As an entrepreneur I find that many of my plans don’t turn...

As an entrepreneur I find that many of my plans don’t turn out the way I thought they would, often because of outside influences. How can I take more control over the direction of my business?

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This is one of the fundamentals of business: being able to adapt to changing situations, and having multiple plans in place, ready for any eventuality.

Brian Armstrong, MD of Telkom Business, offers this insight:

“Early in my career I was fortunate to have a mentor who used to say that the more strategic a business issue is, the more important it is to have plans B and C in place as there will be factors beyond your control. This is a systematic approach to identifying what can go wrong in a situation and being prepared with plans, strategies and approaches for avoiding, coping or even exploiting them.

“For example, when I was at British Telecom, we were growing the African market by buying companies in various countries to achieve our objectives. We always had to ensure that we had a plan in place in case things did not work out as we hoped.

“Today, at Telkom Business, we have issues around regulatory and policy uncertainties, yet we have to manage the business and ensure that we deliver value for our customers. The best way to ensure we can do that is to always respond coherently to unplanned events.

“I also remember the president of the CSIR telling me before a presentation that he heeded the seven Ps – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Particularly Poor Performance. Whether I am in meetings with customers or shareholders, or speaking at an event, I always make sure that I am properly prepared. No matter how confident you are, when your personal and corporate brands are on the line, it’s important to be properly equipped.”

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