What an evening!
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
On the 28th of February at Zen Garden, Labone, the Council of Local Experts (COLE) brought together some of the most seasoned business experts from several industries and emerging business professionals in the Ghanaian and African landscape together, to, among other things, exchange ideas, share professional journeys and provide mentorship on how to do business and survive competition.
In sharp contrast with other forms of training and mentoring, this session was very intimate and candid, owing to the fact that attendants broke into smaller cohorts. The cohort I joined had Sami Houdrouge, the CEO of Sandia Group of Companies, Felix Hamidu, the Executive Director of Green Electric Power Ghana and Fouad Chalabi, former Marketing Manager of Spacefon (currently MTN Ghana) and a business mogul.
You could tell that participants felt they were getting value for money by their engagements and interactions with the experts during and after the session. Some attended the session looking for answers and opinions about very specific problems they face and seemed very content with the answers they received.
Sami, a successful sales manager formerly based in Ivory Coast immigrated to Ghana some years ago. He hammered on the importance of understanding a market before entry. He gave several examples of businesses that had failed mainly because the founders had not spent enough time and effort in trying to estimate the needs of the market and whether or not they were ready for the products and services offered. He urged the budding business professionals keenly listening in not to be in a hurry to reach the top at the expense of building capacity and resilience.
Felix, an expert in the Energy sector, emphasized the critical role proper planning plays in success and posterity of any business. According to him, and to the agreement of all, nothing can replace proper planning in anything one ventures into. This point tied beautifully into Sami’s point. With proper planning, one is able to better understand why, where and when to go. It also allows for taking calculated risks which if successful guarantees higher returns.
Fouad focused on the people side of things. As one who dabbles in several businesses, Fouad treats all people he encounters with respect and love. He gave examples of how his employees remain productive and loyal not because of anything extra he does but simply because he is relatable with them. As a businessperson, he prioritizes efficiency but he is sensitive to human limitations.