Mindset is more important than ever
- Name: Mohamed El Moustapha
- Job title: Co-Founder
- Company: Agro-Industries of North LLC (Agro Industries Du Nord Sarl)
- Programme: Survive to Thrive
- Country: Senegal
A shift in mindset helps prevent Senegalese agribusiness from closing
Mohamed El Moustapha the Co-founder of Agro-Industries of North LLC, a company that produces and processes rice in Senegal had ambitious plans for the year 2020. Then the Covid-pandemic led to the economic disruptions that no one could have expected.
“Our revenue projection for 2020 was one million dollars but with COVID-19, everything changed,” said Mohamed speaking from Dakar.
Like many entrepreneurs in Mohammed’s position, he took part in one of our series of programmes focused on supporting ambitious businesses to survive the lockdowns and restrictions that disrupted their plans. In 2020 alone, AMI supported over 3,700 businesses across Africa through our MSME focused bootcamps and business growth programmes.
“ Survive to Thrive, came at the right time because when COVID-19 hit we barely had much going on with the business. Things were so complicated. We spent a lot of time running back and forth to the bank to just make sure we were still on the same page with matters of finance. Being a part of the programme helped me re-centre all my goals. I loved it from the word go, the name out rightly spoke to me: Survive to Thrive!”
Mohammed says that being part of the programme taught him how to be resilient and that business is not just about the money but the hard work that you put into growing your business.
As he went through the online learning courses he began identifying some of the pitfalls in his business one of them being procrastination. For the past 3 years, he had not been staying up to date with his business financial statements. He had them prepared by his accountant, but as the business owner, he was not up to date.
“I took the courses for business financial management, compliance and governance and I’ve now learnt the importance of keeping track and staying up to date especially with the local authorities and banks whom I may need for financial support during times like this.”
Mohamed now says that he has a folder on his laptop with all AMI business tools that he downloaded since joining the programme in May 2020.
“Every week I usually go in, open the tool I want to use and work on it. The interesting thing is that they are editable files so every time I work on something, I can save it and get back to it where I left off without losing any data or information.”
Times like these demand that business leaders be coaches
At the best of times most of us need prompting to do the things we actually want to do. Most of us need a coach, mentor, engaged boss or patiently honest friend to nudge us to become what we could be at work.
Leaders see beyond what is to create what might be
I wonder what it’s like to work in the Post Office. What set me wondering was fetching a parcel on 12 May, posted in London on 1 November last year. On the one hand I was impressed that it reached me after six and a half months of travel. No one stole it. It wasn’t buried in a storeroom and eventually destroyed. It reached its intended destination. I didn’t realise this was still possible with the SA Post Office.
Customer service is the manager’s responsibility
I heard of a rural hospital that closed its doors to visitors on Freedom Day. A public holiday affords workers a rare opportunity to visit their loved ones during the week. In this case a man travelled overnight to see his father, only to be turned away: “It’s a public holiday; we’re closed.”