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Latest ramblings. Stories, and how we’re building and growing things daily. Follow our #GrothNotes!
Latest ramblings. Stories, and how we’re building and growing things daily. Follow our #GrothNotes!
The Groth Innovation Centre (Groth HQ) is pleased to admit Zhalima Grazioni in its custom Accelerator program.
Zhalima Grazioni is an eco-friendly customer-centered fashion and apparel company in the city of Port Harcourt established in 2009. Over the last 10 years, Zhalima Grazioni has been developing custom products and servicing the fashion industry with indigenous designs, and factory and manufacturing services.
“Joining the Groth Accelerator for business incubation is one of the best ideas so far. I got to that level I needed someone to talk to, someone to ask questions and get answers when I need help that will enable me push on and I met some one who introduced the Groth Accelerator to me. Groth accelerator to me means fulfilment, business growth and success. In the few weeks, it has enabled me to be able to plan my business better and to focus on my core activities, and put on the right perspective to take my business global according to Chike Mordi, founder and Creative Director of Zhalima Grazioni.”
Zhalima Grazioni is looking to expand its services and products as well as scale, beginning with conquering the local fashion market while pushing it’s vision of becoming a Pan African, indigenous and global brand with local impact.
Zhalima Grazioni will recieve a one-year business incubation and development as well as tap from Groth’s network and resources. Groth will oversee it’s management and also facilitate access to investment funding for Zhalima Grazioni.
Within three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the unprecedented impact it has had on individuals and businesses, including the global economy. Students are out of school, businesses are severely hit leading to loss of revenues and employee lay-offs and what’s more? Some jobs will never return like other businesses too.
As Founders and CEO’s scramble to prepare for the challenges of the Coronavirus, they are increasingly unsure due to the current uncertainty surrounding economic conditions, about exactly what strategic approaches to deploy, and employees are not left out in the crisis.
In a research Survey by BEMedia, it collated insights from business leaders that have survived multiple recessions. It is intended to provide a guide that will bring clarity, focus and most importantly help you implement an action plan to protect your business and be ready for the recovery, without hard feelings amongst your stakeholders.
BEMedia reviewed the 1980-82 crisis, 1990 slowdown, and the 2000 bust and drawn
on studies of over 5,000 businesses analysing what they did, and how it fared.
This research findings produced amazing insights and some proven tactics to help you go about aligning your defense strategies, with a balance with your offensive strategies.
For many entrepreneurs or businesses (if not all) the core focus now is to float and survive this shipwreck caused by the CoronaVirus pandemic.
Some of the symptoms of this crisis season is low cashflow, which is supposed to be the business life-wire. Because this is low expecially as business activities have been disrupted, you may most likely because of panic dismiss some (if not all) of your employees, abort some projects or cut-off operations.
While trying to be defensive, you shouldn’t do so in panic. Infact, you shouldn’t be too defensive. That is to say, you must take this actions from a clear-cut defensive strategy not from an impulsive-stand-point.
Cost cutting has overtime been seen as one of the first steps or decisions to take in a defensive strategy, but you should also be aware that as sole focus on cost according according to the BEMedia report can:
• Reduce innovation and lower focus on operating more efficiently
• Impact customer satisfaction if costs cuttings are too deep
• Lead to pessimism that can permeate the culture – especially if cost cutting is centralized to the finance team only (potentially killing initiatives that can add
major value to the situation)
• Result in team members feeling disempowered (and focus goes solely to personal and organisational survival).
It is obvious that, a rampant and overly aggressive cost cutting action can be risky. According to the Study, companies that rely solely on cutting the workforce have only a 11% chance of achieving success after the downturn. That is to say, companies who fared best, focused on creating operational efficiency rather than solely cutting employees. The key reason for this was that company morale was better with companies focused on operational efficiency. Furthermore, having a constant fear of job security can negatively impact performance.
A recession is a perfect opportunity to examine all aspects of your business model, from how you are structured, to workflows, to retention, customer experience and more. And it is a sensitive period for that matter; how you deal with people, how you restructure your operations will consequently have an effect on you, your team and your overall business.
You need to streamline your business focus and outline your core business activities and operations and define, on a threshold, even with the minimal resources, how you have to deliver optimum performances while paying premium on operational efficiency.
Apart from paying attention to operational efficiency, you have to strategically go about reducing your number of employees while cutting costs. Of course it’s business and if a company is unprofitable there will be termination and layoffs, but how employers treat their people during this crisis, is going to impact their brand for years to come.
You get judged on how you treat people in difficult times. It’s easy to be good when times are good. According to Brigette Hyacinth, Author of Leading the Workforce of the Future.
Bridgette suggested that you can work with your employees to find solutions to keep staff on hand for this temporary situation — for example, going to a 3 day work week, cutting salary by x%, management taking a salary reduction, etc. It is centered on communication. Giving the employee the choice to stay at a reduction, or not.
