Businessafrica.net Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108
Dr. QUENUM & ASSOCIATES
INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS PLANNERS

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AFRICABIZ VOL 1- ISSUE : 23
MARCH 15 - APRIL 14, 2001
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Editor: Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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A WORD FROM THE EDITOR


Dear visitor and international investor,


We warmly welcome you, if this is your first visit to Africabiz Online - The ultimate newsletter on trading and investing in 49 sub-Saharan African countries. If you are a regular and faithful reader, welcome back.

- NEW ECONOMY OR OLD ECONOMY YOU DO NEED A BUSINESS PLAN

It is all over the net. Ezines are full packed of "horrible" histories about collapsing e-business' stocks prices. More dreadful, thousand of dot.com are simply dot.dead! And the phenomenon is not plaguing only "small players". Even big names (eBay, Cisco, Amazon and the like) are also taking a severe beating on the NASDAQ. Several IT companies are laying down staff to survive. Gone are the euphoric days of past century. Banks and incubators are now suspicious and do not run anymore after startups.

So what is amiss? Why the heaven is falling down on the "New Economy"?

Well, well. There is only one reason. Most of the falling "net stars" had just rush headlong into business without taking the normal and imperious precaution of drafting an accurate, realistic and "humble" business Plan! They just rushed on building castles in the air. Whom to blame? Banks and incubators were making basket of money avaiable for anything dot.com seen as the next Microsoft!


Yes, there is no such thing as New Economy or Old Economy! There is only "The Economy" and new ways (IT) and means (the Internet, Intranet and B2B) to perform, manage the Economy. Forgetting that is simply meeting trouble halfway.

Being a computer geek or nerty may help you build up sophisticated IT tools and be the first on the marketplace to introduce a new business concept or model. You do need, however, a seasoned management team, well acquainted with "classic" managing tools to be able to beat the competition (which will emerge one way or another); to prosper through a sustained growth, year upon year.

To start a business with the slightest chance to succeed in your field, to make profit and survive, you have to draft a comprehensive Business Plan and follow it up to the point.


A good Business Plan should be drafted according to the following


1- Realistic economic assumptions (your business market segmentation and market analysis, marketing strategy and competition's pricing analysis. Etc.)

2- Provisional Balance Sheet over 3 years minimum.

3- Cash Flow Table over same period - with a strict and precise input of operational costs.

With a good Business Plan in hands, you have a control panel to conduct safely your business among the perilous lanes of harsh competition to the safe land of profits.

You can compare, month after month, the trend of your operation costs, negotiate better purchasing prices for services and raw materials; adjust your staff and hands salary grid; purchase new equipment to produce at less cost, make sales forecasts and setting proper accounting system.

With a good Business Plan in hands, you have more chances to survive in the cutthroat competition atmosphere prevailing in today business world where only those prepared and equipped to tackle the tinniest detail linked to their production costs are sure to survive and thrive in prosperity

That's the reason why, BusinessAfrica / Dr. Quenum & Associates always requires from client a Business Plan before initiating / processing a loan request as here explained. It is a wise decision to have a business plan from the start.

A good and realistic Business Plan is not, however, the only prerequisite to the path to a sustained growth and prosperity.

Any one concerned with the success of his business should make sure that the business is not "inflated" during the establishment period of minimum three years. One should not swallow more than one can chew. Not to be greedy and rush for Get Big Fast - GBF - scheme. Or practice Eat Another Burger policy! These mistakes have been happily made by current ailing IT companies and most of the dot.dead.

A good strategy is to move one step after another, to build brick by brick without being, at the same time, shy and too conservative. You have to cook the perfect alchemy for your business. To digest and assimilate before eating again.

These simple economic basics have been ignored or forgotten by even the big players above mentioned. Thus the trouble they are now experiencing.

All that said, there are, nevertheless, some important differences between managing a company the Old Way (before the Internet) and the New Way (with the Internet).

I found out, comparing my management experience respectively with my previous consulting company (Old Way) and my current concern BusinessAfrica.net, Ltdnsulting / Dr. Quenum & Associates (New Way) that there are differences indeed between the management applied to a Brick and Mortar standalone company and the one exercised upon a Brick and Mortar Plus Internet Presence.

- DIFFERENCE OF MANAGEMENT BETWEEN THE NEW AND THE OLD ECONOMY

After five years of global online presence and three years for BusinessAfrica / Africabiz Online I look back to the old days when I started my first consulting company. That was a century ago - Information Technology's dating period - in 1978, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The consulting firm name was INTERTECH - International Agroindustrial and Technology Development.

