawpaw. A guy they could be one person in slightly different shades and heights; same face and aura’

Al, ‘Trust me the similarities end in their pleasantness; they all are very different. The fiery one is that Tekla, Jenny is gentle but impulsive and Penrice the observant but I think manipulative and a bomb waiting to explode. I see that in how they behave when they think you not watching.’

Sam, ‘and the Fourth?’ 

Al, ‘which fourth?’ He turns to see Meline staggering towards the sisters. ‘That is their cousin Meline. The witch and my headache!’

As they observe they notice Meline almost fall on the sisters who pretend nothing is going on. But given she is a hefty lady they struggle to keep her up. 

Al, ‘Oops we better go down!’

The two run out leaving a confused Elan in the nursery with their parents. Elan goes to the balcony careful not to make her in-laws anxious. She sees them half carrying Meline into the house. 

She immediately gets it. The meaning of her dream has been revealed. ‘The worm in the Tequila. Thank you Lord. Hmmm! thanks for the confirmation’


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