Understanding that crisis are temporary situations, that you may end up coming back to run again, you would be a able to value your staff, your main drivers and be able to proof your own loyalty to them, by managing with them throughout the period. So that, if a potential employee in the future asks you, “how did your company handle the pandemic?” You’ll be better positioned to tell how you manage crisis in collaboration with the people that work for you and with you.
They said the best form of defense is attack. It is also true in time of business crisis. While trying stay defend your business from being severely hit, you have to strategize how you should not only float, but swim to the shores till you’re safe.
More specifically, innovations thrive during challenges, and in times of crisis too, you have to show that part of your business that is a problem solver.
Staying sustainable, you have to activate your marketing, promotions, and business development activities, especially those that are focused on market research, R&D, customer retention, acquisition, developing partnerships, entering new markets and launching new products.
However, it is not to say you should be too offensive and display undue optimism, with insentivity to the gravity of the crisis. It has to be in tandem with your offensive strategies. You have to be aware of some factors.
Among the things to be aware of are:
• Don’t blindly ignore warning signs from customers and the market (buying power, inflations, etc)
• Don’t hesitate to cut non-essential operating expenses (things you know are luxuries)
• Ensure the offensive marketing strategy is targeted and measurable with focus on accountability.
• Manage internal teams/resources and leaders to be in key customer/client communication positions during this period.
Crisis are horrible times, but they present opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. As a business you have to constantly stay close to your customers and pay attention to their needs.
Progressive businesses that find the right balance invest heavily in reaching out to their customers, carry out R&D and marketing activities, which may not only produce moderate benefits amid the recession, but also add substantially to sales and profits in the rebound. The costs that are freed up from driving operational efficiency can finance much of this expenditure.
For instance, there will be more time than ever spent online during COVID-19. It’s well documented that brands that maintain or increase marketing during
recessions (when competitors are cutting back) can improve market share and ROI at a lower cost than during good times.
As people are working from home, and social distancing is recommended – internet and social media usage is already skyrocketing providing the perfect storm of sales opportunities. Ecommerce and digital marketing will be one of the highest ROI tactics of survival opportunities due to the low cost and highly targeted approach, mixed with a hugely increased active audience
According to the BEMedia report, successful companies who survived crisis typically employed a combination of these three offensive approaches:
Running an offensive and defensive strategy together is great when they’re aligned with each other for sustainability. It is evident in the fact that the most successful businesses during these recessions and recovery were pragmatic in their approach and realized cost cutting is necessary to survive in a recession; that nvestment is equally essential to spur growth also, that they must manage both at the same time to emerge as post-recession leaders.
At the heart of this balancing is communication and investing limited resources on assets rather than liabilities. It isn’t easy to cut budgets in one area and increase spending in another. This requires strong communication to the team of the logic and reasoning behind why one area is being asked to bear more of the burden, and the other is receiving extra investment.
Some of the top team communication strategies: having a daily all team huddle, ommunicating frequently, leveraging online Workspace groups to pass updates and having weekly or monthly town hall/conference meetings to discuss strategies/plans and actions as the situation evolves.
Team Building and Collaboration Ability is one of the important skills-set I’ve come to appreciate. I’ve learned that no matter how beautiful, sound and sweet an idea is, the difference between it’s perishing and coming to fruition is the team along the process.
How you build a team, transfer the vision and the process you manage and collaborate with everyone else is vital like the idea of the organization itself.
When building the right team, I’ve also come to understand that the right people some times don’t even necessarily have to know everything or have the technical skills-set from Adam, but with their personal willingness to grow, and their ability to adapt can bring them to speed.
It is also vital, when working together, you empower your team members (with responsibilities, trust, information and genuine support) so that they can be able to think and initiate by themselves without being micromanaged.
Here leadership is pivotal. How you strategize and patiently drive the vision to every member is important. How every member is treated, their strength utilised, and their weaknesses transformed to strengths is a very big leverage. How you capitalise on the opportunities that they bring is also a part you pay attention to.
I’ve come to understand when I have to lead, and when I have to follow and when everyone needs to be everyone else. So we better understand how each person is going about their activities. I stand a chance to get insight about the possible challenges to be faced and how it has been managed before now.
We’re in a world were people hardly take responsibility. Also, there are some people who find it difficult to do something for people or support, or work for people’s idea to flourish because it’s not theirs. There is really a two side to this coin.
Notwithstanding, people like to share successes, or for a greater number of times, want to be at the forefront of the fame and glory, but will treat everyone else with dejection when things don’t go well. However, leaders are supposed to exhibit “leadership”, and pay attention to every bit of the process in an orgainziation and how teams go about their activities.
Since they are many factors that drive people, it is also important to be sensitive to people’s character style and behavior and when they exhibit a slight change in them.