My Ghanaian partner, a food technologist - Hello Dr. George S. Ayernor please do contact me - and myself drafted the content of a promotion brochure. We printed 500 copies (six pages, cover to cover, A4 format, quadri-chromatic) and dispatched them, with a covering letter, by snail mail, to prospective clients - mostly to West African Chambers of Commerce, to few selected private businessmen; and to a couple of European banks.

After nearly 4 months we received only 20 positives replies including a very encouraging one from UBS - Union Des Banques Suisses. That is to say 4% of replies against our 500 dispatches!

In the contrary, now, with Africabiz Online and BusinessAfrica.net, Ltdnsulting, my Inbox is daily full with hundred of emails from all over Africa and the world at large.

Yes, that makes a difference for sure and requires a different approach to managing even if the fundamentals - good business planning and strict evaluation of incured costs - remain exactly the same and are the prerequisites for a sustained growth and profitable operation. .

In table below are highlighted the main differences I noticed between InterTech - a Brick and Mortar company (Old way); and BusinessAfrica.net, Ltdnsulting acting in the the so-called New Economy (New way):

NEW WAY
OLD WAY
- Company image is visible worldwide 24 hours a day; 7 days per week. - Company image is static and not visible worldwide.
- The Managing Director / Chief Executive is involved in the micro management of company image. - The Managing Director / Chief Executive monitors the company image.
- The Managing Director / Chief Executive is always available to the staff (email, Intranet). - The Managing Director / Chief Executive is not available to the staff. Hierarchy is preponderant.
- 98% of company business development strategy is "opened" to staff. - Staff is not acquainted/ informed about the company development strategy.
- Strategic brainstorming are scheduled at least once per week. - Strategic brainstorming are scheduled once or twice per year.
- Decisions are made in matter of hours or days in feverish atmosphere. - Decisions are made in matter of months.
- No limit for working hours. Unexpected and urgent heavy work load. - Working hours are clearly delimited.
- The focus is on selling customers an experience. - The focus is on selling customers products.

Doubtless, the experience I gained managing InterTech helped me in structuring BusinessAfrica.net, Ltdnsulting / Dr. Quenum & Associates and Africabiz Online.

The most important difference in management, however, is the decision making criteria / speediness.
Indeed, to survive in the cutthroat competition environment prevailing in the New Economy, the management is obliged to react fast and quick.

Click here to review Contributor's Guidelines. Your contribution is welcome.

Many thanks for dropping by and see you here next month.

Dr. B.M. Quenum
Editor of Africabiz Online

Contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN AFRICA


- A MULTI PURPOSE PLANT AS INCOME BUILDING POWER FOR AN AFRICAN COMMUNITY: KENAF

On the promotion board of ISSUE N° 20 - Click here for more - a "niche" operation: Freezed Dried Papain Production was exposed, which could be used as "economic catalyst" and launching pad for the economic development of an African rural areas. Issues N° 21 and 22 further developed additional opportunities linked to the Papain's production.

- This month we are bringing to your attention a new business opportunity with a fantastic potential for the development of rural areas and regional territories: The plantation of Kenaf.

- WHAT IS KENAF?

Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) is an ancient crop, known and domesticated in sub-Saharan Africa, from Mali to The Horn of Africa, since centuries. Kenaf has been grown as a commercial crop in India for about 100 years and in other areas of Asia and in Africa, the Near East, and Latin America for a shorter time. It is a plant native to east-central Africa.

Kenaf has an extremely fast growth rate. After five weeks, the plant is already four to five feet tall (1.22 to 1.50 meter). After six months, the plant is fully grown and has attained a height of 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.6 meter) into a forest of narrow poles and leaf-colored branches as shown below on illustrations; courtesy of Ankal Inc. which website is here available.

Courtesy of Ankal Inc. Kenaf plantation - 3 Months
Courtesy of Ankal Inc. Kenaf plantation - 6 Months

- WHY PLANT KENAF?

Growing kenaf gives you the opportunity to produce a fiber similar to that made from wood, but you do that in only 150 days. You may compare that with the time it takes to plant and grow a tree to maturity.

- A MULTI PURPOSE PLANT

Agribusiness development of Kenaf includes the following:

      • Livestock feed
      • Substitution for wood as raw material / pulp for paper industry
      • Substitution for wood in building materials
      • Fiber for cloth, pets litter, oil absorbent, carpet, tar-saturated roofing
      • Fertilizer and many more.

One sees that Kenaf is indeed a multipurpose plant which can be used as an "economic catalyst" / central operation for the economic development of a country's region as here exposed. It is a perfect "Income Building Power" operation; labor intensive and foreign currency provider or saver. Capable of generating the "Synergetic Impact Factor" here available

Locations of visitors to this page

- Interested parties - private African and international investors / companies, government agencies, international development agencies - to make contact through the Free Access Support Console available at this link

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