Globalization has transformed the worldview of many executives, and particularly that of business practitioners. The world has become a market whereby business transactions are easier, quicker and cheaper. Naturally, business expansion is the desire of most entrepreneurs and “one would imagine that a business flourishing in the Kenyan market would be easy to set up and penetrate in foreign markets, however that is not the case,” said Mr. Apollo Njoroge, Managing Director of Faulu Microfinance Bank, as he spoke to senior executives and heads of department from various sectors during a session of the Senior Management Leadership Programme (SMLP).
Mr. Njoroge began by sharing his experience and ideas on strategy, development and implementation within different organisations, cultures and settings. He described his experience on business expansion in the banking sector as one he would never forget. Penetrating the Ugandan Market, when he was at Equity Bank, was not a rosy affair. “The business strategy, approach to staff and overall expectation had to change,” said Mr. Njoroge. He placed emphasis on the need to learn the culture and work ethic of the people in whichever country one ventures into. “A simple gesture such as not honouring a staff member or major client’s wedding invite is not taken lightly in their (Ugandan) culture,” he said. Understanding the culture of a market could be the difference between succeeding and failing in business.
In view of the business expansion agenda there is always the delicate matter of foreign market penetration. Foremost, the main reason for global or regional business expansion is to increase profit margins and to diversify the customer base. While the aspect of dominating one’s local market before expanding is important, equally there may be better opportunities for sustainable business in foreign markets. In Mr. Njoroge’s experience, learning that the Ugandan market calls for small satellite business outlets as opposed to one big Central Bank was another setback to their expansion plan. In addition, they realised that there is need for a local human resource team to ensure the bank employs the best possible local talent.
In conclusion, business expansion is a risky venture but with immense rewards if an enterprise navigates around the inevitable obstacles.
The SMLP is a programme designed for senior executives. It equips them with knowledge and skills that will enable them assume responsibilities at the highest level as they lead their companies and institutions to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. It integrates key management concepts and best practices to develop strategic thinking and leadership skills in leaders. It is structured in a modular format divided into four separate modules with an international module in Singapore
SMLP 2020 intake is currently ongoing. Click here.