If you have an idea, and you make necessary efforts to invest in the team, you’ll be amazed how much transformation that will meet the idea, some times, the idea may not entirely be unique.
Value your team, and process as much as you value your ideas. Ideas in this case can be your “idea”, project, products, services, or personal initiatives.
The Groth Innovation Centre: A Journey of Impact
An Address by Owen Shedrack, founder and Executive Director.
Dear partners, stakeholders, prospects, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of all the board members and the executive arm at Groth HQ, I wish to officially announce that The Groth Innovation Centre Limited is open for full operations, and thereby notifying the general public that myself, Owen Shedrack will sit as Executive Director, with Praise Sunday and Obriku Perry as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) respectively.
The Groth Innovation Centre (also known as Groth HQ) is a limited liability company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria with registration number “RC:1620398.” Groth will operates as a business incubator, enterprise resource and support center, and innovation hub providing affordable professional business services and technology-driven products and services geared towards helping businesses grow according to their peculiarities, needs and stage with core focus on the Niger Delta landscape.
Groth’s focus is to increase the successful development of emerging businesses in target industry sectors. These new businesses will in turn create new jobs, increase tax generation, and create wealth, which ultimately causes a chain reaction of community benefits through the multiplier effect.
Thus, the mission statement for The Groth Innovation Centre is: “To facilitate and catalyze innovation, entrepreneurial development, and business success that fosters sustainable economic growth in Nigeria by providing business support, network and steer partnership for accelerated growth.”
They are a lot of incubators outside Nigeria; a host of them outside our region, with very few in our region, so we are existing to join forces with the few we have here especially as our common goal is to help businesses thrive with a focus on our region.
The impact of business incubators all over the world cannot be over emphasized. “It’s lonely at the top” is a common expression among business leaders, but rings especially true in the life of an emerging entrepreneur.
Not only do startup business owners act as sole risk-takers and shareholders, but they also simultaneously assume the roles of CEO, managers, accountants, marketers, custodians, and everything in between. This can be an exhilarating, yet intimidating and lonely, experience.
According to the “Small Business Administration,” only about half of all businesses survive five years or longer. For this reason, the public and private sectors have increasingly recognized the importance of supporting startup businesses in these critical early years of growth.
One of such business support mechanism that has gained popularity as an economic development tool is business incubation. This is why we’re taking responsibility to act as a growth catalyst for our regional economy in collaboration with existing ecosystems.
Hence, the objectives of The Groth Innovation Centre are to:
1) advance the region’s goal of increasing middle-wage jobs through economic growth;
2) help advance the Federal Government’s objective of promoting small business growth and workforce development across Nigeria, and,
3) help companies get established and rooted in the region—so that after graduation—they become permanent contributors to the overall vitality, diversity, and growth of the nation’s economy.
Groth will offer services in the area of business incubation, technology research and development, marketing and PR management, training and talent development, market research and development, technology commercialization, business development, among other impact based activities or projects. And also we would be scouting to identify high growth potential startups for investments across selected sectors.
We are using this opportunity to call for potential partnerships, investors, leaders across ecosystems, agencies, and institutions with a common interest to join the Centre’s vision of impacting our region.
Groth operates temporally from Aluu town, Rivers State with official address as Block B, City of David, Aluu – Omoukiri, Rivers.
The official website for The Groth Innovation Centre Limited is www.grothhq.co with online presence across social media channels as “Groth HQ”. See our contact page to direct memos and enquires.
Secretary, Board of Directors
The Groth Innovation Centre (Ltd)
Monday, Jan 6, 2020
A very big challenge encountered by startups and wannabe entrepreneurs is finding customers. Often times, beautiful products and services are created for nobody or everybody and it becomes difficult to sell.
This problem is half-solved if you invest a substantial amount of time to “IDENTIFYING YOUR MARKETS” Being able to identify and develop a product based on the needs of potential customers is the key determinant in the success of any business or service.
In order to know what will sell (and what won’t!), entrepreneurs need to examine the market in which they want to operate. They need to know where their potential customers are and what they are willing to pay for the product or service.
Successful entrepreneurs also need to examine their own strengths and weaknesses and structure their business accordingly.
My objective for this thread should help you know;
Key Discussion Questions:
What trends do you see? What products or services have you observed that are missing or inadequate? Is there an opportunity there?
Key Developmental Actions:
Identify what role you would play in the company based on your interests, strengths and weaknesses.
By the time you have completed this circle, you should be proud of yourself. You have gained enough clarity to solve the remaining 50% problem – How to get to your market!
This would warrant you to learn how to market or hire who knows how to market.
The Groth Innovation Centre is a business incubator, accelerator, enterprise resource and support center,and innovation hub in the city of Port Harcourt.
1 City of David – Valandy
Port Harcourt, PH, Nigeria
University of Port Harcourt
Port Harcourt, PH, Nigeria
© 2018-2019 The Groth Innovation Centre